Cat's Cradle and Ice-Nine

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Abraham Lincoln once said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” (source) In other words, a person can withstand challenges, but he only shows his true self when he is face to face with power. In Kurt Vonnegut’s novel, Cat’s Cradle, Frank, Angela and Newt get the opportunity to possess their father’s invention, ice-nine. Unfortunately they lose their control of it shortly after gaining it. They have made ice-nine into an open secret, available to all. Power is an illusion because people want to have power, and they sacrifice themselves to get to the top. But in the end their wishes remain as dreams, and in the meantime reality has taken a different turn. Kurt Vonnegut’s writing career had a rocky beginning, when he started as a freelance writer in the 1950’s. At the beginning, his works were ignored by the general public. (why?) But the 1963 publication of Cat’s Cradle changed that. Vonnegut wrote Cat’s Cradle in a “first person impressionistic segmented style” (source) that would later benefit him in writing Slaughterhouse Five, Vonnegut’s next best-seller. Cat’s Cradle started off with an account of Felix, one of the fathers of the atomic bomb, and the action continued on an imaginary island in the Caribbean. Cat’s Cradle is an “off-beat science versus religion story.” It was written in a first person, impressionistic segmented style that would later benefit Vonnegut while writing Slaughterhouse Five. British novelist Graham Greene later called Cat’s Cradle “one of the three best novels of the year by one of the most able living writers.” (source A) Kurt Vonnegut writes all of his novels with a fusion of science fiction, black humor and fantasy. He does this because pure sci-fi is “serious to the point of boredom.” (source B2) Vonnegut uses satire as a means of conveying a serious message through humor. (source B1) While it is believed that Cat’s Cradle was the turning point of Kurt Vonnegut’s writing...
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