Breakfast of Champions Study Guide

Breakfast of Champions

Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut

Breakfast of Champions tells the story of Kilgore Trout, an unpopular science fiction writer who travels to Midland City to speak at a convention. Before the convention, a car salesman named Dwayne Hoover goes insane after reading Trout's book written from the perspective of the Creator of the Universe. Hoover goes on a killing rampage and the narrator of the novel frees Kilgore Trout. The book is written from the perspective of a zany omniscient narrator who satirizes modern society, culture and the human race.

Breakfast of Champions Book Summary

Kilgore Trout is a widely published, but otherwise unsung and virtually invisible writer who is invited to deliver a keynote address at a local arts festival in distant Midland City. Dwayne Hoover is a wealthy businessman who owns much of Midland City, but has become increasingly unstable mentally. The novel is achronological and frequently shifts focus between Hoover and Trout, as well as supporting characters like Hoover's son, Bunny, and Wayne Hoobler, and Kurt Vonnegut himself, who appears as the author of the book. "The novel's structure is a simple one, yet it employs simultaneously evolving plots from different times and spaces." Early on, Vonnegut as narrator/creator says he's going to purge himself of mental clutter, and, throughout the novel, can be found examining and refuting disparate concepts, from the 'discovery' of the new world in 1492 to euphemisms for genitalia.

When Kilgore finally arrives in Midland City he piques the interest of Dwayne. A confused Dwayne demands a message from Kilgore, who hands over a copy of his novel. Dwayne reads the novel, which purports to be a message from the Creator of the Universe explaining that the reader– in this case Dwayne – is the only individual in the universe with free will. Everyone else is a robot. Dwayne believes the novel to be factual and immediately goes on a violent rampage, severely beating his son, his lover, and nine other people before being taken into custody. While Kilgore iswalking the streets of Midland after Dwayne's rampage the narrator of the book approaches Kilgore. The narrator tells Kilgore of his existence, and lets Kilgore be free and under his own will. Kilgore begs to be made young again, and the novel ends with a full-page drawing of Vonnegut crying.

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