Study Guide

Cat's Cradle Chapter 116

By Kurt Vonnegut

Chapter 116

The Grand Ah-Whoom

  • John stands on the edge of his once parapet, looking into the ocean. The piece of ground beneath him teeters dangerously.
  • There's an odd moment where he imagines swan diving off the edge, but he is shaken from the daydream when he hears the cry of a bird that seems to be asking him what just happened. Make of that what you will.
  • Anyway, he runs off just as more castle falls to the cliff, creating a type of chute below them.
  • Now this is where it gets fun. Just below them is "Papa" Monzano's suite and objects come crashing out of there. First, it's Mona's xylophone, then a bedside table, and then, yep, a golden boat serving as "Papa's" bed.
  • "Papa's" body is thrown from the boat and lands in the ocean.
  • And T.S. Eliot, it seems, was wrong. The world ended in neither a bang nor a whimper, but in a "grand AH-WHOOM" (116.14).
  • The sea is frozen solid, the land is colored icy pearl, and the sky is filled with tornadoes. Welcome to the end of the world.