Vonnegut's Use Of Satire In Cats Cradle

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Examine the dangerous jokes that that form the bassis of the book. How does the author use satire to critique the idiocies and short comings of his contemporary world? The real purpose behind Vonnegut’s writings is “to poison minds with humanity … to encourage them to make a better world”. This is the author’s primary purpose in Cats Cradle, to highlight the weaknesses of humanity which is the author’s flaws in his contemporary world, black humour as well as other satirical techniques such that; Vonnegut is in a way, holding a mirror in humanity’s face to allow humanity to understand their own weaknesses and attempt to improve. Vonnegut’s hope in the book is to allow people to laugh at their own idiocies through black humour, challenging their…show more content…
He particularly uses the fictional religion of Bokononism and again the quote “Call me Jonah….They called me John” to highlight the fallacy in the belief, following and creation of religion as well as the saving grace which religion possesses. The name of John may be intended to echo that of two Biblical prophets, John the Baptist and John of Patmos. The former foretold the coming of Christ and ended up dead for his troubles. The latter saw elaborate visions of the end of the world but did not truly understand them. The John of Cat’s Cradle is also a prophet of the latter type as he does not truly understand the end of the world. But, he makes attempts to do so under the cover of Bokononism which claims to find some workings in the world when really there aren’t any. The book makes numerous allusions and references to Bokononism and gives background behind Bokononism to allow the reader to see the weaknesses in all types of religion and the true reason for their existence. Bokonon is the founder, leader and ‘Messiah’ of this religious system and it is his open cynicism and blatant lying that makes Bokononism so easily acceptable for almost all the character’s in the book including John. Bokonon arrived on San Lorenzo naked and supposedly reborn after a shipwreck and he and the other survivor from the ship attempted to make the island a utopia. When faced by failure, Bokononism was created to give hope to the people and his partner became the dictator over the people and now the stage was fully set for a great power struggle between the holy man and the dictator. This power struggle allows both parties to maintain the people’s happiness and forget their unhappiness in the thrill of this struggle. The goal, for the dictator, is never to catch

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