Breakfast of Champions

From Academic Kids

Breakfast of Champions, or Goodbye Blue Monday is a 1973 novel by the American author Kurt Vonnegut. Set in the fictional town of Midland City, it is the story of "two lonesome, skinny, fairly old white men on a planet which was dying fast". One of these men, Dwayne Hoover, is an insane and aging Pontiac automobile dealer, who becomes obsessed with the literal accuracy of the writings of the other man, Kilgore Trout, a largely unknown pulp science fiction writer. This novel is a prime example of Kurt Vonnegut's overwhelmingly satirical style.

The novel is populated by childish drawings, intending to illustrate to the reader (assumed to be an alien unfamilar with human society) various aspects of life on Earth. Such drawings include that of an anus, the American flag, a wide-open vagina, little girls' underpants, guns, trucks, cows and the hamburgers that result from them, the electric chair, chickens and the fried food that results from them, and the sunglasses the author himself wears as he enters the storyline, among many others.

In addition to Kilgore Trout, several other characters from other Vonnegut books appear here, such as Eliot Rosewater and Rabo Karabekian. Rosewater was the main character in God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater (1965), while Karabekian later became the main character in Bluebeard (1988). Dwayne Hoover's secretary, Francine Pefko, previously appeared in Cat's Cradle (1963), where she performed secretarial duties at General Forge and Foundry, in Ilium, New York. The vicious guard dog, Kazakh, was Winston Niles Rumfoord's pet in The Sirens of Titan (1959) and Selena MacIntosh's guide dog in Galpagos (1985). Many of Midland City's inhabitants reappear in Deadeye Dick (1982), which locates the city in Ohio.

The story's name is also that of a registered trademark of General Mills, Inc. for its Wheaties breakfast cereal products. Vonnegut acknowledges this in his preface, but he indicates that he does not intend this as endorsement or disparagement of their products. This slogan can currently be found on Weet-bix ( brand cereal in Australian supermarkets.

Breakfast of Champions has also been made into a 1999 film starring Bruce Willis, Albert Finney, Nick Nolte and Omar Epps, although it has been noted that the movie is not a faithful representation of the book.

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