16. “Cat’s Cradle”, Kurt Vonnegut

I often feel that I do not really “get” Vonnegut, but I always enjoy him and he usually gives me something interesting to think about.

This book gives us one of my favourite Vonnegut quotes:

“Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before. […] He is full of murderous resentment of people who are ignorant without having come by their ignorance the hard way.” (281)

He also develops in this book the theme of “Slaughter House Five”, which is that all people killed in war are children and there is a terrible dishonesty in pretending otherwise. It’s too long to quote it all, but here’s a nice bit:

“My soul insists that I mourn not a man but a child.
“I do not say that children at war do not die men, if they haveto die. To their everlasting honor and our everlasting shame, they do die like men, thus making possible the manly jubilation of patriotic holidays.
“But they are murdered children all the same.” (254)

Page count: 287
Total: 12,038
Next on the stack: Kitchen Confidential, Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans: The Best of McSweeney’s Humor Category, and Peter Pan

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