Galapagos

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Jillian Layne

12/13/12

Intro to Politics

Final Paper

Vonnegut’s Galapagos
Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Galapagos was written in 1985 and is written using addictive prose from an imaginative perspective. Like Vonnegut’s earlier work, Galapagos is characterized by exaggerated characters, imaginative scenarios, and striking insights into the human condition. And while Galapagos paints an often unflattering picture of the human species, there is great humor and affection for the characters nonetheless.

Galapagos takes place in the Ecuadorian city of Guayaquil in 1986 A.D, on the island of Santa Rosalia located in the Pacific Ocean. Through a random series of events – or twists of fate – a group of quirky characters find themselves fleeing war-torn Ecuador on the Bahia de Darwin, the name of the ship originally intended to take them on “the Nature Cruise of the Century” (Vonnegut, pg. 27). Their fate is to create a colony on Santa Rosalia that will continue the human race. Due to a plague of infertility that slowly wipes out Homo sapiens on the mainland, the fertile inhabitants of the Galapagos are burdened to be mankind’s last chance for procreation on the planet. This story illustrates their journey on the island and their destiny to become the final progenitors of a new race, which resembles furry seal-like species.

The story’s narrator, Leon Trotsky Trout, plays a dead spirit who has been watching over the humans of Galapagos for the last million years. Prior to his death, he was a Vietnam War veteran who had been affected by the massacres in Vietnam, which makes his role in the novel all the more fitting. His father Kilgore Trout, also deceased, makes four significant appearances throughout the novel, urging his son to enter the "blue tunnel" that leads to the afterlife. After Leon refuses for the fourth time, Kilgore pledges that he and the blue tunnel shall not return for one million years. Leon is therefore sentenced to observe the slow process of...
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