1)Does Vonnegut's fictional account reinforce or alter your current understanding of Darwin's evolution theory? Are there any surprises here? Is there anything about evolution theory that perhaps had not occurred to you?
Vonnegut's Galapagos reinforced by current understanding of Darwin's evolution theory through a fun narrative I could understand. As I read this Darwinian tale of survival, I watched humans just like you and me devolve from "big brained" organisms to small brained swimmers who were able to survive. He made fantastic Darwinian points, such as, "Take it from somebody who has been alive for a million years: When it comes down to it, food is practically the whole story every time" (Vonnegut 193). I was a bit surprised that he began with humans, who had bigger brains, technology, and tools. I was also surprised that the process of evolution led to fewer emotions. This made perfect sense as a part of the evolutionary process, however, it had no occurred to me. 2)What, in your opinion, is the message of the book? Is there a serious message or is Vonnegut just poking fun, even when he has his narrator rant on about what was wrong with humans a million years ago?
I believe there was a serious message to Galapagos. I think Vonnegut was pointing out that we are indeed "big brained" in a way that will destroy any chance of our survival. As violent, dishonest human beings, we are constantly attempting to acquire more while giving more responsibility to technology. We are losing touch with nature. I think he was also stating that small actions have big consequences, as we see numerous times (i.e. the Captain). He seemed to be poking fun with his biting satire, but in a way that clearly asked the reader, "What in the world are we doing to ourselves?" I sensed that he was cynical about human "achievement," particularly that of twentieth century Western Civilization.