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Kurt Vonnegut's Satire

             As with many of his books, Kurt Vonnegut fills Cat's Cradle with satire of different sorts. He uses a satirical humor to share his opinions on science, religion, government and people using the stories of ice-nine, Bokononism, the island of San Lorenzo, and the characters of the novel.
             Vonnegut constructs a tale of a genius, yet completely detached scientist, Felix Hoenikker, who is the father of the atomic bomb. We learn about his strange habits, childlike attention span, and his incapability to grasp the concept of God and sin. What makes Dr. Hoenikker so comical is the extreme personality Vonnegut creates for him; he is depicted as the typical "absent-minded professor" who is easily distracted by other projects (i.e. he takes a hiatus from work on the bomb to study turtles) which he quickly forgets (i.e. all the other scientists must do is take the turtles and Hoenikker returns to the bomb) and who is so out of touch with personal life that it affects those closest to him (i.e. he leaves his car in traffic and his wife must be called to retrieve the car; his own son Newt is afraid of him). After a request from the government to devise a substance to harden the muck and mud that the soldiers typically had to crawl through, Felix creates ice-nine. Ice-nine, consequently, has the ability to freeze and kill anything living in a second and freezes all water it comes in contact with instantly; the great scientist himself dies of his own invention. In the end, the world is entirely frozen over after the waters of San Lorenzo are exposed to the ice-nine. This whole tale is a mockery of science and shows what can happen when it gets out of control. Vonnegut is also portraying scientists in a very out-of-touch, strictly intellectual manner; they show little regard for the consequences of their discoveries. At one point, Felix is approached with a question regarding what kind of sin the atom bomb must be and his response is, "What is sin?".

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