Comparing Themes in Cat’s Cradle and Slaughterhouse Five

1905 WordsJul 15, 20188 Pages
Comparing Themes in Cat’s Cradle and Slaughterhouse Five Throughout his career, Kurt Vonnegut has used writing as a tool to convey penetrating messages and ominous warnings about our society. He skillfully combines vivid imagery with a distinctly satirical and anecdotal style to explore complex issues such as religion and war. Two of his most well known, and most gripping, novels that embody this subtle talent are Cat's Cradle and Slaughterhouse-Five. Both books represent Vonnegut’s genius for manipulating fiction to reveal glaring, disturbing and occasionally redemptive truths about human nature. On the surface, Cat’s Cradle and Slaughterhouse-Five are dramatically different novels, each with its own characters, symbols,…show more content…
However, Vonnegut asserts that although God may not exist, free will may not exist either. In Slaughterhouse-Five, he summarizes his opinions with the comment; "among the things Billy Pilgrim could not change were the past, the present, and the future (SF 60)." According to the Tralfamadorians, time is constant, and not dynamic. To them, "all moments, past, present, and future, always have existed, always will exist„.they can see how permanent all the moments are (SF 27)." Because of this, the decisions we make are not due to free will; instead, they occur because "everybody has to do exactly what he does (SF 198)." In Cat’s Cradle, Jonah, the main character, does not travel through time as Billy Pilgrim does, yet he is able to come to the same realization that time is more like a static stretch of mountains than a flowing river. However, unlike Billy, Jonah must discover this without the help of the Tralfamadorians. When Jonah experiences "a Bokononist vision of the unity in every second of all time and all wandering mankind (CC 67)," he is finally able to understand how all of time is connected. Billy and Jonah both have unique insights into the nature of time, consequently, they have resigned themselves to fate; neither of them cares about death or life because they know that they are helpless to change the future. Whenever Jonah recounts a story,

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