An Analysis of Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions
Kilgore Trout is a struggling novelist that can only get his novels published in porn magazines. Dwayne Hoover is a fabulously well-to-do car salesman that is on the brink of insanity. They only meet once in their lives, but the entire novel, Breakfast of Champions (1973), is based on this one meeting. The meeting is brief, but that is all the author, Kurt Vonnegut, needs to express his message. In fact, it is quite crucial that the meeting starts and ends almost instantly. It is the meeting between sanity and insanity. Kilgore Trout is simply the novelist that Vonnegut was when he was younger. Dwayne Hoover is the older, insane man that Vonnegut has turned in to. The meeting between the two is the exact moment when Vonnegut has transformed. The bad chemicals now will run amuck through poor Dwayne's head.
Mr. Trout has spent his whole life writing crazy novels, mostly about other planets and the crazy things that happen on them. He lives alone in his house with only his parakeet, Bill, to keep him company. Most of what he talks to Bill about is how the world will be ending very soon. "Any time now," he would say, "And high time, too"(pg 18). This is a product of Dwayne's theory that the Earth's atmosphere would soon become "unbreathable" [sic] (pg 18) and kill off all living creatures. This idea was crazy, but Kilgore does many more things that would seem eccentric to any normal person.
The adventure of Kilgore Trout starts when he receives a letter from Midland City. One man, Mr. Rosewater, wants him to come to their fine arts festival as the guest of honor. Kilgore had no idea that he has even one fan. Enclosed is a check for one thousand dollars, which would aid him on his way. He hitchhikes all the way to Midland City to reach his date with destiny, Dwayne Hoover.
Dwayne Hoover sells used cars and has bad chemicals running through his head. The chemicals haunt him daily and change his life drastically. He is also one of the richest men in Midland City and is widely respected. That all changes once he encounters Kilgore Trout. Trout drives him incredibly insane with one novel. This novel is simply about whoever is reading it. The point of the novel is to try to convince the reader that they are the only person on Earth with free will. Everybody else is robots that are testing you so the creator of the universe can see how you will react. Dwayne Hoover takes this to heart.
Dwayne Hoover and Kilgore Trout are the same age. They both have pets that they adore. Early in both of their lives, their mothers committed suicide. Kilgore seems to know a heck of a lot about cars as he takes his journey to Midland City....