Vonnegut, Darwin, and the Tragical Satirical Arc of Human History in the Novel Galapagos
Koers 85(1) 2020 Cover Art


Greg Garrard
Arne Naess
Rachel Carson


In 1985 Kurt Vonnegut produced a satirical novel entitled Galapagos, in which the author explored a possible earth set one million years in the future. Human beings “have quietly evolved into sleek, furry creatures with flippers, and small brains.”[1]


Vonnegut posits a world in which human logic, derived from the functioning of three-kilogramme brains, has resulted in the downfall of the species, prior to the evolution of the seal-like creatures. This article explores the novel from an ecocritical perspective, including references to the work of Greg Garrard, Rachel Carson and Arne Naess. Charles Darwin’s work is also considered, because the novel’s title and setting allude to his work on evolution.

This article will argue that Vonnegut believes human beings should change their thought and behaviour patterns if we are to have an optimistic future.


[1] This quote is from the blurb on the back cover of the Flamingo edition, 1994.


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Copyright (c) 2020 David Robinson