Cat 's Cradle By Kurt Vonnegut Essays

Cat 's Cradle By Kurt Vonnegut Essays

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Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle is a novel showing the effortless dissolve of the world if we live by science or religion alone. Albert Einstein said, “All religions, arts, and sciences are branches of the same tree.” From the beginning of the novel the author is saying that religion is all made of lies, but lies are the tree from which religion, as well as science, stem from. This novel plays with the idea of creating and inventing. Through innovation, mishap, and ultimately failure science and religion become one in Cat’s Cradle.
Within the novel, both science and religion are created in an attempt to discover some type of truth about the world by the inventions made within them. The main character takes us through his research, in order for him to write his book, but along the way describes a story of inventing religion and science. The beginning of The Books of Bokonon start with “All of the things I am about to tell you are shameless lies” (5). Bokononism is the religion created throughout the book and seems ridiculous that people follow because it is made purely of lies. Vonnegut uses religion to exhibit how easy it can be to create and find followers. The creation of Bokononism is similar to ideals found in Christianity. The uses of calypsos make sense in a specific situation, and is similar to Christianity’s use of Psalms and Proverbs to tell stories or display ideas. These are stories allow for people to relate and find the truth it holds within their personal lives. Jonah, our main character, was not on a hunt to figure out Bokoninsm, but to find information on the atomic bomb through the inventor’s children. The creation of science, according to Asa Breed is research. Dr. Breed says, “men are paid to increase knowledge, ...


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...e because He was through with them, and that they should have the good manners to die. This, as you can see, they did (272-273).
This leads to the overall failure of Bokononism because it is all based on lies, yet it leads all the people of San Lorenzo to give up their lives by ice-nine. Religion and science both fail, because science is an illusion and religion is false hope. The world is ending in San Lorenzo, due to everyone using science to die, but choosing their death because of religion.
Vonnegut uses the game of cat’s cradle to explain the institutions of science and religion. Newt says, “No damn cat, no damn cradle” (166). There is more than X’s in the game of cat’s cradle, it is a game that can be undone in seconds. Similar to the cat’s cradle, the world can simply be undone by science or religion, such as Bokononism and Ice-nine did in Vonnegut’s novel.

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