Study Guide

Cat's Cradle Chapter 55

By Kurt Vonnegut

Chapter 55

Never Index Your Own Book

  • John flips back to Mona's index page and reads an insanely long reference guide on San Lorenzo's local Betty Boop.
  • He shows the index to the Mintons, and Claire Minton says she thinks it's self-indulgent for an author to index his own work.
  • Oh, yeah, Claire used to be a professional indexer, and apparently, that's a real job. Huh, the more you know, right?
  • But it gets better. Thanks to her trained eye, Claire can read Philip Castle's character by how he indexed the book.
  • She can tell the following about Philip: he loves Mona, has issues with his father, is insecure, and will never marry her.
  • John asks why not, but Claire says she won't say. Her final words of wisdom are "[n]ever index your own book" (55.23). Words John—or Vonnegut—must have lived by because Cat's Cradle doesn't even have an index. Oh wait, it's a novel.
  • Later, Mr. Minton catches John on the plane and tells him the reason Philip will never marry Mona is that he's a homosexual.
  • Claire is so good she can tell that from just the index.

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