I believe that Vonnegut uses Cat's Cradle as an allegorical tale about what will happen to the world if we are not careful with technology that has the ability to end life on this planet. He points out one of the qualities of humanity; that people make mistakes, thus poisoning our minds and encouraging a better world.
One of the obvious ways that Vonnegut uses this book to "encourage a better world" would be by showing that the end of world may come from an accidental release of technology. At the time when this book was written, nuclear war seemed to be an almost certainty. If we look at the number of bomb shelters being built and drills being conducted in classrooms during the late fifties and early sixties we would see evidence of that would point to the overall feeling in American society that the end was near. The nuclear genie was safely contained by the super powers. But I think that Vonnegut saw that all it would take was one small country; who possessed end of the world technology, to have an accident and it would spell the doom of mankind.
Vonnegut writes, when speaking of ice-nine, that "apparently the United States of America and Union of Soviet Socialist Republic had it....understandably surrounded by electrified fences and homicidal German shepards" (Chapt. 110). I believe that he was pointing out that the super powers of the world who have end of the world technology keep it very well guarded against theft or accident. However, ice-nine was also in the possession of Papa. All it takes is one suicidal leader and one accident by the San Lorenzo airforce to release ice-nine into the world, resulting in the end of the planet. Vonnegut seems to be demonstrating that although nuclear weap...
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...Cradle and The Damnation of Theron Ware?
Question #3: Is there any significance to the names in Cat's Cradle?
Answer: The reason that I ask this question is in reference to the Bokononist vocabulary that Vonnegut created. Only a man who could create such words as "Zah-mah-ki-bo" or "sin-wat" is bound to confuse his reader with such simplistic names as "Julian Castle" or "Hazel Crosby."
Charles Dickens often would create names of his characters to correlate with their behavior, which made me as a reader take a further look into the names of characters in books that I read.
When I read the name of "Jonah," I was prompted to think of the character of the same name in the Bible who got swallowed by a whale in the Old Testament. While the character goes also by the name "John," I couldn't help but wonder if there was some similarity involved in this novel.
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