Books and Movies Reviews

Cat’s Cradle

The novel Cat’s Cradle was published in 1963, the year of the Bay of
Pigs invasion.It was the height of the Cold War, and most Americans lived
in fear of a fiery nuclear apocalypse.However, the author presents an
alternative apocalypse, one of the “great door of heaven being closed
softly” (261).In this novel, Vonnegut presents a different but equally
terrifying end – a world encased in frozen ice.
One of the novel’s themes is how human irresponsibility can contribute
to this icy end.Though Vonnegut himself warned that much of the novel
consists of strange plot twists and coincidences, the strength Cat’s Cradle
lies in its richly drawn characters. Throughout the novel, Vonnegut
presented characters whose irresponsibility helped bring much of life on
This novel examines how Vonnegut uses the main and minor characters in
Cat’s Cradle to reflect on the consequences of human irresponsibility.
John, who calls himself “Jonah,” acts as the novel’s narrator.The
reader is told of John’s cynicism through other characters.His ex-wife,
for example, paints him as “too pessimistic” (77).John is also content to
believe in the concept of vin-dit.Because this Bokononist concept places
God at the guiding helm of one’s life, belief in vin-dit can also be read
as a refusal to take responsibility for one’s actions.Even when he
recognizes the emptiness of Bokononism, John still decides to continue the
religion’s charade.By doing so, he indirectly contributes to the death of
thousands of Bokononist followers towards the end of the novel, when many
San Lorenzans commit suicide out of faith and despair.However, John is
also effectively used as a foil to highlight the irresponsibility of the
novel’s other characters.For example, when Angela complains about her
father being unfairly compensated for his work, John points out the
selfishness of this statement in l…