A.P. English Lit. and Comp.
September 1st, 2014
Cat’s Cradle #1
In Cat’s Cradle, each of the chapters in the novel has a title which serves as a preview of what will be going on in the chapter while adding humor to the novel.
One significant chapter title is “Fata Morgana.” Jonah explains that it is a mirage named after Morgan le Fay, a fairy who lived at the bottom of a lake. Many of the characters seem to have made mirages of their own lives, not accepting reality. This is why Bokononism is an important subject in the novel. This religion offers an illusion of meaning and purpose for human existence, which is the reason most of the characters accept it, even though it is completely based on lies.
The novel has all kinds of symbolism, which explains the title of the book. We can see how the title Cat’s Cradle relates to the story when Newt Hoenniker, Dr. Felix Hoenniker’s son, writes a letter to the narrator, Jonah. Newt mentions how the day the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, he was only six years old, but remembers seeing his dad playing with a string and ending up making a figure called a “cat’s cradle”. He explains that his father tried to play with him, which was something he had never done, and ended up terrifying little Newt. Later in the novel, the phrase “cat’s cradle” seems to gain a special meaning for Newt in his adult life. He uses it as a metaphor to explain how sometimes people hide from what’s really happening by pretending or lying just to