Breakfast of Champions

Satisfactory Essays
Breakfast of Champions

"Our awareness is all that is alive and maybe sacred in any of us. Everything else about us is dead machinery."(p.221)


Breakfast of Champions; or Goodbye Blue Monday is Kurt Vonnegut's seventh novel. He wrote it in 1972, as he himself says, for his fiftieth birthday. It is Vonnegut's own parody of himself and his works. "The various themes and mannerisms that have animated the earlier novels are seen here in a grotesque, cartoon version of themselves," (Todd). It is a confrontation of tragedy of America brought forth by Vonnegut's sensitivity to tragedy (Uphaus), where Vonnegut "seems to rub middle America's nose in the sheer ugliness of life." (Merill)

The story

Breakfast of Champions is a story of "two lonesome, skinny old men on a planet which was dying fast,"(p.???). One of these two men is Dwayne Hoover, a "fabulously well-to-do" Pontiac Dealer, and the other is Kilgore Trout, an "unknown" and unsuccessful science fiction writer. These two characters are destined to meet in Midland City and Kilgore Trout's book Now It Can Be Told is destined to turn Dwayne Hoover into "homicidal maniac".

How the novel is written

The novel attacks many things: slavery, racism, commercial greed, jingoism, ecology, capitalism, imperialism, overpopulation etc., all of these aimed precisely at modern American society. Vonnegut "brings a remarcable air of discovery to these themes, the pretense that no one has quite seen before the stark outlines of our hypocrisy," (Todd). Vonnegut is "impolite" in his writing about these matters. He was taught to this impoliteness when he was a kid (p.2) by Phoebe Hurty -- the person this novel is dedicated to.

The whole book is written in quite familiar style which was used in Vonnegut's previous novel Slaughterhouse Five. The style can be defined by one line from it: "If accident will" (Vonnegut 1969, p.2). Breakfast of Champions also has the vague image of absolute chaos. Vonnegut denounced books that "make people believe that life had leading characters, minor characters, significant details, that it has lessons to be learned, tests to be passed, and a beginning, a middle, and an end," (p.209). But chaos is not only a way in which Vonnegut writes, it is also what Vonnegut writes about.

As I approached my fiftieth birthday, I had become

more and more enraged and mystified by the idiot decisions

made by my countrymen. And then I had come suddenly to pity
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