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Transcript of Cat's Cradle
By: Kurt VOnnegut
The speaker in the novel tells the reader to call him Jonah "because somebody or something has compelled me to be certain places at certain times, both conventional and bizarre", even though his parents had called him John. It is written in a first person view point from John and all the events that take place are altered by his perspective. He is also an unreliable narrator and tells the reader that "nothing in this book is true." Vonnegut himself has a background that would lead to his cynical views on life. He grew up during the Great Depression and saw his father waste away and commit suicide and saw many horrifying images of war while serving in WWII.
Nothing in this book is true.
"Live by the
* that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy."
The Books of Bokonon
* harmless truths
The reason that Jonah becomes entangled with various characters from his
begins as him gathering information for his book
The Day the World Ended
. The book was to be a Christian book but later becomes a Bokonon one. Eventually Jonah and members of his
find themselves in San Lorenzo where the end of the world does occur.
The targeted audience of this novel is those who enjoy black humor and someone criticizing human nature. Vonnegut also targets the average American white male by creating the main character who has and everyman name that does not give any hints to personality or history. The book is aimed at an older audience due to language.
The purpose of the novel is to explore human characteristics and and speak of how religion is based off of lies but these lies can be comforting when dealing with the chaos of the world.
The subject of the novel is a man who lives through the end of the world speaking of the events that lead up and how everything connected.
The tone of this novel is sarcastic and cynical. Throughout the novel he had biting commentary on people's views of the world and to the events that happened.
When John says at the beginning "Call me Jonah" it references Herman Melville's novel that warned against imperialism, Moby Dick. The beginning of that novel begins by saying "Call me Ishmael."
"poking fun at subjects considered deadly serious or even taboo by some"
It is easy to recognize Vonnegut's use of black humor. He criticizes religion and shows how narrow minded many people are.
This is shown by the use of medicine, scientific and technological progress. Vonnegut shows throughout the novel that this progress may not be as helpful as many believe it to be.
This is shown when Newt's father shows him the cat's cradle when he was younger. Newt says that it is just a lot of x's created by the string and there is not an actual cat or cradle in the web. This is a metaphor for how all the members of the
are connected in the meaningless complexity of everything.
This is used effectively in throughout the novel. By using simple sentences that are easily understood Vonnegut could easily express his complex views of life and the world around him.
"Maturity, the way I understand it," he told me, "is knowing what your limitations are."
He wasn't far from Bokonon in defining maturity.
"Maturity," Bokonon tells us, "is a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists, unless laughter can be said to remedy anything."
WHy is the novel Important to AMerican Literature?
The novel is important to American literature because it uses several rhetorical devices effectively, gives controversial views on life that sparks debates, and reflects fears of some who were alive when the atomic bomb was first dropped.