Narrated by the immortal ghost of Leon Trout, Kurt Vonnegut’s novel, Galápagos is one that reimagines the process of human evolution and questions the necessity for adaption. Within the narrative, there is a prevalent theme of mankind’s hand in their own demise. Galápagos is a dichotomy, separated between humanity’s honoured accomplishments and its ability and thirst for chaos. The vile treatment of the Kanka-bono female body is an emblem of Vonnegut’s belief that the human urge to put thoughts into action disregards a moral and ethical code. Vonnegut condemns and ridicules the human’s large brain for the impending doom of humanity. There is a mortal impulse and relentless desire to fulfill curiosity, despite who or what may suffer the brunt as a result. The incessant urge to bring thoughts and ideas to fruition is articulated as, “the most diabolical aspect of those old-time big brains” (Vonnegut 291). Orphans from the Ecuadorian rainforest, the Kanka-bono girls are an outlet for Vonnegut’s characters to project their internal desires upon. This begins when the only Kanka-bono speaker in Guayaquil, Domingo Quezeda takes the vulnerable girls from the orphanage. Manipulating them into fulfilling his shameful and selfish yearnings, he teaches them the trades of prostitution and how to steal. The human mind is again ridiculed following Mary Hepburn’s active decision to coerce the Kanka-bono women into pregnancy. Trout details the explicit event and expresses: “Mary Hepburn, as though hypnotized, dips her right index finger into herself and then into the eighteen-year old Kanka-bono woman, making her pregnant” (Vonnegut 292). It was Mary’s doubts as to whether her insemination without the aid of technical support would be successful that led her actions. The narrator condemns Mary’s treatment of the bodies belonging to the Kanka-bono teenagers, articulating her behaviour as: “rash, inexplicable, irresponsible, plain crazy” (Vonnegut 293). Placing sperm in virgin wombs, It is Mary Hepburn’s questionable actions that re-birth humanity and ensure the continuation of the human race. It is she who makes Adolf von Kleist, “the ancestor of every human being on the face of the earth” (Vonnegut 50). Vonnegut does not quite portray survival and evolutionary change as occurring by adaption or natural selection. It is through chance, experimentation, and the human thirst to quench curiosity that results in the once almost extinct Kanka-bono tribe making up the bloodline of all human beings.


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