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 clichĂ©, 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.

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