Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle (Modern Critical Interpretations)
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Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle (Bloom's Modern Critical Interpretations)

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4.31 of 5 stars 4.31  ·  rating details  ·  17,713 ratings  ·  144 reviews
A critical overview of the work features the writings of Terry Southern, William S. Doxey, Jerome Klinkowitz, Richard Giannone, John L. Simons, James Lundquist, and other scholars.

- After the bomb, Dad came up with ice / Terry Southern
- Vonnegut's Cat's cradle / William S. Doxey
- The private person as public figure / Jerome Klinkowitz
- Cat's cradle / Richard Giannone
- Tang...more
258 pages
Published by Chelsea House Publications (first published June 15th 2002)
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Julia Saboya
In the book “Cats Cradle”, Kurt Vonnegut uses discreet humor, irony and his own made up religion, Bokononism to illustrate how science is both helpful and harming. His writing can be confusing to young readers considering his complex references. I ended the book with the realization that a crazy idea formed by a capable and credited person can have the power to demolish the aspects of life as we look at it.

The narrorator of the book, John is in the process of writing a book titled, The Day th...more
Mason Wampler
The book starts with John the main character researching about what Americans where doing when the atomic bomb was dropped on Japan. While researching this topic, John becomes involved with the children of Felix Hoenikker.John travels to Ilium, New York, to interview the Hoenikker children and others for his book. In Ilium John meets, among others, Dr. Asa Breed, who was the supervisor "on paper" of Felix Hoenikker. As the novel continues , John learns of a substance called ice-nine, created by...more
Madelaine Cargill
Kurt Vonnegut is my favorite author, and this book is probably the reason behind that. I share many of the same world views as Vonnegut, and his satirical writing style is one I try to imitate. In Cat's Cradle, Vonnegut brings to light world issues such as religion, science, and politics and ties them into an apocalyptic theme. This idea of an apocalypse, in what form it will happen, and how humans will react to it, is one of my favorite things to read and write about. I feel that Vonnegut does...more
Drew
I really enjoyed reading Cat's Cradle. It took about a week to read, the pages turned faster than any book I've read before. The story seems straight forward enough, following an author as he tries to gather information about the creator of the atom bomb, and suddenly takes a turn towards the apocalypse. The book is filled with religious sayings from the religion of this world, and the one towards the end that is a pretty good summary of the book is this:

In the beginning, God created the earth,...more
Vaibhhav
One of Vonnegut's early and really brilliant works. I know that when reading it, one might think the author disillusioned, but the construct of using a made-up religion to lampoon the trivial nature of human things is genius. It could stand purely on its honesty and self-effacing humour in that regard.
You see the plot through the eyes of an author, and satire spins to black humour to sci-fi, to politics, and finally, raw, relentless humanity.
Judith Furedi
I remember it as enjoyable and different and part of my required reading. Vonnegut was a writer-in-residence at my college, for a while, and when I met him, he was totally not who I expected. This was one of the classics, though. I would need to re-read it. And so it goes...
Travis
Fact is allegedly stranger than fiction. With the likes of mad scientists, dancing Ukrainian midgets, possessed clarinet players and granfalloons (you have to read the book to understand the last one) Vonnegut captured this concept in his fable of flawed antiheroes and comedic tragedy.

We follow the path of a journalist, researching the scientist who invented the a-bomb. Curious about how he must have felt on the day it was dropped on Hiroshima, he pursues the orphaned children of said scientist....more
Jeff Miller
Having recently re-read Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse 5 and now having re-read Cat's Cradle their similarities come to the forefront as both novel deal with a writer preparing to right a book on a mass slaughter in WWII. In Slaughterhouse 5 the writer is preparing to write a book about the firebombing of Dresden and in Cat's Cradle the writer is writing a book on the scientists families involved in the Manhattan Project. Though Slaughterhouse descends into a book within a book as it subsequently tel...more
Allie
I always love Vonnegut, although. like other reviewers have said, I get the sense that there's something I'm missing as I read. It's the same feeling I got reading The Crying of Lot 49. When you reach the end, you think, "If this is all the book is supposed to mean, then it's sort of a poor excuse for a book." And then you think back on what you read, and it makes you giggle a little, and you think, "Well, even if my conscious brain didn't get it, some part of me did," and you're okay with that....more
David
For a long time, I said I wasn't a fan of Vonnegut. Turns out, I just haven't been in the mood to read him since I last read a book by him, which was something like 8 years ago (although I do remember liking that great "Harrison Bergeron" story). Since them, I've grouped Vonnegut with along with the likes of Hunter S. Thompson and Chuck Palahniuk - mildly entertaining writers who find a core fan base with college guys. You know, frat lit.
I read Cat's Cradle for a class and found myself rolling...more
Nathanimal
This is the book that started it all for me — the seed that grew into my family tree of books. I started reading rapaciously after finishing this book and started wanting to be a writer myself.

Let's take a moment. Repeat after me:

God made mud.

God got lonesome.

So God said to some of the mud, 'Sit up!'

'See all that I've made, the hills, the sea, the sky, the stars.'

And I was some of the mud that got to sit up and look around.

Lucky me, lucky mud.

I, mud, sat up and saw what a nice job God had done.

N...more
James Millikan
Vonnegut represents a literary style that I am glad to have dabbled in, but I found the writing to be a bit too glib to enjoy in more than moderate doses. Perhaps I will give Slaughterhouse Five a try sometime in the distant future; for the time being I will stick with more firmly established literary channels.
Paige
As usual, Vonnegut has provided a thought-provoking commentary on humanity and a possible avenue of its future. I found his use of religion and discussion of very interesting and thought-provoking in my own life. It caused me to really reflect on why I believe what I do and how that affects my way of life. I think this book is also skilled in addressing and identifying ways that religion functions in society, for better or for worse. I love the way Vonnegut writes: a fictitious story in which on...more
Tom
This book is typical Kurt Vonnegut, which is good for him and better than many other authors. All of Vonnegut's favorite themes are here: the stupidity of war, the stupidity of organized religion, and the stupidity of humans. While I recommend it, Slaughterhouse Five is a much better read and accomplishes the same point in a finer manner.
Karen Cotton
Cat's Cradle explores the debate between science and religion. Written in 1963, Vonnegut satirises the Arms race along with many other subjects. The author introduces the reader to Bokonism and the fantastic language and ideas associated with it. The notion of a karass is presented as a group of people who, often unknowingly, work together to do God's will. While I'm not usually a fan of anything along the lines of science fiction, the fascinating story and concepts kept me riveted.
Mark Gandolfi
I first read this twenty years ago and have just re-read it.

Not in the same class as Slaughterhouse Five, but classic Vonnegut satire nonetheless. Bokonism is definitely a religion for 2012!

You have to read all of Vonnegut to get a perspective on what he was about, Do that and you will be rewarded with a glimpse into a strange mind, much like the mind of Philip K. Dick, another of my favourites.

Worth reading, but read after Slaughterhouse 5 and you will see what I mean.
Candy
After reading this book, I have to say that Kurt Vonnegut has unusual talent. I couldn't really accept his writing style at first, but gradually got used to it and find it extraordinarily amusing. This book is about technology, religion, human beings, and end of the world. Although the whole story seems to be nonsense, it actually foreshadows the direction the world is heading. Moreover, it is a clever satire on human beings and their insanity/stupidity of the twentieth century.
Leah Marie isaac
I just reread this book; it's been on my top five favorites list for over a decade and needed to be refreshed. My memory seems to have played it up in my mind because Bokononism (while it was my official Facebook profile religion for a few years) is not as clever as I remembered. The characters were still classically flawed and utterly, accurately human in their inhumanity. A book you put down and at the end say, "That's a grotesque definition of our race. But completely true."
Asho
This was my first time reading Vonnegut. I really enjoyed the one-liners in this book, to the point that I'm thinking about going back and making a list of some of my favorites. This book manages to address the futility of human life and make the subject almost cheerful. Although I'm not sure that I would classify it as one of the greatest books of all time, I found it quirky and clever and am looking forward to reading more from Kurt Vonnegut.
Ashley
Well, Kurt is definitely one of those authors that you love or you hate. Questionably, though, i am neither. I can withstand his books, but this one just caught attention. I liked this story, it was a bit confusing at first but you catch on. The science he uses is actually incorrect but he probably didn't know this at the time. Overall it was alright book, but i didn't see the point in writing it.
Michellerun
I can't get into this book. I have tried several times now over the past 10 years. This is the furthest I have ever gotten. I loved Vonnegut's Slaughter-House Five and thought this would be a great Classic to read but I am dissapointed- I just don't get it. Maybe its over my head and requires a reader with a high IQ. I am shelving this book for retirement when I have the patience to focus on it.
Tom


I really enjoyed cats cradle by Kurt Vonnegut and look forward to reading some subsequent materials by him. I've read others including slaughterhouse five as well as Galapagos and enjoyed those thoroughly as well. You have to recognize that Kurt Vonnegut is not for everyone but his wit, wisdom and novel way of reframing common perspectives is really striking and refreshing.
Mark
Afterlife and creation mean nothing to me in the context of religion. But Bokonism's "sitting-up mud" nails my sense of reverence for life. Nothing more is required. Bokonists cloak their wonder at the mystery in something close to Christianity, but it is far more pidgin than formal. A mask donned for the purpose of expressing a feeling. Strictly as-if, not cosmological.
aisha
i read this awhile ago - maybe five, six years.

as of right now, this is the only vonnegut novel i've read...and i'm not a fan.

there is a very large possibility that i completely missed the whole novel. when i finished, i had no urge to ever pick up a vonnegut novel again.

i know that the previous statements may threaten some of my friendships, but i must be honest.
Everett
This book set a lot of gears in motion for me. Vonnegut has such a genius about people... it's painful to read his writing sometimes because he goes right into the shittiness of humanity, but it's so funny and so loving that you end up with hope for humankind. "Maybe we can deal with even this, if we can laugh at it and learn from it," or some shit like that.
Jerry
This book is a must read.
Todd Johnson
This book seemed to me a lot like a less polished first draft for Galapagos.

Said Crazy Kurt, "I have this idea for a book where the main character ends up on an island in the Pacific around the time when the world ends, but I'm not sure what else happens." So he tried it two different ways. One came out a 4, the other a 3.
Lindsay Rogers
Cat's Cradle is by far the most entertaining of Vonnegut's novels. His dark wry humor is at its best. He criticizes the intelligence and morality of society by creating a fantasy world about to be destroyed by a new lethal substance: Ice-Nine. This book is a serious must if you haven’t already had the pleasure of reading it.
Keith Harrington
One of my favorites. Ice 9 is a perfect weapon and a great warning about our ability to create powers that we cannot predict or control.
Julia
Another favorite. In my opinion, Vonnegut's best. Apocalyptic and satirical (of course), and with very accessible philosophy thrown in:

"Tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly; Man got to sit and wonder 'why, why, why?' Tiger got to sleep, bird got to land; Man got to tell himself he understand." -- Book of Bokonon
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Bloom is a literary critic, and currently a Sterling Professor of the Humanities at Yale University. Since the publication of his first book in 1959, Bloom has written more than 20 books of literary criticism, several books discussing religion, and one novel. He has edited hundreds of anthologies.
More about Harold Bloom...
Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages How to Read and Why Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird (Bloom's Guides) Gabriel García Márquez' Love in the Time of Cholera (Modern Critical Interpretations)

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“No wonder kids grow up crazy. A cat's cradle is nothing but a bunch of X's between somebody's hands, and little kids look and look and look at all those X's . . ."
"And?"
"No damn cat, and no damn cradle.”
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“Round and round we spin, with feet of lead and wings of tin.” 174 likes
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