Cat's Cradle Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. Describe the narrative style of Cat's Cradle. Why do you think the author employs this style?

Cat's Cradle is related from a first-person, past tense, limited perspective. The narrative is told from the point of view of the protagonist, John. It never deviates from John's thoughts and perceptions. The personality, emotions and thoughts of other characters are revealed through actions and dialogue, but never directly. This narrative style allows for greater suspense, as the reader is only privy to information as John gains it.

2. What is the significance of the literary/religious allusion in the opening of Chapter 1?

The opening line of the novel, "Call me Jonah," alludes to both Moby Dick and the Bible. This sentence echoes Herman Melville's famous opening, "Call me Ishmael," in Moby Dick. The Biblical Jonah, like Ishmael, was a man swept up in disastrous circumstances utterly beyond his control, without any apparent reason. The same holds true for John in Cat's Cradle.

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