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Word Count: 654
Reading the average review of Breakfast of Champions one gets the impression that this book must be at once uproariously funny incisive in its social critism and deeply philosophical In truth none of the above are even remotely applicable Like Mark Twain whom Vonnegut has often been likened to Vonneguts humor is largely based on tongue-in-cheek irreverence of the Connecticut Yankee in King Arthurs Court variety The idea is to write a social critique from the perspective of a naive or unbiased outsider who is supposedly able to see things more clearly than everybody else The outsider goes around pretending unwittingly to expose absurdities prejudices and hypocrisy underlying various social conventions The outsider in Breakfast of Champions is a narrator who writes about Earthlings as if he were an intergalactic traveller The irreverent statements he makes are supposed to shock hypocrites while those who are in-the-know titter away at the spectacle Concerning power politics for instance Vonnegut writes America disciplined other countries by threatening to shoot big rockets at them or to drop things on them from airplanes About racism he declares A Nigger was a human being who was black Are you tittering The philosophical content of Breakfast of Champions like the social commentary is shallow and presented with a singular lack of eloquence unlike the social commentary it is incoherent rather than simplistic The narrator is mainly concerned with the principle of determinism and how it relates to mental health and the main characters in the novel serve as personifications of different aspects of this dilemma Dwayne Hoover a car dealer from the midwest goes crazy after reading a novel by Kilgore Trout a pessimistic science fiction writer The novel is in the form of a letter from the Creator to the only person on the planet with free will Hoover already losing his marbles at the time of reading the story takes it literally and ends up injuring
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