Cat's Cradle

Human Condition in Cat's Cradle 12th Grade

Understanding ourselves and the surroundings that shape us is no small feat. Sci-fi novels time and time again have attempted to address such topics by manipulating and distorting the future in a different light. But Kurt Vonnegut takes a different approach, one that is unmistakably human: through comedy. In particular, Cat’s Cradle is a telling and enjoyable ride that pokes fun at humanity’s quirks and weaknesses. Vonnegut does so using a unique, laidback, and humorous style, which takes a story about the end of the world and pits science and religion against one another.

To begin, the story takes many jabs at how humans respond to and interpret innovative, ground-breaking science. Dr. Felix Hoenikker, the fictional father of the atomic bomb, is a prime example of how science warps truth and muddies morality. Despite creating a weapon that obliterated thousands upon thousands of innocent lives, he feels nothing, not even a smidge of responsibility. After the first test of the atomic bomb, one scientist bemoans, “Science has now known sin.” In response, Dr. Hoenikker ponders, “What is sin?” (Vonnegut 21). Such a distant and vacant outlook was, and still is, common among scientists. Most disregard implication and focus on...

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