Study Guide

Cat's Cradle Chapter 79

By Kurt Vonnegut

Chapter 79

Why McCabe's Soul Grew Coarse

  • Despite their best efforts, McCabe and Bokonon never managed to make San Lorenzo a paradise.
  • On the plus side, the people hardly realized. They were too busy playing their part in McCabe and Bokonon's game of political dictator versus religious figurehead.
  • "'So life became a work of art,' [John marvels]" (79.5).
  • Yep, only one problem. The stress of playing a ruthless dictator and a benevolent saint took its physical and mental toll on McCabe and Bokonon respectively. They both went cuckoo crazy, if you'll pardon our scientific jargon.
  • Then, the hook's use became a very grim reality.
  • But McCabe never actually caught Bokonon. Some part of him stayed sane enough to know that without Bokonon he'd have no reason to exist.
  • And in case you're wondering, "Papa" Monzano understands how this game is played and has stuck to the rules. He only executes about one person every two years by hook. Got to keep up appearances and whatnot.
  • Julian then reveals himself to be a Bokononist. He tells John that he'll find out he's one someday too.