Vonnegut's Nihilistic Views Exposed in Cat's Cradle Essay

Vonnegut's Nihilistic Views Exposed in Cat's Cradle Essay

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Vonnegut's Nihilistic Views Exposed in Cat's Cradle

If humans strive to fulfill their void, of a lack of
meaning in their lives, their folly will blind them from the
truth. Kurt Vonnegut portrays his inner emotions and
feelings of the insignificance of religion through the
characters of his novel, Cat's Cradle. His satiric approach
to a subject that many people base their daily existence
upon, challenges the readers faith. As people search for
a deeper meaning in their lives, the more confused they
become. Only to become entwined in the Cat 's Cradle of

In the beginning, the reader is warned: "Anyone unable
to understand how a useful religion can be founded on lies
will not understand this book either" (5-6). The theme
throughout the entire novel is set as, religion is based on
lies to give people something to believe, and find meaning

Vonnegut created a religion in his novel, Bokonism,
founded by a man named Bokonon. Through lies, and short
poems, Bokonon spreads his religion to the people of San
Lorenzo, a small desolate island with no future. "All of the
true things I am about to tell you are shameless lies."(5)
Vonnegut, through the ideals of Bokononism, gives the reader
insight into the notion that all religions are based on
lies, and un-truths. When Bokonon, christened Lionel Boyd
Johnson, arrived at the Island of San Lorenzo, he saw the
place as a disaster, which would yield no economic wealth or
prosperity. Theonly way that he saw possible for of this
place to become a utopia was to invent lies in which the
people could base their existence. These lies would convince
the people ...

... middle of paper ...

... of
human existence is "protein" (24). This fact of science
intensifies the conclusion that human existence is futile
without meaning, such a meaning that religion provides.
However, that is just the statement that Vonnegut expects
the people of the world to make. The void that humans feel
a need to fill, with thoughts such as religion, will never
be filled; the search for meaning is never-ending. Just like
an endless, pointless game of Cat's Cradle. Bokonon, in his
infinite wisdom knew not to take his own advice and the
validity of it was null. There is no truth, there is no
meaning, "No damn cat, and no damn cradle" (66).


Vonnegut, Kurt: Cat's Cradle Delta Books 1998. (287 pages)

Price, Liana: Understanding Religion Through Cat's Cradle

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