2024 : 4 : 16
Mohammad Ghaffary

Mohammad Ghaffary

Academic rank: Assistant Professor
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4012-0093
Education: PhD.
ScopusId: 55573741900
Faculty: Literature and Languages
Address: Arak University


Working Magic and Shameless Lies: A Deleuzean Reading of Science and Religion in Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle
Deleuzeoguattarian thought, religion, science, ethics, becoming, deterritorialization, Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle
Researchers Sara Karimi(Student)، Mohammad Ghaffary(PrimaryAdvisor)


The conflict between religion and science is an old problem in Western culture that still dominates many of the intellectual discussions on the question of human happiness. These complex concepts can also be traced in many of the novels by the Postmodernist American author Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (1922-2007). In Cat’s Cradle (1963), his fourth novel, Vonnegut depicts the autodiegetic narrator John’s / Jonah’s life from the time he begins gathering data for a book and to a point six months after he survives the science-induced apocalypse as a practitioner of the fictional religion of Bokononism. Thus, the concepts of science and religion both lie at the heart of this postmodern narrative. This study opted for an ethico-philosophical framework based on the ideas of the French Poststructuralist thinkers Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari to offer a novel reading of the modus operandi of science and religion in Vonnegut’s text that would unravel and understand its characterological and thematic intricacies and demonstrate how science and religion affect the becoming-other of John / Jonah, the protagonist-narrator of the novel. Through this framework the virtual power of science and how it actualizes possibilities such as the ice-nine, and the religion of Bokononism as an embodiment of the judgement of God, ressentiment, bad conscience, and the ascetic ideal are analyzed. Furthermore, instances of becoming-other of John / Jonah as affected by these concepts are discussed. Consequently, this study drew attention to the concerns for the rapid pace of scientific advancement, how religion may affect the mentality of its believers, and the modern human’s condition in between these two concepts which are embedded in Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle and possibly other post-apocalyptic science-fictional narratives.