Essay 3 – Vonnegut and Responsibility

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English 100 – Essay #3 Guidelines

Cat’s Cradle – Responsibility


  • 13 May – Prospectus due
  • 13 May – Annotated Bibliography due
  • 13 May – Essay 3 workshop
  • 20 May – Essay 3 due to Canvas by 11:59 PM

Argument is using reasoning in writing to prove a point. The argument essay is usually supported using valid sources such as scholarly journal articles (secondary and tertiary sources), and the primary text. The final essays for our class is on the idea of responsibility presented in the novel, Cat’s Cradle. Think about science’s responsibility to society, society’s responsibility to science, the role religion plays in both society and science. Think about how technological advancements help and hinder society. Who is responsible for applying scientific and technological advances in society? Why? How does religion give hope and despair to society? Especially, in light of the current pandemic, think about how science, society, and religion are needed and what their roles are – on a local and global scale. However, your prompt is to respond to the following questions:

What is Kurt Vonnegut saying about responsibility in Cat’s Cradle? What is the importance of the message Vonnegut conveys to the audience? Pick either society, science, or religion. Explain the role they provide to each other, and how the idea of responsibility affects one of the other areas.

For example, if one chooses science and compares that to society. Or, religion and science. Something along those lines. You are only picking two ideas.

This topic is a little broad, so it is up to you to narrow and focus your topic. Think about the positives and negatives of technological advancement. Is there a line scientists, religious leaders, and government officials should not cross? If so, what is it? If you get stuck, go back to your prewriting for ideas, talk to your peers, or come to me for support.

A successful essay will include the following:

  • A thesis statement including a claim, reasons, and counterargument
  • Specific supporting details – including five to ten in-text citations from five sources – including 2 scholarly journal articles
  • Writing in Standard Formal English
  • Using 3rd person point of view
  • Organized and structured
  • In MLA format
  • A works cited page with five sources
  • Following the essay guidelines

Have fun with this essay; use concrete and specific descriptions in your writing. Focus on your essay’s organization and incorporate new ideas/risks in your writing. Your essay is to be 7 – 9 pages (at least 2,000 words), Times New Roman, 12point font, one-inch margins, at least five in-text citations, a works cited page, and double spaced. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please email me. Good Luck!


  • Vonnegut – Cat’s Cradle
  • Emerson – “Nature”
  • Feynman – “Value of Science”
  • Koepsell – “On Genies and Bottles”
  • Ullrich – “The Function of ‘Oubliette’ in Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle

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