Study Guide

Cat's Cradle Chapter 13

By Kurt Vonnegut

Chapter 13

The Jumping-Off Place

  • Man, Ilium sure is ugly. Of course, the nasty weather and equally nasty hangover don't help the matter.
  • John is being driven by Dr. Breed, who's "civilized, optimistic, capable, [and] serene" (13.4). John, having spent the night with Sandra, finds himself quite the contrast to the good doc.
  • Sandra did tell him one interesting thing last night: the whole town believes Dr. Breed was in love with Dr. Hoenikker's wife and may be the father of his three children.
  • Small-town scandals, gotta love 'em.
  • Breed gives John the history of Ilium, which used to be a jumping-off town for people heading out west.
  • It also served as the place for county hangings.
  • Once, a gentleman named George Minor Moakely sang a song on the scaffold. His crime was killing twenty-six people.
  • And his song was about not being sorry for it.

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