A discussion board post for English 105, Introduction to Narrative, a freshman literature course taught by Gerry Canavan, written on 19 July 2006 at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Dr. Felix Hoenikker in Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle: Good or Evil?
by Matt Wallace
I don't see Dr. Hoenikker as being maliciously evil, rather benignly evil. Having a childlike wonder about the world is essential for a scientist, but scientists are also adults and must exercise responsibility. Felix seems incapable of acting like a responsible adult. He seems to be nothing but the dawdling child of his Nobel speech. He is basically a child trying to figure out how the world works. As a child, he is easily distracted and can have his interest focused by the suggestion, or guidance, of those responsible for him. As such, I can't hold him culpable for the consequences of his discoveries. The culpability lies with those who manipulate him to make specific discoveries, such as the A-bomb and ice-nine, then use the results for their own devices.