Vonnegut's Cat Cradle

2450 Words10 Pages
A Study of the Conflict between Science and Religion through Kurt Vonnegut’s novel, Cat’s Cradle Introduction Kurt Vonnegut is known for his unique combination of satire, black comedy and science fiction. Science fiction is his forte as evinced in the biography found in the website dedicated to him: “Most readers interested in the fantastic in literature are familiar with Kurt Vonnegut, particularly for his uses of science fiction. Many of his early short stories were wholly in the science fiction mode, and while its degree has varied, science fiction has never lost its place in his novels”. Most of his works’ central theme is that of life’s “cosmic joke on humanity”. He lived in and wrote about a century where great (however good or bad) deeds were undertaken. Vonnegut’s work is capsulized by what J.G. Ballard had said of him: “Vonnegut has looked the world straight in the eye and never flinched.” (Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle) Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Cat’s Cradle was one of the unique 20th century novels whose candid criticism of science and religion and message of human indifference staggered most of its readers during its time. He juxtaposed science and religion in the novel by characterizing the former as a body of knowledge for discovering truth and the latter as an instrument for creating lies. In the novel, Vonnegut created a new religion called Bokononism, “a religion built on lies, absurdity, and irony”. The reader is even encouraged to "live by the foma [harmless untruths] that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy" (Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle, Page 2). Bokononism serves as a satire of every major religion in the world. Despite this negative depiction of religion though, the novel actually considered it more preferable than science as the latter takes a very aggressive stance in its pursuit of truth, disregarding the consequences of such an
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