Comparing Themes in Cat’s Cradle and Slaughterhouse Five
Throughout his career, Kurt Vonnegut has used writing as a tool to convey penetrating messages and ominous warnings about our society. He skillfully combines vivid imagery with a distinctly satirical and anecdotal style to explore complex issues such as religion and war. Two of his most well known, and most gripping, novels that embody this subtle talent are Cat's Cradle and Slaughterhouse-Five. Both books represent Vonnegut’s genius for manipulating fiction to reveal glaring, disturbing and occasionally redemptive truths about human nature. On the surface, Cat’s Cradle and Slaughterhouse-Five are dramatically different novels, each with its own characters, symbols, and plot. However, a close examination reveals that both contain common themes and ideas. Examining and comparing the two novels and their presentation of different themes provides a unique insight into both the novels and the author – allowing the reader to gain a fuller understanding of Vonnegut’s true meaning.
One of the most prevalent themes in Vonnegut’s works is religion. In the early pages of Cat’s Cradle, Vonnegut submits his contention that "a useful religion can be founded on lies (Vonnegut, Cats Cradle 16)," meaning that, fundamentally, religion is about people, not about faith or God. Reminiscent of Karl Marx’s description of religion as the "opiate of the masses," he describes all religions as mere collections of "harmless untruths" that help people cope with their lives. The Book of Bokonon in Cat's Cradle represents this portrait of religion at both its dreariest and its most uplifting, Bokononism is contradictory, paradoxical, and founded on lies; its followers are aware of this...
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...refree tone highlights them by providing irony and contrast. This unparalleled ability to seamlessly combine a light tone with serious theme is what distinguishes Kurt Vonnegut from other writers, Although Cat's Cradle and Slaughterhouse-Five share common themes, the presentation of each of the themes is different in each book. The two novels complement each othe, and comparing both can provide a higher level of understanding for each. Vonnegut never forces his opinions - he makes statements by asking questions, and presents his themes through subtle, but powerful stories, His goal is to get readers to re-examine, not necessarily to change, their lives, morals, and values. Themes such as death, war, and religion are as old as literature itself, yet Vonnegut adds a unique twist to them, inviting the reader to look at these issues from an entirely new perspective.
"In Slaughterhouse Five, -- Or the Children's Crusade, Vonnegut delivers a complete treatise on the World War II bombing of Dresden. The main character, Billy Pilgrim, is a very young infantry scout* who is captured in the Battle of the Bulge and quartered in a Dresden slaughterhouse where he and other prisoners are employed in the production of a vitamin supplement for pregnant women. During the February 13, 1945, firebombing by Allied aircraft, the prisoners take shelter in an underground meat locker. When they emerge, the city has been levelled and they are forced to dig corpses out of the rubble. The story of Billy Pilgrim is the story of Kurt Vonnegut who was captured and survived the firestorm in which 135,000 German civilians perished, more than the number of deaths in the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined. Robert Scholes sums up the theme of Slaughterhouse Five in the New York Times Book Review, writing: 'Be kind. Don't hurt. Death is coming for all of us anyway, and it is better to be Lot's wife looking back through salty eyes than the Deity that destroyed those cities of the plain in order to save them.' The reviewer concludes that 'Slaughterhouse Five is an extraordinary success. It is a book we need to read, and to reread.' "The popularity of Slaughterhouse Five is due, in part, to its timeliness; it deals with many issues that were vital to the late sixties: war, ecology, overpopulation, and consumerism. Klinkowitz, writing in Literary Subversions.New American Fiction and the Practice of Criticism, sees larger reasons for the book's success: 'Kurt Vonnegut's fiction of the 1960s is the popular artifact which may be the fairest example of American cultural change. . . . Shunned as distastefully low-brow . . . and insufficiently commercial to suit the exploitative tastes of high-power publishers, Vonnegut's fiction limped along for years on the genuinely democratic basis of family magazine and pulp paperback circulation. Then in the late 1960s, as the culture as a whole exploded, Vonnegut was able to write and publish a novel, Slaughterhouse Five, which so perfectly caught America's transformative mood that its story and structure became best-selling metaphors for the new age. '"Writing in Critique, Wayne D. McGinnis comments that in Slaughterhouse Five, Vonnegut 'avoids framing his story in linear narration, choosing a circular structure.
Descartes argument for his existence came from the doubt he had about everything around him. This doubt was generated by the idea of an evil genius. Descartes invented the evil genius to be an all-powerful and all-deceitful being. By creating the possibility of an evil genius, Descartes found the doubt he needed in order to be able to doubt everything he once believed. The evil genius was able to deceive ...
In this paper, I will explain how Descartes uses the existence of himself to prove the existence of God. The “idea of God is in my mind” is based on “I think, therefore I am”, so there is a question arises: “do I derive my existence? Why, from myself, or from my parents, or from whatever other things there are that are less perfect than God. For nothing more perfect than God, or even as perfect as God, can be thought or imagined.” (Descartes 32, 48) Descartes investigates his reasons to show that he, his parents and other causes cannot cause the existence of himself.
I personally believe neither are wrong and neither are right. It would be a great argument if they somehow put the arguments together. Such as Descartes using the proof of “change or motion,” and proof of “efficient cause.” That would eliminate some uncertainty of Descartes. Of course he does talk about causal proof in the third meditation. Also he does say he is certain only of his uncertainty, but he could claim some reason how he exists, as well as God. Descartes believes only what’s in the mind 's eye and how he experience things in the world.
Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut is a satire on the state of world affairs in the 1960's. Vonnegut made a commentary in this book on the tendency of humans to be warlike, belligerent, and shortsighted. The main character of the book, the narrator, is certainly not a protagonist, although the modern reader craves a hero in every story and the narrator in this one is the most likely candidate. Through the narrator's eyes, Vonnegut created a story of black humor ending in the destruction of the earth.
How do we know what we know? Ideas reside in the minds of intelligent beings, but a clear perception of where these ideas come from is often the point of debate. It is with this in mind that René Descartes set forth on the daunting task to determine where clear and distinct ideas come from. A particular passage written in Meditations on First Philosophy known as the wax passage shall be examined. Descartes' thought process shall be followed, and the central point of his argument discussed.
Kurt Vonnegut’s fictional novel “Cat’s Cradle”, indirectly explores issues that parallels into topics such as religion, scientific/technological advancements, political power and much more. Vonnegut’s novel is narrated by a character named Jonah (John). He, Jonah, sets out to write an anthropological book based off of what key people were doing on the day that the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Throughout Vonnegut’s novel it can clearly represents how a writer can become a very destructive person to society. As for this novel, it shows through the uses of parallels that a writer can become a very destructive person to society, these parallels are reflects to real world issues throughout his novel to show this claim, that a writer too can be a destructive person to society.
One of Rene Descartes’ major culminations in Meditations on First Philosophy is “I must finally conclude that this proposition, I am, I exist, is necessarily true whenever it is put forward by me or conceived in my mind” (Descartes:17). This statement can be explicated by examining Descartes’ Cartesian method of doubt and his subsequent discovery of basic truths. Even though I do believe that Descartes concludes with a statement that is accurate: cogito ergo sum, there are areas of his proof that are susceptible to defamation. These objections discover serious error with Descartes’ method used in determining the aforementioned conclusion.
Kurt Vonnegut uses a combination of dark humor and irony in Slaughterhouse-Five. As a result, the novel enables the reader to realize the horrors of war while simultaneously laughing at some of the absurd situations it can generate. Mostly, Vonnegut wants the reader to recognize the fact that one has to accept things as they happen because no one can change the inevitable.
In the Third Meditation, Descartes forms a proof for the existence of God. He begins by laying down a foundation for what he claims to know and then offers an explanation for why he previously accepted various ideas but is no longer certain of them. Before he arrives at the concept of God, Descartes categorizes ideas and the possible sources that they originate from. He then distinguishes between the varying degrees of reality that an idea can possess, as well as the cause of an idea. Descartes proceeds to investigate the idea of an infinite being, or God, and how he came to acquire such an idea with more objective reality than he himself has. By ruling out the possibility of this idea being invented or adventitious, Descartes concludes that the idea must be innate. Therefore, God necessarily exists and is responsible for his perception of a thing beyond a finite being.
Firstly, Descartes made the mistake of supporting a conclusion with premises that can only be true if the conclusion was a premise for the other premises that were supporting it. To clarify, Descartes basically stated that the clarity of his reasoning and perceptions are only possible through the existence of a non-deceiving God and that the non-deceiving God can only be proved through the clear reasoning and perceptions that the non-deceiving God bestowed upon him (51, 52). This is clearly a...
...ll true knowledge is solely knowledge of the self, its existence, and relation to reality. René Descartes' approach to the theory of knowledge plays a prominent role in shaping the agenda of early modern philosophy. It continues to affect (some would say "infect") the way problems in epistemology are conceived today. Students of philosophy (in his own day, and in the history since) have found the distinctive features of his epistemology to be at once attractive and troubling; features such as the emphasis on method, the role of epistemic foundations, the conception of the doubtful as contrasting with the warranted, the skeptical arguments of the First Meditation, and the cogito ergo sum--to mention just a few that we shall consider. Depending on context, Descartes thinks that different standards of warrant are appropriate. The context for which he is most famous, and on which the present treatment will focus, is that of investigating First Philosophy. The first-ness of First Philosophy is (as Descartes conceives it) one of epistemic priority, referring to the matters one must "first" confront if one is to succeed in acquiring systematic and expansive knowledge.