Literary Analysis The Presence Of Greed In "Cat's Cradle"

1248 words - 5 pages

Literary Analysis-- The Presence of Greed in "Cat's Cradle" Do you feel the need for greed?! To some, that corny phrase may just be the melodramatic theme to the now-defunct television game show, "Greed". To the enlight- ened reader of Kurt Vonnegut's novel "Cat's Cradle", however, it symbolizes the under- lying message behind one of the novel's more prevalent literary themes: Greed. A vari- ety of lifestyle themes dominate the pages of "Cat's Cradle", but few stick out as clearly as that of greed. From physical and psychological, to emotional and spiritual, many dif- ferent levels of greed integrated themselves throughout the novel. By analysing some of the more notable incidents involving human greed, one can see how that selfishness ulti- mately served only to assist, both directly and indirectly, in the destruction of humanity.One team of characters who displayed a loathsome greedy streak were the Crosbys. On the surface, businessman/entrepreneur H. Lowe and his wife Hazel ap- peared to be a harmless, humourous, proud and patriotic American couple. However, below the Crosbys' innocent exterior lied the sinister reasoning for their interest in San Lorenzo. They wanted to investigate the possibility of moving their bicycle manufact- uring business to the island because they found American labour regulations too restric- tive. They planned to exploit the workforce of San Lorenzo, who were so desperate for employment and money that they would willingly work for below-meagre wages and in awful conditions just to have a job and a means to support their families. In H. Lowe Crosby's backwards frame of mind, he felt that the people of San Lorenzo would be grateful for his business and "job opportunity". "I know damn well they will be. The people down there are poor enough and scared enough and ignorant enough to have some common sense." H. Lowe's warped logic also convinced him that people were put on Earth "to build bicycles for him". For Hazel's part, she displayed an added level of unin- tentional greed by her perception that foreign nations should all be Americanized, in terms of their common language, religious beliefs, and some social customs. The fact that San Lorenzo met all of Hazel's misguided wishes of what a foreign nation should be like pleased her to no end. "The thing I like... is they all speak English and they're all Christians. That makes things so much easier." While the Crosbys may have been simple, "barnyard", rural-minded small-c conservative Americans, they displayed an enormous amount of greed in their idea of what the despairing people of San Lorenzo should offer them and their personal interests.Another character who displayed a surprising angle of personal greed was John, the story's narrator. When Frank asked John to replace him as President-Designate of San Lorenzo upon Papa Monzano's death, John knew, in his heart and mind, that he would be a colossal failure as President. John realized that his political inexperience...

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