Study Guide

Cat's Cradle Chapter 78

By Kurt Vonnegut

Chapter 78

Ring of Steel

  • Gather 'round again, Shmoopers. Julian is about to tell us the tale of how Bokonon became an outlaw on his own island.
  • A long, long time ago, Bokonon and McCabe took over the island, and the first thing they did was get rid of all the lawyers.
  • Wait, sorry, different story. It was actually the priests they gave the boot.
  • Then Bokonon invented his own religion. It would be a fake religion because "[t]ruth was the enemy of the people, because the truth was so terrible, so Bokonon made it his business to provide the people with better and better lies" (78.3).
  • But his religion needed some flavor. So, Bokonon suggested to McCabe that he make the religion illegal and punishable by the hook.
  • Then Bokonon whisked himself into hiding.
  • McCabe pretended to desperately seek the fugitive. But since everyone on the island was a Bokononist, and McCabe was in on the whole thing, they never caught him.