Study Guide

Cat's Cradle Chapter 19

By Kurt Vonnegut

Chapter 19

No More Mud

  • Question: do people ever ask them to work on particular problems? Dr. Breed says people askā€”admirals and generals want them to conduct specific research all the time. But the "pure-research man" never listens to such requests (19.2).
  • Like this one time, a Marine general asked Dr. Hoenikker to solve a problem for him.
  • The problem was mud.
  • Marines were just tired of traipsing through the mud all the time, and the general wanted Hoenikker to do something about it.
  • Hoenikker's idea was to make something the size of a grain that could make all types of wetland solid.
  • In an aside, Dr. Breed admires the way Hoenikker tackles even old problems in a playful and new ways.
  • And then he explains what Hoenikker had in mind.