Cat's Cradle

By: Kurt Vonnegut

Angelica Balderas


John, or as he wants to be called, Jonah, sets out to find information for a book he's going to write. "The Day the World Ended," was to be about the drop of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima from an American perspective. He starts by contacting the children of the creator of the bomb, Dr. Felix Hoenikker. The search leads him to a third world remote island, the Republic of San Lorenzo, where the residents believe in a religion called Bokonism. On his trip he learns that the 3 children of Dr. Hoenikker have kept a creation of their father a secret, Ice-9. Ice-9 has the capability to freeze any liquid that touches it, including people, and the children all possess a small portion of it. When the President of San Lorenzo decides to commit suicide by drinking this substance, everything starts to freeze. In a matter of days, the whole world is contaminated and only a few people are left on the planet. As one of the few people left, Jonah stumbles across Bokonon, the creator of Bokonism. Cat's Cradle is written after this incident happens, when Jonah and a few other people have managed to survive the end of the world.

The Day the World Ended

Monday, Aug. 6th 1945 at 8:15am

Hiroshima, Japan


This book is really about human stupidity, or ignorance. From religion to the creation of mass destruction weapons, we see how ignorant humans can be. Cat's Cradle is filled with sarcasm and irony. The religion, Bokonism, is based off truthful lies, much like real religion. Bokonism was invented only to comfort people, the creator, Bokonon, laughs at anyone who actually believes in it. The creation of mass destruction weapons also show human ignorance. We create these things without thinking of the repercussions, and we let the weapons have more control and power than us. Dr. Hoenikker created ice-9 without thinking it could ever end the world. Not only that but we celebrate the weapons in a way. We have celebrations and remembrances for events that had bad effects on many people.


The word "Karass," is the most important word in the book. It has a specific meaning in the religion Bokonism. Karass is the belief that humans are set up into teams by God to do something, but they never find out what it is. In Cat's Cradle we see Jonah exploring the full depths of his karass without him realizing it Towards the end of the book he feels like he has discovered what him and his karass were meant to do. He felt like he was destined to climb Mount McCabe and plant a symbol on top.


The world is busy, busy, busy. When we think about it, the world is always working for your future, planning how your day is going to be. "Busy, busy, busy," is a saying in Bokonism. When they realize how the world works in mysterious ways they say, "Busy, busy, busy." This is important because it makes us wonder what the world could be doing for us at this exact moment. Jonah was amazed by this and decided to see what the world was up to.


"Call me Jonah. My parents did, or nearly did. They called me John. Jonah – John - if I had been a Sam, I would have been a Jonah still, not because I have been unlucky for others, but because somebody or something has compelled me to be certain places at certain times, without fail."

This is the first paragraph in the book and it is also the most important. It tells us so much about how the rest of the book is going to go. Jonah feels like everything that happened was meant to happen and that he was supposed to be a part of it. He calls himself Jonah because he strongly believes that somebody was influencing him on a larger scale.

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I think I personally would change a lot of things because stories like this are way out of my reach. If I were to be the author I would've played things much safer. I probably wouldn't have let Ice-9 get exposed, making this story completely different, because millions of people wouldn't have died. The story would have ended with a nice, and happy ending.


I would definitely recommend this book to upper class high school students who like something different. Cat's Cradle is unlike any other book that I've ever read and it is by far my favorite. It is mainly categorized as science fiction but it is much more than that. This book gets you thinking about religion, and also about how ignorant some of us can be. I would recommend this to young adults who want something interesting to read.
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