Kurt Vonnegut's Portrayal of Society in "Breakfast of Champions"

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Thesis: In Breakfast of Champions, Kurt Vonnegut portrays a prepackaged, robotic society, and

an American culture plagued with despair, greed, and apathy.

I. Introduction

II. Social problems

A. Racism

B. Commercialism and materialism

C. Violence

D. Lack of culture

E. Greed

III. Destruction of America

A. Pollution

B. Destruction for wealth

IV. Conclusion

Vonnegut's portrayal of society in Breakfast of Champions

'The country Vonnegut takes us through has been plasticized, prepackaged, and

brainwashed beyond redemption. The poor are sinking into oblivion and the rich are choking

on the fruits of their wealth.' This quote is a very adequate discription of the literary journey

through the current scene of America. At one point or another, Vonnegut discusses nearly

every social, political, or cultural problem afflicting America. Racism, violence, greed, and

commercialism 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 (Allen

107). In Breakfast of Champions, Kurt Vonnegut portrays a prefabricated, unfeeling society

and an American culture plagued with despair, greed, and apathy.

The issue of society's flaws is a major concern of Breakfast of Champions. Such

problems arise and are dealt with as failure to communicate, ecological destruction, a

contempt for art, and the government's inattention to important problems (Merrill 157). The

experiences 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 unintelligibility

of daily living (Giannone 107).

Dwayne Hoover suffers greatly despite his apparent wealth and prosperity, being

burdened with the problems of himself and his family (Merrill 158). Hoover's mother killed

herself by drinking Drano (130), and his son is a homosexual (131). Although Dwayne owns

a Pontiac Dealership, a fast...