An Analysis on Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut

Breakfast Of Champions

The satirical novel Breakfast Of Champions by best-selling author Kurt Vonnegut, deals with trying to find one’s identity and what happens when someone does. Protagonist Dwayne Hoover was a Pontiac dealer on the brink of going insane. Antagonist Kilgore Troute was a science fiction writer who felt his life was over but he was mistaken. This tale revolves around the lives and meeting of these two men. Through the conflicts of person vs. person and person vs. self, Vonnegut cautions against anticipating a happy existence as a result of finding the answers in life, for it could make one a champion or give one “doodley-squat.”

In the person vs. person conflict, the main struggle was between Dwayne Hoover and just about everyone in Midland City. Some of Dwayne’s problems are with his son Bunny, competing automobile industries, and Francine, Dwayne’s secretary. Throughout this plot, Dwayne is described as an uncontrolled person who has trouble grasping the feelings of others, this is partly due to his “bad chemicals,” and because of the life he leads.

The person vs. self conflicts also deals mostly with Dwayne Hoover. The main conflict is between Dwayne and himself, and is caused by his “bad chemicals”

? “Listen: the bad chemicals in Dwayne’s head is a mental illness that many people suffer from. Dwayne’s body was manufacturing certain chemicals which unbalanced his mind” (p13).

The other conflict which Dwayne develops with himself happens after he reads Troute’s novel, this novel causes him to believe he is the only human with free will. With this belief and the “bad chemicals” Dwayne goes completely insane and starts a violent parade around Midland City. After this outrage Dwayne is degraded to “another withered balloon of an old man on Midland City’s Skid Row” (p280).

When people look for their identity they can either be let down or their feelings of a better life will be met. Vonnegut shows both aspects of these conclusions in Breakfast Of Champions. Dwayne Hoover shows the bad effects finding yourself in his negative reaction. While in contrast, Kilgore Troute show the good aspects of finding yourself. “He became one of the most beloved and respected human beings in history” (p7). Vonnegut uses a casual humorous way to present these ideas. He does this by putting in various pictures and small facts such as peoples measurements. He also puts himself in the novel as the “Creator Of The Universe” and watches as Dwayne looses his mind. This style keeps the reader interested while he/she still obtains the meaning of the book and the message that Vonnegut is trying to portray.

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