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Cat's Cradle

Cat's Cradle


by Kurt Vonnegut

John Timeline and Summary

  • John gets it in his head he needs to write a book on the atomic bomb.
  • He begins a letter correspondence with Newt Hoenikker and learns about Dr. Hoenikker, one of the fathers of the atomic bomb. Ha, letters, how last century.
  • Traveling to Ilium, John furthers his investigation into the Hoenikker family and learns about ice-nine.
  • While on assignment to San Lorenzo, John meets the Crosbys and Mintons. He also learns about the history of San Lorenzo, including the island's religion of Bokononism.
  • He also meets Newt and Angela Hoenikker face-to-face for the first time. What is this, Coincidence Airline?
  • At San Lorenzo, "Papa" Monzano falls ill, and John retires to the Casa Mona.
  • There, he's invited to stay at Frank Hoenikker's house. Frank has something important to tell him but can't make it home just then.
  • John spends the afternoon chitchatting it up with Newt, Angela, and Julian Castle.
  • The next day Frank gives John the big news: he wants John to be the next President of San Lorenzo.
  • As a bonus, the job comes with a guaranteed marriage to Mona Monzano, local island hottie.
  • Frank and John visit "Papa" Monzano to tell him about the switch in future leadership and for the man's last rites.
  • When "Papa" eats Frank's ice-nine, John gets the Hoenikker children to help him clean up the mess so no one ever finds out.
  • Unfortunately, a freak accident during an aerial show sends Monzano's corpse into the ocean.
  • John witnesses ice-nine make an instant Popsicle of the world.
  • He and Mona live in Monzano's oubliette for seven days.
  • When they emerge, Mona commits suicide, and John moves in with the Crosbys, Newt, and Frank.
  • While trying to decide how he should live in this post-apocalyptic world, John runs into Bokonon.
  • Bokonon suggests that someone should write a history of human stupidity. John does so, and it's the book you've just read.