Breakfast of Champions: Life With Others

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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 on the brink of insanity at this time and is thinking that one of the artists at the festival will help him find the solution to his quest for fulfillment.

Vonnegut uses characters from diverse lifestyles to develop his discouraging views of humanity. Through comical writing, Vonnegut shows how love, relationships, ideas and even gossip can have strong effects on humans and society.

Sometimes people don't realize the effects of words on other people. In Breakfast of Champions, Dwayne Hoover comes to this realization the hard way. Already having a bad day, Hoover runs into one of his employees named Harry. Not too fond of the way Harry dresses, feeling he is too bland, Hoover addresses him. "Harry, why don't you get a bunch of cotton waste from Vern Garr, soak it in Blue Suncoe* and burn up your f-cking wardrobe?" (46). Later in the chapter, he ridicules Harry's appearance again. "I have some news for you: modern science has given us a whole lot of wonderful colors, with strange, exciting names like red!, orange!, green!, and pink!"(48)...

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...54). Hoover got up from the table to go on a eleven person beating rampage which included: his son Bunny, mistress Francine and Kilgore Trout. "It shook up Trout to realize that even he could bring evil into the world-- in the form of bad ideas" (15). Due to Hoover, Trout realized how powerful his words were, went on to win the Nobel Prize for medicine.

Trout and Hoover's derogatory comments and unthoughtful actions served to discourage and devastate people's lives around them. The satirical comedy which the novel is perceived by the reader makes it humorous, but as the story unfolds it becomes depressing. There is a sense of truth in Vonnegut's disturbing view of humanity. The road of life is set out for people to travel, being careful of ones actions will make it less bumpy.

Work Cited

Vonnegut , Kurt. Breakfast of Champions. Dell Publishing Co. 1973

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