Study Guide

Cat's Cradle Chapter 114

By Kurt Vonnegut

Chapter 114

When I Felt the Bullet Enter My Heart

  • John descends the spiral staircase with the Hoenikkers and notices the soldiers now building the funeral pyre. He thinks about just how many secrets the day has made.
  • The group returns to the Hundred Martyrs to Democracy ceremony, and John suggests that Frank ask Ambassador Minton to give his speech.
  • Minton starts his speech in San Lorenzan dialect but soon switches over to more manageable English.
  • He then does a "very un-ambassadorial thing" and tells everyone how he really feels (114.9).
  • The speech that follows is one of the core moments of humanist philosophy in the novel (check out our "Themes" section for more). It must absolutely be read in its original form. No paraphrase can do it justice.
  • With that said, the gist of the speech is that we need to see war not as something that's tragic for a nation or a country but as something that's tragic for all of mankind.
  • Afterward, Minton throws a wreath with the words "PRO PATRIA" into the sea, and the fighter planes begin their assault on the caricatures of freedom's enemies.