Cat’s Cradle: The Day the World Ended

Video essay by Lit Tips

Historical Events Behind Cat’s Cradle

Cat’s Cradle novel
Cat’s Cradle novel
leaders shaking hands
leaders shaking hands

Kurt Vonnegut

1960s American author Kurt Vonnegut
1960s American author Kurt Vonnegut
Author Kurt Vonnegut

Cat’s Cradle Structure & Background

Nobel winning chemist
Nobel winning chemist
Nobel Prize-winning chemist Irving Langmuir
Chemists Ice 9
Chemists Ice 9

Hoenikker’s Children

Hoenikker’s three unusual children, Frank, Angela, and Newt, find the ice-nine and split it up in thermoses. It is through the desire to learn more about Felix Hoenikker for his book that Jonah meets his children and eventually learns of ice-nine.

Second Part of Cat’s Cradle

The second part of Cat’s Cradle takes place on the fictional Caribbean island of San Lorenzo. Jonah receives a magazine assignment that takes him to the rocky island nation. One of the poorest countries on Earth, with only one city, (Bolivar), however, it does possess fighter jets if that gives any indication of where its disparities lie. San Lorenzo is ruled by a Christian government along with a dictator, Papa Monzano, who is an American ally and staunch opponent of communism.

Cat’s Cradle Religion Bokononism

The Meaning of Cat’s Cradle is Meaninglessness

Theodore Sturgeon once described Cat’s Cradle as “appalling, hilarious, shocking, and infuriating,” concluding that “this is an annoying book and you must read it. And you better take it lightly, because if you don’t you’ll go off weeping and shoot yourself.”

“If I were a younger man, I would write a history of human stupidity; and I would climb to the top of Mount McCabe and lie down on my back with my history for a pillow; and I would take from the ground some of the blue-white poison that makes statues of men; and I would make a statue of myself, lying on my back, grinning horribly, and thumbing my nose at You Know Who.”

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