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

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

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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
narrative.

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
Slaughterhouse-Five.

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
http://www.duke.edu/~crh4/vonnegut/

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
http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/4953/vonn.html

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

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