Understanding Religion Through Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle Essay

Understanding Religion Through Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle Essay

Length: 3194 words (9.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Understanding Religion Through Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle

The following is issued as a warning from the author
Kurt Vonnegut to the reader: "Any one unable to understand
how a useful religion can be founded on lies will not
understand this book either"(14). The latter quote is
typical of Vonnegut in his usage of creating a personal

Kurt Vonnegut Jr. was born in Indianapolis, like many
of his characters, in 1922. His life from that point on
closely resembles the lives of the people in his satirical
novel Cat's Cradle. Vonnegut's mother committed suicide when
he was twenty two years old and in many of his novels the
character of the mother is dead. Vonnegut's "lifelong
pessimism clearly has its roots in his parents' despairing
response to the depression" (Allen 2). He was captured in
WWII and was present in Dresden, Germany when it was bombed
and set fire to, killing 135,000 citizens. This later became
the basis for Vonnegut's greatest success

Cat's Cradle was published in 1963, and though it
wasn't as big a success as Slaughterhouse, it became widely
known as contributing to the "counter-culture" since it does
in fact question and counter almost every part of our
society's culture (Reed). One of the largest points of our
culture brought into question in Cat's Cradle is religion.
Vonnegut himself is a Humanist, meaning that he isn't sure
of the existence of a God, but values life above all else.
In his last novel Timequake, Vonnegut explains that he
understands that humans need religion as something to turn
to for comfort and suppo...

... middle of paper ...

... Literature). Columbia,
SC: University of SouthCarolina Press, 1991.

Broer, Lawrence R., editor. Sanity Plea: Schizophrenia in
the Novels of Kurt Vonnegut (revised edition). Tuscaloosa,
AL: University of Alabama Press, 1994

Huber, Chris. The Vonnegut Web. 14 Feb. 2002. 25 Feb. 2002

Klinkowitz, Jerome. Vonnegut in Fact: The Public
Spokesmanship of Personal Fiction. Columbia, SC: University
of South Carolina Press, 1998.

Reed, Peter J. Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Warner Books, 1972.

Vit, Marek. Marek Vit's Kurt Vonnegut Corner. 4 Mar. 2002.
25 Feb. 2002

Vonnegut, Kurt . Cat's Cradle. 1963. New York: Dell
Publishing, 1988

Vonnegut, Kurt. Mother Night. New York: Fawcett, 1962.

Vonnegut, Kurt. Timequake. New York: Putnam, 1997

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Human Fallibility Exposed in Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat's Cradle Essay

- Oscar Wilde, an acclaimed Irish Poet, novelist, dramatist and critic once aptly commented, “Men become old, but they never become good”. The philosophical aspect of this quote relies on the basis that human beings are inherently malevolent. Through his pessimistic perspective, Wilde clearly captures the ill-disposed mindset of mankind. Moreover, there are various deductive arguments that discredit the optimistic depiction of human nature. One of the prime examples can be found in Kurt Vonnegut’s literature....   [tags: Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle]

Powerful Essays
1029 words (2.9 pages)

Essay about Crusaders of Truth in Cat's Cradle and Pi

- Crusaders of Truth in Cat's Cradle and Pi       In our world, people are constantly searching for the truth, or answers for things that seem unexplainable. On a quest to make the uncertainties of life easier, or more reasonable, some people have invented tools such as religion, and deemed them truthful. People such as Felix Hoenikker from Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle, and Max Cohen from Darren Aronofsky's film Pi, resist such inventions and see a different definition of truth, which is science....   [tags: Cat's Cradle Essays]

Powerful Essays
1022 words (2.9 pages)

The Cruel Joke of Life Exposed in Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle Essay

- The Cruel "joke" of Life Exposed in Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle Cat's Cradle is set up like a series of comic strips, with satirical commentary found in the last "panel". What, then, could we conclude is the accumulative punchline for the entire novel. What does Vonnegut give us for his "last laugh". If we attempt to answer this question, we must first try solving the answers to "what is the joke?" and "who is the joker?" It seems Vonnegut's characters are the victims to the cruel "joke" of life....   [tags: Vonnegut Cat's Cradle Essays]

Free Essays
368 words (1.1 pages)

Essay on The Role of Religion and Morality in Cat's Cradle

- The Role of Religion and Morality in Cat's Cradle As an author, Kurt Vonnegut has received just about every kind of praise an author can receive: his works held the same sway over American philosophy as did those of Jack Kerouac or J.R.R. Tolkein; his writing has received acclaim from academics and the masses alike; and three of his books have been made into feature films. Society has permanently and noticeably been altered by his writing. Through accessible language and easily-understood themes, Vonnegut has created works subtle, engrossing, and familiar....   [tags: Papers]

Powerful Essays
966 words (2.8 pages)

Kurt Vonnegut 's Cat 's Cradle And Slaughterhouse Five Essay

- The meaning of religion can be different for everyone; some use it to justify events happening, while others use it to turn people against each other. As Kurt Vonnegut describes tragic events during World War II, unrealistic adventures in space and destructive scientific advances, he shares his unique perspective on life and religion. Although many of his works were set during 20th century, Vonnegut satirically addresses issues that are present in today’s society. Despite efforts to prevent wars, people have not found a solution to do it....   [tags: Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five, Cold War]

Powerful Essays
1690 words (4.8 pages)

Comparing Themes in Cat’s Cradle and Slaughterhouse Five Essay

- 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....   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]

Powerful Essays
1891 words (5.4 pages)

Exploring Fear in Howl, Basketball Diaries, and Cat's Cradle Essay

- "yacketayakking screaming vomiting whispering facts and memories and anecdotes and eyeball kicks and shocks of hospitals and jails and wars" (Ginsberg 11). Like many authors of the modern literature movement, Allen Ginsberg explores the bomb's psychological affects on many Americans during the 1960s. Modern literature describes the chaos of the 1960s, caused by increasing societal problems and fear of the new atomic bomb. Writings such as The Basketball Diaries, "Howl" and Cat's Cradle express concepts of fear, power, governmental control, and death....   [tags: Synthesis Essays]

Powerful Essays
2112 words (6 pages)

Essay about The Masterpiece of Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle

- The Masterpiece  of Cat's Cradle      Kurt Vonnegut,  critically acclaimed author  of several best-selling novels, uses  self-expression and psychological manipulation to  stress to the reader  his beliefs and ideas dispersed within  the context of Cat's  Cradle. From reading this  novel, one  might attribute  perplexity pondering over the plot  and general story  line of the  book. Cat's Cradle entangles  itself  in  many  interesting  changes of events; strange outlandish ideas and psychological "black holes" can be found with just the flip of a page....   [tags: Cat's Cradle Essays]

Powerful Essays
2161 words (6.2 pages)

Essay about The Satire of Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle

- The Satire of Cat's Cradle       Cat's Cradle is, "Vonnegut's most highly praised novel. Filled with humor and unforgettable characters, this apocalyptic story tells of Earth's ultimate end, and presents a vision of the future that is both darkly fantastic and funny, as Vonnegut weaves a satirical commentary on modern man and his madness" (Barnes and Noble n.pag).  In Cat's Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut uses satire as a vehicle for threatened self-destruction when he designs the government of San Lorenzo.  In addition, the Bokonists practice of Boko-maru, and if the world is going to end in total self destruction and ruin, then people will die, no matter how good people are and what religion peop...   [tags: Cat's Cradle Essays]

Powerful Essays
1004 words (2.9 pages)

Cat's Cradle Essay

- The Human Vaccination Modern medicine has proved that the best way to prevent the contraction of a disease for humans is to inject a tolerable amount of the virus into the host and let the individual's immune system build a defense capable of withstanding future invasions of the same strand. The small pox vaccination, for example, has eliminated the disease from almost every nation on Earth. But what if the disease is psychological, a way of being or state of mind rather than a physical aberration....   [tags: Cat's Cradle Vonnegut Essays]

Powerful Essays
914 words (2.6 pages)