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Breakfast Of Champions: Life With Others

1288 words - 6 pages

Breakfast of Champions: Life With Others    

For anyone who has ever wondered what the meaning of life is, it is to be the eyes and ears of the Creator of the Universe, if one believes Kurt Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions (1973).

In Breakfast of Champions the protagonist, Kilgore Trout, is a lonely science fiction writer who lives in a hole in the dredges of New York City. His only work published was "to give bulk to books and magazines of salacious pictures" ( 21). Finally catching his break, Trout is invited to the Midland City Arts Festival, home of Dwayne Hoover. Hoover, who is a wealthy car salesman, owns a share of virtually everything in Midland City. However, Hoover is ...view middle of the document...

"Harry LeSabre, meanwhile, had been destroyed by Dwayne... Harry closed his eyes. He never wanted to open them again. His heart sent a message to his molecules: 'For reasons obvious to us all, this galaxy is dissolved'" (113). Uninformed about how hurtful his words were, Hoover went on oblivious to the destruction his words had inflicted on Harry's life.

Another example of Vonnegut's discouraging views is when the inherent fears of urban individuals are collectively focused on a fictitious entity in an incident involving Kilgore Trout. "He looked over his shoulder, perceived that they were being followed...The next thing that he knew, he was on his hands and knees on a handball court underneath the Queensboro Bridge...His money was gone. His parcels were scattered around him" (75). The police find him and transport him to the station for questioning. They ask about the culprits. Trouts response is, " 'For all I know the car may have been occupied by intelligent gas from Pluto...Trout said this so innocently, but his comment turned out to be the first epidemic of mind-poisoning" (76). When the reporters got a hold of the information they caused a city-wide panic . Everyone was in fear of this so called Pluto Gang, when in fact they were just a bad case of gossip. "So New Yorkers, who had so many nameless terrors, were easily taught to fear something seemingly specific-The Pluto Gang. They bought new locks for their doors...Foreign newspapers spread the terror, ran articles on how persons thinking of visiting New York might keep to a certain few streets" (76). Trout's flippant response turned into a national crisis and affected many people around the world.

Throughout Vonnegut's novel, Dwayne Hoover's direct actions effect many peoples lives. But his indirect actions affect people also. Love and relationships seemed to be a problem for Hoover in the novel. His first encounter with a bad relationship is in early childhood. Hoover was given up for adoption right after birth, which left him with a feeling of abandonment. Hoover later got married, entering himself in a new relationship only to be hurt again. "His wife Celia had committed eating Drano- a mixture of sodium hydroxide and aluminum flakes, which was meant to clear drains" (65). This was only the beginning of bad relationships involving Hoover. "His only child, a son, had grown up to be a notorious homosexual. His name was George but everyone called him "Bunny'" (65). Hoover despised his son feeling ashamed and regretful, proving another bad relationship. The last relationship that Hoover had in the novel was with Francine Pefko, his mistress. "she was willing to...

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