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The Satire Of Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle

1023 words - 4 pages

The Satire of Cat's Cradle

 
    Cat's Cradle is, "Vonnegut's most highly praised novel. Filled with humor and unforgettable characters, this apocalyptic story tells of Earth's ultimate end, and presents a vision of the future that is both darkly fantastic and funny, as Vonnegut weaves a satirical commentary on modern man and his madness" (Barnes and Noble n.pag).  In Cat's Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut uses satire as a vehicle for threatened self-destruction when he designs the government of San Lorenzo.  In addition, the Bokonists practice of Boko-maru, and if the world is going to end in total self destruction and ruin, then people will die, no matter how good people are and what religion people believe.

 

             An example of satire that Kurt Vonnegut uses is when he designs the government of San Lorenzo.  San Lorenzo is a small island somewhere in the Caribbean.  The people in San Lorenzo are doomed to failure no matter what leader they have, and they have always been this way.  San Lorenzo, in the novel, is pictured as one of the most unsuccessful and useless places on earth.  The people there are very poor, do not have much to eat, and do not have any motivation left at all, "Johnson and McCabe had failed to raise the people from the misery and muck" (Scholes 133).  Thus, that is why they do not care anymore who there leader is going to be, because they know that they are going to fail anyway, "Everybody was bound to fail, for San Lorenzo was as unproductive as an equal area in the Sahara or the Polar Icecap" (Scholes 133).  The way that the people are kept alive is by trickery by the government and the holy man Bokonon.  The story of Bokonon and his religion begins with the dictator of San Lorenzo and Bokonon at first  being friends, but then they decided to govern San Lorenzo by themselves.  Seeing that the people are hopeless and without direction, Bokonon invents his religion, "When Bokonon and McCabe took over this miserable country year ago...they through out the priests.  And then Bokonon, cynically and playfully invented a new religion" (Scholes 172).  But then McCabe outlaws it and makes practicing any religion other than Christianity punishable by the deadly Hook, "Anybody caught practicing Bokononsim in San Lorenzo, will die on the Hook" (Scholes 134).  All the people on the island have become devout Bokonists, and the struggle between the government and the religion keeps them entertained, and therefore alive, "Well, when it became evident that no government or economic reform was going to make the people much less miserable, the religion became the one real instrument of hope.  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 better lies" (Scholes 172).  The hopeless, directionless people represent mankind as a whole and the government plot represents what Vonnegut sees as society's mindless, clear diversion from reality that...

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