False Perception In Cat's Cradle

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The Cat’s Cradle: A Symbol of False Perception The Cold War era was characterized by a vast amount of technological advancement, yet this exciting period of curiosity was also represented by weapons of mass destruction, such as the atomic bomb. Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Cat’s Cradle features the life of Dr. Hoenikker, the father of the atomic bomb, and how he and his children handle his invention called “ice-nine”, a form of water that crystallizes everything upon touch. Consequently, “ice-nine” eventually leads to mass destruction of life on Earth, and this undermines the blind faith that science was purely beneficial. Throughout Cat’s Cradle, Vonnegut illustrates the stupidity and gullibility of the human condition via the satirical setting…show more content…
This is primarily achieved through the life of Dr. Felix Hoenikker and his children. Hoenikker approaches his research with a childish playfulness that is unassociated with someone who creates weapons of mass destruction. By characterizing him as such, “Vonnegut uses the development of ice-nine to illustrate his worry that scientists are only concerned with solving problems and creating products without any thought about how these discoveries might be used” (Karmiol). Dr. Hoenikker’s irresponsibility epitomizes Vonnegut’s belief; by leaving a sample of ice-nine unattended, Hoenikker causes his own death, and eventually, his invention would become the means of Earth’s destruction. This event is paralleled when Dr. Hoenikker’s children inherit their own samples of “ice-nine”, which they carelessly use to buy positions of happiness. For example, when the old dictator of San Lorenzo ends up with a Hoenniker-given sample of ice-nine on his deathbed, the children’s inability to clean up the scene leads to an inauspicious plane crash exposing ice-nine to the sea, freezing the world over. Throughout the novel, Vonnegut undermines the conventional belief that science would purely be beneficial; society in his time was convinced that science and humanity had reached the pinnacle of their maturity. Yet, Vonnegut shows that humans truly are not perfect, and their obliviousness is still present. He does not portray the novel’s characters to be inherently evil; in fact, they exhibit regular characteristics such as carelessness and indifference. Ultimately, however, this accentuates Vonnegut’s argument: a human does not necessarily need to possess evil qualities in order to turn an invention into a malicious tool. This is analogous to the dropping of the atomic bomb in 1945; although the United States’ primary goal was to end
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