Study Guide

Cat's Cradle Chapter 73

By Kurt Vonnegut

Chapter 73

Black Death

  • John returns to his room to find Philip Castle stocking the TP.
  • Why doesn't Philip just work with his father? Gather 'round for a story, folks:
  • Once upon a time, about five years ago, a ship wrecked right off the coast of San Lorenzo. The only thing to wash ashore was rats and wicker furniture.
  • As Philip Castle puts it, "So some people got free furniture, and some people got bubonic plague" (73.19). Yeah, you know it's a bad day when wicker furniture seems like a win.
  • Anyway, Julian Castle tried his best to save the people of San Lorenzo, but Philip says the hospital looked like "Auschwitz or Buchenwald" with all the dead bodies (73.23).
  • They had to bury the bodies with a bulldozer, but still his father kept working.
  • The telephone rings. It's Frank Hoenikker. He needs John to come over to his house right away. True to cliché, he can't say anything over the phone, but it's super, super important. Then he hangs up.
  • Anyway, back to story time. One night his father was looking for someone to help in his hospital and could only find dead bodies. Then the senior Castle just starts laughing.
  • He says to his son, "'someday this will all be yours'" (73.44). The end.