Breakfast of Champions’ Chapter 16-End

by Nick

I progressively noted less and less but here are the rest of my responses. I skipped the chapters where nothing struck me.

Chapter 18

“Where other people in the cocktail lounge had eyes, I [Vonnegut] had two holes into another universe. I had leaks” (197)

Here is a manifesto for what the author does. She/He reflects our state, ourselves back at us. Authors provide a distant look at ourselves which reveals the most essential and often obvious pieces of us. But only through the distance of another galaxy or a fictional world can we clearly see the obvious facts of our identity.

N.B. –  On 204 the blood and milk mixing together and ending up in Sacred Miracle Cave hints at a connection between the beginning and end of life. Blood suggests death while milk suggests infancy. The cave might suggest a womb and its title points to the possibility of miracles. The undercurrent of the miracle of birth leads to some kind of hope or rejuvenations that might assure us. An ouroboros appears on the next page sealing the deal that this is about the endless hope of rejuvenation. We then have to ask whether or not the hope will ever shine through which the book seems to deny. Perhaps this points only to the possibility of rejuvenation rather than its actuality, or this merely depicts the unending cycle we all live under.

Chapter 19

“Our awareness is all that is alive and maybe sacred in any of us. Everything else about us is dead machinery” (226)

Which harkens back to the idea that systems of thought or the essence of what an individual believes is the most important thing about them. Awareness, perspective, personality are all ways of expressing our fundamental systems of understanding.

Chapter 20

“I see exactly what I expect to see. I see a man who is terribly wounded–because he has dared to pass through the fires of truth to the other side, which we have never seen. And then he has come back again–to tell us about the other side” (240)

I like the lack of consolation for the world here. Also I like that Trout’s message is more of the same. More like the repetitious nature of mirrors which show us an understanding of ourselves than the bold truth he first thought to espouse. Mirrors only reflect but we desperately need them. We need repetition because we do not recognize things about ourselves the first time.

Epilogue

“Trout felt nothing now that millions of other people wouldn’t have felt–automatically” (289)

Trout connects with a unified experience rather than the solipsistic vision of shocking everyone else with his message. He moved away from the solipsism of that novel that drove Dwayne crazy.

And that’s all I’ve got.

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