pay me my money trick!!

The Danger of Technological Advancement

            Kurt Vonnegut tries to show that mankind’s need to control life, death, and nature will lead to mankind’s own destruction. This theme is shown by the creation of weapons like the atomic bomb and the ways of Felix Hoenikker. I agree with this theme, it is very important to the book, and does show a realistic view of science. The humanity in science is decreasing experiment by experiment, and it appears that a scientist urge to explore and discover break throws in science override their compassion for others. I also agree with him that it isn’t directly scientist fault for the turn in science from getter society to making tools to destroy life, but it’s the officials and government leaders who order/force scientist to make weapons.

 Individual Destiny and Control

            The ability of a person to control their own fate and the control of destiny over the human life are shown in Cat’s Cradle.  You cannot be certain whether the events of the book are cosmic fate or random line of events. However John’s ability for always being in the right place at the right time does lead the reader to think that it his destiny that’s pulling him through life. I personally don’t believe predetermined destiny but that you craft your own life. By choosing certain paths, you shut certain doors in life but news open at the same time, and that is a reoccurring cycle in life. So how could you only have one path in life or destiny, when events of life are so random and change with every decision/action you make?

 Desire and Happiness

Kurt Vonnegut displays the theme that what you desire is might not be what’s best for you.  All 3 Hoenikker children try to mask a flaw in their own life by pursuing what they thought they were missing. One of the best examples shown being Angela’s desired a man, and was so blinded by that desire, she didn’t realize that Harrison Conners only wanted her for her ice-nine. I agree with Kurt Vonnegut that what you desire is not always what is best and sometimes doesn’t lead to happiness. Sometimes you have go after the things you, but not for heartless reasons. John in Cat’s Cradle wants Mona so bad that he is willing to completely change himself to be with her, when she didn’t even truly want him, but was following her “destiny” to be married to the next president. This will not result in happiness, because the desire he wants is not shared between the two. You can’t force some one to have the same desire as you, and trying to will only result in pain.  


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tuesday son!!!

Chris Torrence

Literature of the Strange and Mysterious

Ms. Stillwell


Felix Hoenikker good guy or villain?

            Felix Hoenikker was a brilliant scientist in the book “Cat’s Cradle”. Felix enjoyed science and researching whatever item/event he found interesting. However he isn’t seen as innocent by others because he helped to create the deadliest weapon in history. Felix was one of the fathers of the atom bomb; a weapon used to kill millions during World War ll. Felix Hoenikker should still be considered an innocent man though, despite his involvement in the atomic bomb.

People called the atomic bomb evil and judge the people who made it as equally bad, because of the destruction it caused. The atomic bombed completely destroyed Hiroshima and killed/injured many. The world watched in fear of how far and how evil science had come. This led to people to blame Felix Hoenikker and the rest of the scientist of the atomic bomb for making science evil.

Felix Hoenikker had no evidence of being violence or evil behavior in “Cat’s Cradle”. He was just an “uncontrollable force of nature” as described by his boss Mr. Breed. Felix was just another scientist trying to push the boundaries of science and believed anything was possible. Normally using his talents for his own side experiments like his research of turtles, but when he was called upon to help his country win a war, he didn’t turn it down. War forced an innocent scientist to make something a destructive weapon.

Countries know when they declare war that there will be causalities; there will never be such a thing as a “death free war”. So the fact that the causalities from the atom bomb were high is irrelevant, no matter if the bomb had been dropped or not there would have been causalities. The atomic bomb served its purpose, to end World War ll before things escaladed. Felix can’t be called evil because he did his job, nations shouldn’t go to war if there not prepared to face the consequences. That alone makes Felix Hoenikker innocent; it’s the whole world’s fault that science is being used to make weapons. People agree with war when they aren’t directly involved in it and don’t have to make the moral decisions to end others lives. Felix made the decision to help create the atomic bomb, and he alone will deal with results his own way, but no one could ever call him evil for following the number one rule of war-” Kill your enemy before they kill you”.

Although Felix isn’t directly evil or violent, there is a level of responsible that a scientist must take when they use science to create a weapon. Scientists have to make moral limits for themselves and where they draw the line in science between research and inhuman practice. This makes it easy for science could be an inhuman and amoral pursuit, but that isn’t the way it should be. Science was supposed to better society, not destroy it. Felix Hoenikker wasn’t set out to make a bomb; he actually stopped in the creation of the atomic bomb to research turtles and anything else he truly had interest in. That’s how science should be a fun, interesting and helpful to society.

In conclusion, Felix Hoenikker is innocent; the way in which the world is deciding to use science is not. The only way make science purely beneficial to society is for it to be distant from evil things like war, so those like Felix Hoenikker are not falsely labeled as evil/bad.

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yeah i say it

1. You are one of the Hoenikker children. Your father’s invention has been used in war. Millions have died. How do you feel?

I wouldn’t really care, since it was used for war. People know that there will be causalities in war and if you’re not prepared to face that fact then don’t go to war. I would support my dad, he was assigned to create a weapon to stop a war, and he did his job.

2. Bokonon built his religion on lies. Is there every a right time to lie? Is there ever a wrong time to tell the truth?

To me lying is a necessary to life. Good uses are when you lie to spare the feelings of a friend, or keep a secret. The wrong time to tell the truth is when you only hurt someone by telling the truth, or betray someone.

3. Lionel Boyd Johnson starts his own religion. If you were to start your own religion with yourself as a god, what would your religion be like?

I wouldn’t present myself as a superior entity or state that I know everything. It would be a religion founded on living the best, happiest life possible. Also I like that Bokonon is up front with it’s followers stating that it is found on lies, I would also do this, but not exactly lies as much as it is founded on personal opinion and wisdom I have acquired.

4. John returns to find his apartment trashed by Sherman Krebbs. Krebbs is an acquaintance John allowed to use the apartment in his absence. How would you feel if you came home and found your home trashed by someone you knew and trusted? What would you do?

I would be incredibly angry, to let some use your home in your absence and then they wreck it. I would instantly lose all respect for that person and be set to correct the situation. I’d hunt them down and stomp them, then drag them back to my house and make them clean up the mess. Afterwards I would throw them out, and make it very clear that if they ever did something like that again, the punishment will be much worse.

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Why does the author have Dana go back and forth in time as opposed to just being thrust back to the plantation for the duration of the book?

            The book would lose its connections between present and past discrimination. There would be no way to compare the two, which is a theme of the novel. Also the book would not be about a woman experiences with time traveling, but become about a woman’s experience in slavery. This would basically change the book from a paranormal book to a historical fiction.

Why is Kindred written in Dana’s voice (first person)?

            It is a narrative experience being told, and by it being told in first person makes the experience more real to the reader. You get more of an emotional appeal by it being told by another person/human. The reader may lose this emotional appeal if the story was told by some unknown narrator, distant from the events in the book. Most importantly this book is based on the experience of Dana, so who could better portray the emotions and events of the story.

How do the characters in Kindred assume the roles assigned them? How do they resist?

            Most of the slaves actually do consider themselves property to be bought. Even at a young are unknowing preparing themselves for the future in slavery. The slaves do not actually say what is happening to them is wrong, they say they don’t like, or that they want to get out of slavery, but do not every acknowledge the fact that slavery is inhumane. This is due to the fact that from birth they were being told that they were property to be owned, sold, and used however their white owner wanted. The children grow up playing “sales man” and other games that represent slavery. They think their just playing a game, but they are actually mentally preparing themselves to become slaves, obedient slaves.

What role does Rufus’s mother have in the formation of his character, and is Rufus strongly influenced by her?

            Rufus only retained one trait from his mother: obsessing over the people he loves. Rufus’s mom didn’t care what Rufus said to her, or how he treated her. She still loved him, and obsessed about him, and she wanted to be the person Rufus loved the most. If she feared that he liked someone more she would try to remove that person, as she tried with Dana. Rufus portrays these qualities in his pursuit of Alice. He was her so bad and doesn’t care if she doesn’t like him. It gets to the point were he plots to remove Alice’s husband from the picture, so that he can have Alice all to himself. Rufus forcibly tries to stay the most important thing in Alice’s life, just like his mother did with him.

Elements of power being wielded over others are evident throughout Kindred, even among the slaves. What are some examples?

            The slaves are given some one to oversee them and make sure they do their jobs. That person usually tends to be a slave, and in “Kindred”, Sarah and Luke have these positions. Both were not any nicer than Mr.Weylin when it came to keeping order, and both even threaten to whip slaves if they don’t work. They are trying to be evil, which seems to be what other slaves think, but they were just trying to survive. They had received a role that would give them more protection, and were not going to risk losing it or being punished for others slaves, so they showed no favoritism towards slaves.

What is the difference between a house slave and a field slave? How does Dana understand and react to the distinctions? Are there any contemporary parallels?

            Field slaves seem to be less afraid of punishment than house slaves and physically stronger. Field slaves are also likely to rebel and run away. While house slaves tend to be more loyal and educated than field slaves. Dana learns the skills that the house slaves have to offer. She is then toughened up mentally by watching how the field slaves work, and how they absorb punishment, and given advice on how to whites. House slaves are the brains and field slaves are the muscle, but they both use their roles to their advantage to survive slavery.

How would the story be different if Kevin were black?

            Well for starters, when they went back to the past together for the first time, they probably would have been enslaved. Since the only thing that kept Dana from being owned by Mr.Weylin was the fact that she was owned my Kevin. Also they would not be able to travel as freely as they wanted. If Kevin wanted to he could have escaped to the north with Dana at anytime, he was a just a white man traveling with his slave. However if they were both black, and lacking a permission slip from there owners, they would have been considered runaways. All together Kevin’s being black would bring amount many problems, being white in 1815 in the south, was as powerful as being a king.

In Kindred, how do the psychological affects of slavery and slave ownership on men differ from the affects on women? Do these injuries have any contemporary parallels?

            On men it seemed more discriminative because constitution says that all men are created equal. No one thought that women were equal to men, so the fact that women were treated as property or below men was right to them. A parallel is that slaves are fighting for equally against white people but inside that women in general are fighting for equally against men.

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Responce to prompt

  • How is Dana both more and less equipped than Alice and her mother to survive in the past?

Dana is more equipped to deal with being in slaver than Alice and her mother because she is smarter than they are. She can use her brains in order to find a way out of things; she knows when to be smart and when to play an ignorant slave. Also she has read about slavery and knows what to expect in certain situations and uses this to her advantage to react to certain events and people like a normal salve. Even though Dana has more book smarts than Alice and her mother, Alice and her mother have actually experienced slavery, which is something that books cannot completely prepare you for. Alice and her mother are survivors, they are able to take beats and fight back when necessary. Dana barely had the will to fight back against a patroller who was going to rape her. She even states that her weak stomach and indecisiveness are things that belong in her time, and they will get her killed if she stays like that in Alice’s time. Dana cannot be read how to deal with watching another human being whipped rite in front of her, but Alice and her mother have seen that and more, making them much better at dealing with it. Altogether each side plays on their strong points, Dana using her brains and Alice and her mother uses there experience and toughness to survive in the past.

  • When Dana returns home the second time, what precautions are taken in case she time travels again?  What additional precautions might you have taken?

After her second trip to the past Dana gets a chance to get some well needed rest, while preparing a canvas bag filled with items she believes will help her survive on her future trips. She grabs a change of clothes, and toiletry’s, so that if she has an extended stay in the past she can stay relatively clean. Her second trip prepared Dana to fight for survival, and she will not be as reluctant to defend herself at all costs. So Kevin gives her a switch blade for protection, and Dana practices with Kevin on how she plans to use it. Kevin also studies with Dana on learning about the south, and the ways of people during slavery. The final addition to her canvas bag was a map, which would be used to guide her through the south, making her well equipped to use her surroundings to her advantage.

If I was In Dana’s position, I would bring a little more equipment, in addition to what she had already packed in her canvas bag. For starters, I would bring some food, probably fruit, so that in the event I couldn’t find a place to eat, I could feed myself. I also would wear clothes that I could move freely in and more suited to fit in with other slaves, unlike Dana who continues to dress differently from other slaves, knowing that she will stand out. By wearing something more casual for a slave/ free African American to wear, I could avoid some unnecessary tension. As far as my protection goes, I agree with Dana that a simple switch blade would be best. I could not possibly hope to out gun everyone in the south, but a switch blade utilizes the element of surprise. I would also bring was a watch, besides just being able to keep time; I would also track how long I stayed in the past on my next trip, then compare in to howl long I was gone in the real world. Finding out the difference in how time pasts between the two time periods could really help. The final item I would bring would be a compass. Since Dana doesn’t have any maps with a detailed showing of Maryland in 1815, a compass might would even better for me, as I tried to find my way around, and eventually to the north.

  • In what ways does time travelling lead Dana to experiences the likes of which she has never had and act in ways that she would never believe herself capable of?


Dana is gaining a toughness that no one from her time could ever obtain. Just the experience of time traveling alone seems to be pushing Dana to her mental limits. She is being forced to not only accept that random teleportation is possible but that time travel is possible, and she can’t even explain it. Also without evidence she cannot tell people about what is happening to her, nor can she stop it. She has to show a mental composure strong enough to deal with the previously stated problems, and the physical challenges of surviving slavery.

Dana’s life is in danger every time she is called to the past in order to save Rufus. First by the fact that whatever problem Rufus is facing becomes her own, but also that even the smallest mistake could end up getting her killed. Dana even admits that at first she was not ready to deal with the brutality of 1815. She had seen it violence on T.V but had never been put right in the middle of it. Although after a near death experience n her second trip, she is becoming more ready and willing to defend herself. Dana is completely aware that she is going to have to let go of fear, because she is not just fighting her survival but the survival of her whole family, past and present.

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Kindred Response

The most interesting thing about Kindred by Octavia E. Butler, is the reason behind why Dana traveling through time. So far in the first 33 pages there is no definite reason for why this is happening to Dana. Although Rufus appears to be the focus point around Dana’s traveling through time. Dana cannot freely control her coming and going into the past and does not know when she will return home, which is one of the most suspenseful topics in the story.

The story is also being told from end to beginning, which by itself causes suspense, because I know the ending and the result of her time traveling; now I must read why her journey through time resulted in the lost of her arm. As far as her time traveling goes, I’ve come to the conclusion that the family history between the two is more serious then Dana knows and is the reason behind everything. Now I’m looking forward to reading how her second visit in the past unfolds, and how will her return be this time. Also I’m keeping in mind the fact some point along Dana’s adventure she loses one of her arms, and it must be related to her traveling in time, might even be caused in her second journey to Rufus.

Dana says “‘I don’t have a name for the thing that happened to me, but I don’t feel safe any more.’ ” (Dana, Pg. 17) Even though Dana it home safely from her first trip, she is still uneasy about what happened. Her mental stability is being tested because she isn’t sure if what she is experienced was a dream or reality, so she cannot truly put a name to it. It is also clear that she is afraid of what is happening to her, after all she has seemingly had a normal life until this point, and this is the first time she has ever traveled through time. So it is understandable that she is terrified that she went from moving into her new house, to saving the life of a boy, who lived more than 100 years before present date.

If I was Dana I also would be scared out of my mind, not being able to control what happens to me, and having to accept the fact that I could go to sleep in 2010 and wake up in 100 years in the past. Random time traveling is bad enough, but being African American and getting sent back to slavery is the worst possible situation I could ever imagine.

Dana is subject to a lot of danger in this story, from time traveling to Rufus’s father who seems to be the reincarnation of the devil. Dana isn’t the only one in danger however; Rufus and her husband and her whole family are in danger. If Dana can’t keep Rufus out of trouble he may end up dead, causing Dana’s family to never exist in the future. Dana’s husband is being accused of hurting her, and could be arrested it Dana doesn’t completely convince the police that he is innocent. This will be difficult because Dana can’t tell the truth to the police either, or she will be sent to a mental hospital. Well guess I’m going to have to read the rest of the book to see how this crazy story unfolds.

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My favorite genre’s of literature and movies

I perfer to read fantasy books and watch sci-fi movies. my favorite fantasy book was “Red Moon”. My favorite sci-fi movie was Avatar. I like sci-fi movies because they usually involve technology of the future which is really cool. I read fantasy books just because they show a world so much more creative and free than our own.

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