Destiny as a Fictive Device in Cat's Cradle, Mother Night, and Jailbird

Destiny as a Fictive Device in Cat's Cradle, Mother Night, and Jailbird

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The literary genius of Kurt Vonnegut is evidenced by his
ability to weave a story from the most mundane of characters and
circumstances into an intricate web of possibilities for his
stories by using literary tools such as cause and effect,
congruence and destiny. Here we will examine Vonnegut's use of
one of these literary tools, destiny as a fictive device, which
serves to propel the three following books: Cat's Cradle, Mother
Night, and Jailbird. Kurt Vonnegut is a master of fictive devices
because he uses them to construct an intricate web of
possibilities for his stories to proceed on.

Destiny, as the dictionary tells us, is "a predetermined
course of events often held to be a resistless power or agency,"
and in these three novels, Kurt Vonnegut implies that destiny is
just the way things are bound to be. Some of the many forms of
destiny used by Vonnegut to guide his characters and to shove his
stories into the right direction include: destiny for people who
don't believe in destiny; such as religious persons,
anti-destiny; the idea of what might have been, and
predestination; the idea that what happens to you is already

In Jailbird, Vonnegut uses a particularly obscure main
character named Walter F. Starbuck. Walter F. Starbuck was
a normal, law-abiding citizen in his fifties, with a wife and
a son who didn't like him, but, by using destiny as a fictive
device, Kurt Vonnegut creates an amazing story filled with
adventure, love, and betrayal.

In the novel Mother Night Vonnegut lays out the life of his
main character, Howard W Campbell, Jr., from when he was ...

... middle of paper ...

... "And, inwardly, I sarooned,
which is to say that I aquiesed to the seeming demands of my
vin-dit."(p137 Cat's Cradle). A vin-dit is "...a Bokononist word
meaning a sudden, very personal shove in the direction of
Bokononism,..."(p53 Cat's Cradle). By making the character of
John believe in destiny, anything that happens, which sounds like
destiny, the character will react to. This gives the author more
to write about.

Kurt Vonnegut is a great author of American literature
because of how he uses literary tools to write his exciting
stories. Destiny used as a fictive device is the easiest tool
Kurt Vonnegut uses to fertilise the lives of his characters, but
it is also the most effective. If more teachers taught about how
destiny is used as a fictive device, then we would all benefit,
as writers and readers.

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