A Comparison of Kurt Vonnegut's Two Novels: Cat's Cradle and Slaughterhouse-Five

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Free will, the ability of organisms to make choices without being influenced by divine intervention, is one of history’s most debated philosophical topics. Kurt Vonnegut discusses this matter in his two novels Cat’s Cradle and Slaughterhouse-Five. In the first novel, he writes about a religion based on the idea that God puts us in groups to carry out His will. The second novel talks about a group of aliens from the planet Tralfamadore who say that out of the thirty-one inhabited planets in the universe, “Only on Earth is there any talk of free will.” In both novels, the protagonists Jonah and Billy accept their unavoidable fate, and so they don’t worry about life or death. Through his two novels, Vonnegut portrays the futility of believing in free will in a universe controlled by fate. In Cat’s Cradle, Vonnegut invents a religion based on lies, called Bokononism. It tells that all of humanity are unknowingly organized into teams, called karass, that do God’s will and don’t ever discover what they are doing. These karass revolve around a wampeter, an object that guides the people t...

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