Archive | NovelWorlds

Pulling on Strings in Cat’s Cradle

Kurt Vonnegut, author of Cat’s Cradle, is a writer that can often leave audiences perplexed, but by looking into some of his theories on storytelling, perhaps we can understand his stylistic choices. In the video displayed above, Vonnegut fleshes out a structuralist theory to well-known folklores and bedtime stories. Structuralist theories assert that there are universal patterns that […]

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Vonnegut as a Satirist

When reading Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle, I couldn’t help but think of Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels and A Modest Proposal for some reason. I realized the reason was the similar beginning plot from Gulliver’s–a traveler/journalist type guy tells about the history of his life and then begins a journey to a strange place(in Swift’s Travels it ends up […]

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Irving Langmuir: The Model for Felix Hoenikker

In an interview with The Nation in 1980, Vonnegut shared that the model for Dr. Felix Hoenikker in Cat’s Cradle was chemist and physicist Irving Langmuir, who worked with Vonnegut’s brother Bernard. Vonnegut interviewed Langmuir while working in the public relations department at General Electric, and was struck by Langmuir’s indifference “to the uses that might be […]

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Warheads, Ice-Nine, and Chemtrails! Oh My!

One look at my facebook profile and it’s not hard to tell I’m what you’d call a “conspiracy theorist.” Among my myriad, paranoid, and politically-themed posts, I entertain the possibility that the government is deliberately tampering with the weather to combat global warming.  The technology and the intention in the scientific community is quite real. […]

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And They All Saw Yellow

In Kurt Vonnegut’s 1963 novel Cat’s Cradle, the book’s narrator finds himself in a post-WWII America interviewing Dr. Asa Breed about the inventor of the very atomic bombs that killed thousands of civilians and brought an end to the deadliest war in history. During his interview, the narrator, named Jonah, and Dr. Breed discuss the […]

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James Baldwin, David, and Giovanni

Giovanni’s Room explores the themes of a character’s struggle of his homosexual feeling and his identity as an American. As the main character, David shares his thoughts and desires throughout the entire story. In the story, David has moved away from America to experience a new life in France. It is there that he meets […]

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Henry James Baldwin: How Henry James’s influence is apparent in Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room

Disclaimer: I’ve never read anything by Henry James.  I may have read something by him for a survey class but I honestly don’t remember.  Anyway, I found this really interesting article about James and Baldwin on LION called “(An)Other Modernism: James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room, and the Rhetoric of Flight” by Cyraina Johnson-Roullier. Henry James was […]

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As the novel begins, readers first encounter John, the narrator of Cat’s Cradle who decided to write a book about the bombing of Hiroshima. It was to be titled The Day the World Ended, and it was “to be an account of what important American had done on the day when the first atomic bomb […]

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Giovanni’s Room Bookstore

  I live in Philadelphia and my friend lives in an apartment near Washington Square West (in Center City) –this is Philly’s self-proclaimed gayborhood. In the gayborhood on the corner of 12th and Pine Street there is a gay and lesbian bookstore called Giovannis Room. I approached this idea for a blog post with the […]

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The Importance of Being Masculine

Within the first few pages of James Baldwin’s novel, Giovanni’s Room, the narrator has mentioned a fear of losing his masculinity as a result of his homosexuality. Throughout out the book, David continually emphasizes an interest in women to distract from his interest in men. Heteronormativity and masculinity issues tend to go hand in hand. As we see with David, he […]

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