Galapagos


I. First Reactions
A. After I read Galapagos, I thought it was a good story. It was a little
different from other novels I have read in that the author, Kurt Vonnegut, had a
different style than most other authors. I liked how he made comments about humans'
?big brains? that always gave them foolish or reckless ideas that almost always had
negative results. The way he showed how a world changed because people no longer
thought that paper money was valuable provoked many thoughts about how something
like that could actually happen.
B. I saw myself a few times throughout the book. For example, I saw myself in
Mandarax; always a source of some information, none of which is of use to most people.
Mandarax would always have something to say under any circumstance, but usually
what it said had nothing to do with what was going on. Much like an internet search
engine, you give it a bit of information and in return you get a whole lot of nothing. I also
saw myself in Leon Trout. When the blue tunnel into the afterlife came for him, he didn't
want to go until he found out what happened to the people on the ship. Once I start
reading something and it gets to a situation where someone is in trouble; I don't like to
stop until I know they are safe.
From this story I learned a lesson. Don't always trust your big brain?! Though
it may tell the rest of your body to do the things that make you live and breathe, it will
sometimes tell you to something that might endanger or kill you. For instance, Mary
Hepburn's brain told her to put a plastic dress bag over her head to kill herself. I also
learned to not judge someone by first sight or based on little knowledge. When Mary
Hepburn first met James Wait, he was feeding some starving children. She immediately
thought that he was a good guy and she really liked him before she knew anything about
him. It turns out that Wait is a con man who has robbed and widowed many women.
Mary Hepburn would never know that, however.
After I read the book, I was somewhat inspired to make a friend. Someone like
Leon Trout, he has been around for a while and would probably have quite a bit to say.
He has had many experiences and would be able to help you out when your big brain got
you in trouble or hurt or what not. He would probably be an incredibly good history tutor
too.
I learned some things about the Galapagos Islands as well. The book spoke of
the mating rituals of blue footed boobies and how marine iguanas digest seaweed and
some other information about Charles Darwin and what he thought about the place.
II. Point of View
A. The point of view would have to be first-person, but the character that the
author inhabits is dead and can see into the minds of people. With this ability, the
author goes into the minds and hearts of anyone he wants. He does this a lot to give a
background of each of the characters. He goes into their past thoughts and actions
and gives a general idea of how each of the characters thinks and responds to different
situations. It helps to get a feel for the personality of everyone as well.
B. The point of view greatly influenced the perception of the story. If the author
couldn't get into the minds of each of the characters, the reader wouldn't be able to
know what the person was thinking, which played a good part in the story. Particularly
because the author made mention to how the great big brains of one million years ago
(1986 A.D.) gave people all of these thoughts and ideas that people ?today? can't do
with their smaller brains. The story might have been different told from another point of
view. Had it been told from the objective point of view, the author wouldn't have been
able to effectively get across the ideas of the great big brains that the characters had.
Nor would he have been able to give his own insights and ideas about the characters.
The point of view played a big role in being able to tell the story effectively.
III. Commentary on Plot and Structure
A. The title of the story, Galapagos, was referring to the