Understanding Life's Meaning Through Life Lessons

Topics: Cat's Cradle, Bokononism, Kurt Vonnegut Pages: 3 (947 words) Published: December 13, 2009
Often people travel through life meeting others who help them understand the complex idea of life. This encounter between the people is random, surprising, and usually a result of their karass. A karass is a Bokonist term meaning a group of people who unknowingly play an important role in doing gods will. Mona, Newt, and Julian Castle are all part of John’s karass, and help him understand the many facets of life. Newt teaches John that life is an illusion, and is meaningless through his example of a cat’s cradle and unfortunate love life. Julian Castle teaches John pragmatism through his patient care and interpretation of life. Mona teaches John that love is necessary to be happy, and that complexity causes destruction. In Kurt Vonnegut's novel Cat's Cradle, Mona, Newt, and Julian Castle, all very different, play key roles in helping John understand complex situations in his daily life.

Newt Hoenikker embodies man and his view on the world in the novel. Man is only as big as his hopes and dreams; therefore, Newt is depicted as a midget. Newt’s small stature is seen as a disadvantage throughout the novel, and Newt often feels unimportant, thus his view of the world is skewed. After painting a picture of a cat’s cradle, Newt’s understanding of the world is shown through talking to John about the picture, stating “No damn cat, no damn cradle” (Vonnegut 166). Also, Newt, unlike his father Felix, is able to love others; hence Newt’s ability to show John another way in which life is an illusion. Newt marries Zinka, who tricks Newt into thinking that she is a 23 year old dancer when really she is a 42 year old Russian spy, and helps Russia obtain ice-nine. Newt’s marriage is really all an illusion with Zinka pretending to be something she is not, and Newt claims, “She broke my heart. I didn’t like that much. But that was the price. In this world, you get what you pay for” (Vonnegut 128). Newt explains to John that life is really what you make it to be, there are not...
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