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Kurt Vonnegut's Portrayal Of Society In "Breakfast Of Champions"

2036 words - 8 pages

OutlineThesis: In Breakfast of Champions, Kurt Vonnegut portrays a prepackaged, robotic society, andan American culture plagued with despair, greed, and apathy.I. IntroductionII. Social problemsA. RacismB. Commercialism and materialismC. ViolenceD. Lack of cultureE. GreedIII. Destruction of AmericaA. PollutionB. Destruction for wealthIV. ConclusionVonnegut's portrayal of society in Breakfast of Champions'The country Vonnegut takes us through has been plasticized, prepackaged, andbrainwashed beyond redemption. The poor are sinking into oblivion and the rich are chokingon the fruits of their wealth.' This quote is a very adequate discription of the literary journeythrough the current scene of America. At one point or another, Vonnegut discusses nearlyevery social, political, or cultural problem afflicting America. Racism, violence, greed, andcommercialism are a few among the many problems prevalent in this country ('Briefly'146). Vonnegut's novel is an exhibit of the flaws of a robotic, self-destructive society (Allen107). In Breakfast of Champions, Kurt Vonnegut portrays a prefabricated, unfeeling societyand an American culture plagued with despair, greed, and apathy.The issue of society's flaws is a major concern of Breakfast of Champions. Suchproblems arise and are dealt with as failure to communicate, ecological destruction, acontempt for art, and the government's inattention to important problems (Merrill 157). Theexperiences and trials of Kilgore Trout, an unknown science fiction writer from New York,and Dwayne Hoover, a Pontiac dealer from Indiana, show the suffering and unintelligibilityof daily living (Giannone 107).Dwayne Hoover suffers greatly despite his apparent wealth and prosperity, beingburdened with the problems of himself and his family (Merrill 158). Hoover's mother killedherself by drinking Drano (130), and his son is a homosexual (131). Although Dwayne ownsa Pontiac Dealership, a fast food restaurant, a Holiday Inn, and a large part of the mostsuccessful corporation in all of Midland City, he is mentally disturbed and suffering frompsycological disillusion (84).Kilgore Trout, poor and humbled by a troublesome life, is a struggling science fictionwriter with only one fan (17). His books, mostly metaphorically representing Americansociety, are rarely published. The few published works of Trout's appear in unsavorymagazines and are changed and surrounded with pornographic pictures and suggestions (19).Sometimes he is not even given credit for writing his material. He encounters several of theproblems in today's society on a trip to Midland City's arts festival (48). Trout goes to thearts festival, not as a mentor of budding young writers, or a representation of thesuccuessful writing guild, but as a surveyor and an example of the writing community thathas failed miserably in the search for popularity and reverence.One of the most severe and common social problems in America is racism. Vonnegutcriticizes the glorification of...

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