Satire, and Black Humor in Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle
Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut was written in 1963. "It is a satirical commentary on modern man and his madness" (back cover). It is a book that counters almost every aspect of our society. As well as satire, Vonnegut also includes apocalyptic elements in this novel.
Satire, "the use of irony, sarcasm, or ridicule in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice or folly" (Webster 1193), is very prevalent in Cat's Cradle. Vonnegut hits on many aspects of human life with this satire. Government, religion, medicine, and business are just a few of these aspects. In focusing on government, Vonnegut shows us a leader ("Papa" Monzano), who attempts to create a utopia, but just like in today's society, he makes promises to his people, and then fails to fulfill them. Ironically he allows the best for himself and his staff, while his people struggle. As well, Vonnegut attacks religion with his own creatively made up religion (Bokononism) which is nothing but lies. He shows religion and science to be contradictory where religion is based on satisfying lies, and science on horrifying truths. Vonnegut discusses science in great detail, specifically in regards to Ice-9. He shows irony in the fact that so many are focused on the creation of the destructive and devastating weapon; the atom bomb, when in fact, the more serious threat to humanity is the creation of Ice-9. This is ironic since few people know about, and most especially since it was created so marines would no longer have to walk in the mud. As well, Vonnegut focuses sarcastically on the illusion of love. He does this through the narrator Jonah, who thinks Mona can "make me far happier than any woman had so far succeeded in doing" (Vonnegut 64). Yet, this is humorous since we find later that Jonah does not really love her once he knows he can have her and that she will not give up her ways for him.
Other than satire, Vonnegut uses many apocalyptic allusions...