Study Guide

Cat's Cradle Chapter 125

By Kurt Vonnegut

Chapter 125

The Tasmanians

  • John finds Newt painting a landscape, a very, very white landscape. The painter asks if John will drive him to Bolivar to look for some more paints. So, it's into the taxicab and off they go.
  • En route, John recalls a story he once read about aboriginal Tasmanians. When white settlers first came to Tasmania, they felt so contemptible toward the aboriginals that they hunted them for sport.
  • The aboriginals, in turn, found life so contemptible that they gave up reproducing.
  • He tells the story to Newt, who suggests that sex might have had more to do with keeping the human race than anyone originally thought.
  • Of course, they can't say for certain as no women of breeding age are around to test their theory.
  • Newt recounts his own story. He remembers a headmaster he once knew who always started his sentences with "'I am sick and tired….'" (125.10).
  • John says he feels pretty much the same way, and Newt wonders if that's how he's supposed to feel.
  • The comment strikes John as aptly Bokononist.
  • Newt claims he might as well be a Bokononist as it's the only religion he knows with a commentary on midgets.