Cat's Cradle Review

1321 words - 5 pages ✓ Expert Reviewed

Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut, is a novel about earth’s demise, caused by the bad qualities of humans. The narrator, John, finds himself involved with the children of the famous creator of the atom bomb, Felix Hoenikker. He then finds out that Angela, Newt, and Frank Hoenikker all have a piece of ice-nine, an isotope of water created by their father that freezes at room temperature. The threeshare their ice-nine with various people in an attempt to achieve happiness through means of marriage, love, or power, even though they are aware that it has the capacity to destroy life on earth. As a result of their actions and the misuse of ice-nine, it ends up freezing all the oceans on earth and ending life as we know it. Cat’s Cradle has interesting, though unlikable, characters; an unorganized, predictable plot; and a style that can be both humorous and boring.
The array of characters in Cat’s Cradle is fascinating, although not likeable. Dr. Felix Hoenikker, for instance, has a combination of characteristics that make it hard for the reader to either like or hate him. Some of his attributes can be considered bad; for example, his wife has to spend all her time taking care of him because he is incapable of doing it himself. Once she dies, Dr. Hoenikker’s daughter, Angela, drops out of high school as a sophomore to take her place. He does not seem to have a sense of morals or of right and wrong, either. He simply seeks knowledge and truth. For example, upon the testing of the atom bomb, someone says to him that science has finally known sin. Dr. Hoenikker replies with the question, “What is sin?” He has no issue creating articles of destruction, such as the atom bomb, with the only reason being his curiosity and interest. He also invents ice-nine with the knowledge that it has the potential to destroy the earth. Dr. Hoenikker is also portrayed throughout the novel as innocent, which makes it hard to blame him for . His approach to his scientific research is childish. He compares himself to“a dawdling eight-year-old on a spring morning on his way to school” in the speech he delivers upon winning the Nobel Prize, and his laboratory is strewn with various children’s toys. He considers his research a game, getting interested in random things at random times, the atom bomb intriguing him just as much as the behavior of turtles. Although Dr. Hoenikker is not inherently bad, he certainly is not good either, making him a fascinating character who forces the reader to rethink his standards on “evil”. Another interesting character is Lionel Boyd Johnson, or Bokonon, the founder of Bokononism, the chief religion of San Lorenzo. Bokononism is established on what Bokonon calls foma, “harmless untruths”. His intention for the religion was to ease the suffering of the San Lorenzans, even if lies were necessary to do that. “Truth was the enemy of the people, because the truth was so terrible, so Bokonon made it his business to provide the people with better and...

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