Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Galápagos is told in a satirical style typical of Vonnegut. The narrator, Leon Trout (son of Vonnegut’s recurring character Kilgore Trout) has been watching over humanity for the last one million years. In an ironic turn of events, as the world is plunged into apocalypse by disease and economic crisis, the ship Leon died helping to construct is the ship that helps ferry the last remaining humans to an island in the Galápagos, Santa Rosalia. Over the course of millions of years, the humans evolve into a new race of sea-lion-like creatures. In the end, because these creatures have developed smaller brains than the once “oversized human brains,” they are no longer destined to repeat past atrocities.
The quote by Anne Frank, “In spite of everything, I still believe people are really good at heart,” is agreed upon by Leon. After having witnessed the human race for so long and having seen so much carnage (himself being a Vietnam war veteran and witnessing the multiple deaths and murders within the story itself), Leon has hope that any lingering villainy within the human soul will be weeded out through the process of evolution. And it may result in humans being unable to produce something as stunning as Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, that is a small price to pay for the kindness they will now be able to find for one another.
This idea of kindness and human nature is a common theme among the works of Vonnegut, who saw the worst humans had to offer after witnessing the bombing of Dresden during World War II. Even so, Vonnegut expresses an enduring sympathy and patience with humans, even in their darkest moments.