Criticism In Schrödinger's Cat By Ursula K. Le Guin

1734 Words 7 Pages
Ursula K. Le Guin’s Schrödinger’s Cat is a science fiction short story from her short story collection, The Compass Rose (1982). Schrödinger’s Cat begins with a narrator who does not identify by gender or name explaining the world in which he/she lives. A nearby couple is overheard having a breakup, yet in this unexplainable world, they mean it literally as the woman turns into a heap of body parts, with the man reduced to pieces hopping around. The most agonizing aspect of this world is that it is getting unbearably hot. Everything is hot, stoves that are not on, doorknobs, cars, even a child’s hair. Soon later, a cat walks up and to the narrator’s surprise, the cat is chilly. The story then jumps to a knock at the door with a mailman who …show more content…
The reader finds that there is a consistency between busy, frantic sentences and descriptions of the world heating up. This is to compare the sentence’s grammatical nature with what the sentence is describing. As the reader reads the sentence, “Electric units or gas rings, there they'd be when you came into the kitchen for breakfast, all four of them glaring away, the air above them shaking like clear jelly with the heat waves.” or “Others investigated the phenomenon, tried to get at the root of it, the cause (Le Guin 2666).” The audience feels stress and hecticness as the ideas and phrases merge, the sentence order is unnatural due to the use of hyperbaton. This is again a juxtaposition between heat and confusion, but now this is being projected towards the audience. Likewise, the sentences which include descriptions about cold are more simple and rudimentary sentences which read easily and smoothly. One such example includes, “Here, as I said, it is cooler; and, as a matter of fact, this animal is cool. A real cool cat. No wonder it's pleasant to pet his fur. Also, he moves slowly, at least for the most part, which is all the slowness one can reasonably expect of a cat” (Le Guin 2667). This sentence reads with fluidity and without difficulty, leading the reader to enjoy the passages discussing cold like the characters in the …show more content…
Le Guin’s Schrödinger’s Cat illustrates the insignificance of human actions in the larger scope of the earth’s history through juxtaposing the second industrial revolution era with an increase in confusion and uncertainty. The first and second industrial revolutions (1760-1918) can be said to be humanity’s greatest accomplishments before the era of computers. Ursula K. Le Guin was born on October 21, 1929, right at the end of the second industrial revolution. She saw the rise of massive corporations and mass production and with this the rise of greed and human egotism. Humans had created trains, cars, steel, and electricity. This led many to believe humanity was greater than nature and the ultimate force on earth. As famously stated by Albert Einstein, “The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know”, and similarly said by Aristotle 2000 years earlier, “The more you know, the more you know you don’t know.” These are both to say, as humans further their intelligence, they are merely revealing more branches of knowledge which were not previously known. Thus, in Schrödinger’s Cat, as the earth heats up and speeds up, confusion and uncertainty follow suit; heat and speed are used as comparisons to the furtherance of human intelligence, suggesting that as humans further their wisdom, uncertainty and confusion are also

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