Effective Use Of Irony And Satire In Cat's Cradle

905 words - 4 pages

 Effective Use of Irony and Satire in Cat's Cradle  

Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut is a satire on the state of world affairs in the 1960's. Vonnegut made a commentary in this book on the tendency of humans to be warlike, belligerent, and shortsighted. The main character of the book, the narrator, is certainly not a protagonist, although the modern reader craves a hero in every story and the narrator in this one is the most likely candidate. Through the narrator's eyes, Vonnegut created a story of black humor ending in the destruction of the earth.

Vonnegut's writing style throughout the novel is very flip, light, and sarcastic. The narrator's observations and the events ...view middle of the document...

In the end the entire earth is destroyed, through a seemingly impossible series of coincidences and completely random events, which strangely enough, are all explained adequately by Bokononism. Throughout the story Vonnegut builds up his theme of the pointlessness of life with the aid of satire. One of the main ways this feeling of pointlessness is accomplished is through the use of irony.

An example of the irony in the story, is the government of San Lorenzo, a small island nation somewhere in the Caribbean. The people in San Lorenzo were utterly hopeless. They have always been this way. San Lorenzo has been throughout history, one of the most unsuccessful and useless place on earth. The people are dirt poor and do not have any motivation at all. The way that they are kept alive at all is by trickery by the government and the holy man Bokonon. The dictator of San Lorenzo and Bokonon were both friends who decided to govern San Lorenzo by themselves. Since the people were hopeless and without direction, Bokonon invented his religion and the the dictator outlawed it and made practicing any religion other than Christianity punishable by death. All the people on the island had become devout Bokononists, and the struggle between the government and the religion kept them entertained, and therefore alive. The hopeless, directionless people represent mankind as a whole and the government plot represents what Vonnegut sees as society's mindless, transparent diversion from reality that keeps everyone interested in life.

Another example of irony in Cat's...

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