'cat's Cradle' By Kurt Vonnegut, Jr

914 words - 4 pages

In Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, religion is juxtaposed with the concept of a cat’s cradle. Vonnegut uses Bokononism, the book’s main religious theme, to coalesce the idea of a cat’s cradle. Bokononist ideals are similar to a cat’s cradle in several ways, including emptiness or holes, a need for a secondary person and its extra string or unnecessary amounts of string. This is shown in several aspects of Bokononism such as rituals, the concept of foma as a basis for religion and creationist stories and other myths a Bokononist holds dear.In a cat’s cradle there are often empty spaces or holes that tend to mean nothing to the actual end product. These are similar to the use of foma as Bokononism’s core ideology, and how many of Bokononists know of these untruths and still follow the religion. In the very prologue of the book, it is stated, “Nothing in this book is true…Live by the foma that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy.” Meaning that the very religion itself is a lie, its core belief is to make people happy through lies and to give them hope through endless heresy. The fact that many bokononists on San Lorenzo are being prosecuted for their religion makes them even more complacent to practice in secret. And yet President Monzano himself states that, “[he is] a member of the Bokononist faith.” (218) and this endless persecution of his people is only meant to increase their faith and make them believe that bokononism is the way. The fourteenth book of Bokonon summarizes most of bokononism into one final argument. The book, entitled “What can a thoughtful man hope for mankind, given the experience of the past million years?” (245) is all put into one word, “nothing.” (245) This emptiness in faith and meaningless persecution scar the bokononist religion with holes throughout its core manifest.Secondary persons are often needed to complete a cat’s cradle; the entire process is very intricate and is much more wholesome with another hand. This is true for many Bokononist rituals such as boko-maru and the idea of a duprass and karass. Boko-maru is a very mind numbingly beguiling at the core. It is very resembling of a sexual nature from a third person perspective yet it is a commonplace ritual between two or more bokononists to mingle their souls. Yet according to Jonah this simple ritual made him confess that he, “[had] known [Mona] for a thousand years.” (206) This mingling between two people was very complacent and simple yet it led to a very complex and innate relation afterwards between Mona and Jonah. A duprass as stated in bokononism is, “a karass composed of...

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