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? My interpretation of Vonnegut's statement to "poison minds with humanity …to encourage them to make a better world" leads me to think that he would approach the problem with the same method. Inject just a bit of stupidity, naiveté, and prideful ignorance directly into the cerebellum so that, hopefully, gradually, humanity will wean themselves of these traits.
The technique must be subtle. The needle and syringe must appear nonthreatening or no one will take it. Therefore disguise the needle with cynicism and satire. The idea is to present forms of unwanted human behavior that all of us possess and practice throughout our daily lives and make the reader aware of them. Show the reader humans being human and make them aware of all the stupid, silly, rude things we do and say everyday. Consider the ignorance of Miss Pefko, who neither finds science the very antithesis of magic nor understands the meaning of the word antithesis, the rude curtness of Marvin Breed and Philip Castle, and the duping of the entire population of the Bokonon religion based not on God, but upon socialism and lies. Cat's Cradle is full of characters that display very human, very unwanted traits.
By recognizing these traits and consciously thinking about...
... middle of paper ...
...niverse, he his painting a clear picture of the pitfalls of life. It is very clear that in Cat's Cradle, Vonnegut views religion and science as an excuse to not be responsible for individual actions. The Episcopalian woman in Newport believed that by knowing God, she knew everything, and yet lacked the ability to read a blueprint (13). Dr. Hoenikker hid behind that façade of science so that an institution could carry the burden of his inventions, and Jonah blamed Bokonon for the mass suicide, never once mentioning that each individual had a choice of whether or not to kill themselves (182).
Vonnegut's use of satire coats the poisonous pen used to show his readers the inescapable consequences of stupidity and arrogance. Displaying the darkness and destruction of mankind allows his readers to see where changes can be made that would allow a better world to emerge.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- 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]
1004 words (2.9 pages)
- 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]
1022 words (2.9 pages)
- Use of Coincidence in Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle Most modern novelists avoid the use of coincidence as a plot device, and such use of coincidence is looked on as trite and cheap. This was not always the case, as novelists of yore, Charles Dickens is a great example, have been known to throw in a suspicious coincidence at the very climax of the book that ties up the plot nicely but leaves modern readers feeling betrayed and deceived. Perhaps due to more literate, sophisticated readers, or just the maturation of the novel form, writers no longer have the luxury of plot coincidence.... [tags: Vonnegut Cat's Cradle]
385 words (1.1 pages)
- Black Humor in Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle The phrase Black Humor has the broad meaning of poking "fun at subjects considered deadly serious or even taboo by some"2. This definition is simple, and yet embodies an important idea that is often lost in more complex definitions: the idea that Black Humor can actually be "fun", and provoke laughter. This is not, of course, the only important aspect of the term, and I shall explore some of the other important defining features of Black Humor before moving on to discuss its use in Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle3.... [tags: Cat's Cradle Essays]
3853 words (11 pages)
- Postmodernist Features in Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle Cat's Cradle is a book, which enables many points for literary discussions. One possible topic of them could be the postmodernist features in this book. In this examination Ihab Hassan's essay "Toward a Concept of Postmodernism" was used as a source of secondary literature for defining of postmodernist features. The most visible and prevalent features are postmodernist metonymy, treatment of the character, dynamic tension, anarchy and a postmodernist look at religion as a whole.... [tags: Cat's Cradle Essays]
2895 words (8.3 pages)
- Paradoxical Nature of Life Exposed in Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle Kurt Vonnegut's apocalyptic novel, Cat's Cradle, might well be called an intricate network of paradox and irony. It is with such irony and paradox that Vonnegut himself describes his work as "poisoning minds with humanity...to encourage them to make a better world" (The Vonnegut Statement 107). In Cat's Cradle, Vonnegut does not tie his co-mingled plots into easy to digest bites as the short chapter structure of his story implies.... [tags: Kurt Vonnegut Cat's Cradle Essays]
424 words (1.2 pages)
- Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle vs Our Assumptions Regarding War, Progress, and Religion If one of Vonnegut's purposes for writing is "to poison minds with humanity" (qtd. by Scholes, per Griffin), then the weapon of choice in Cat's Cradle, is satire. Cat's Cradle "poison[s] minds" only by revealing the toxins that are already present in the system. Vonnegut's brand of satire serves as a sort of syrup of ipecac on human folly, and if we are "to make a better world" as he would have it, we should understand how truly virulent human enterprise can be.... [tags: Vonnegut Cat's Cradle]
384 words (1.1 pages)
- Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle Vonnegut deals a lot with fantasy in his book, Cat's Cradle. From the beginning, he talks about the religion that he follows: Bokonism. This is not a real religion, however he has rules, songs, scriptures, and opinions of a person that practices this fantasy religion. Within his description of this religion however is black humor as well. I think that by him making up this whole religion and an entire island of people who follow it, is in a way mocking today's religion and the way that people are dedicated to their beliefs.... [tags: Vonnegut Cat's Cradle Essays]
374 words (1.1 pages)
- 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]
914 words (2.6 pages)
- Vonnegut's Simple Style in Cat's Cradle The simple style with which Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. writes his novels belies the complexity hidden behind his sentences. Vonnegut's novels, as a result, are amazingly easy and, to many, enjoyable to read, yet they contain messages that go to the very root of humanity, messages that are not hidden underneath flowery prose. The success of Cat's Cradle, like all of his novels, relies on this simplicity to reveal its messages about religion, death, and apocalypse to the reader.... [tags: Cat's Cradle Essays]
1227 words (3.5 pages)