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Self Discovery in Breakfast of Champions

Self Discovery in Breakfast of Champions

In Brandon Boyd’s Make Yourself he states that “ if [he] hadn’t assembled [himself] than [he] would’ve fallen apart,” implying that if one does not take the time to understand and build his or her own values and morals then one will live in confusion and falter. Throughout Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions, Kilgore Trout goes through the process of realizing who he is and then learns to remain true to himself. At first Trout is a pessimist who strives to be heard. Trout then begins to question human ways and while doing so finds a few answers about not only them but him as well.

In the beginning Trout comes off as a pessimistic unknown writer. One of his most popular works, Plague on Wheels was sold for twelve dollars for the pictures alone. Later people would pay only a dollar for it, but this time “for the words”. Trout is in awe about the way that people work. In Plague on Wheels he expresses the ideas and ways of humans and then refers to them as “ cuckoo”. He cannot understand why people do such ridiculous things such as, “[agree] with friends to express friendliness” and everyone else follows. He sees that people feel the need to conform for acceptance and this annoys him. In his story he also cites the time of which “Earthlings discovered tools”, referring to guns. Trout points out that the “tools” only purpose is “to make holes in human beings”, this seeming extremely ridiculous to him. Realizing all of this bothers Trout immensely and puts him in a bitter state.

Kilgore Trout proceeds in watching the actions of humans. He realizes that he is no longer innocent, “ his head is no longer just sheltered ideas.” Trout sees things for what they are and knows that he has deal with that. He must learn to form his own opinions and ideas. When Trout actually looks back and realizes how sheltered people are at the beginning of life it “scares the bejesus” out of him. He realizes that when we are so protected that it leaves us extremely vulnerable. Trout begins to question certain human ideas, one being the “creator of the universe.” Trout takes interest in trying to figure out who in fact is the creator.

Abner and Sarty Snopes in Barn Burning

Abner and Sarty Snopes

The nature of the relationship between father and son in William Faulkner’s Barn Burning is displayed in the first paragraph of the story. In general a father-son relationship would be built on genuine respect, love, loyalty, and admiration. These building blocks were absent in Abner and Sarty Snopes relationship. Sarty’s loyalty to his father appeared to come from a long time fear of the consequences of not obeying his father’s commands. The “nigger” that could place the blame on Abner was not to be found. Was Faulkner inferring by this statement that the individual had been killed? If Abner had so little moral value to destroy a man’s property, surely to protect himself from persecution he could destroy a man’s life.

Sarty knew he “smelled cheese, and more.” He smelled the “fierce pull of blood.” His father’s blood, the blood of the family name, Snopes. Sarty knew he was also the son of the “barn burner.” A name he heard hissing as they passed by boys in town. Sarty fought to defend his father and when hurt, he seemed to need the blood to remain for a while as a reminder of why he stayed with the man. Sarty viewed his father at times as “bloodless” and cut from “tin.” Sarty could usually convince himself why his father was this way. The fact that he had to be a horse trader for four years hiding from the blue and the gray armies to exist by stealing or “capturing” as he called it, horses.

Was Sarty to become a man like his father? It seems to be the fear that Sarty may have worried about many times. Young boys usually acquire the desire at sometime in their life to simulate their fathers’actions, perspectives on life and mannerisms. Fathers are examples to how they would like their sons to be. Abner probably thought it was the only way to be.

Abner’s past was not Sarty’s, his future was not to be Sarty’s either. For their views on life and the people in it were quite different. Abner Snopes looked at the mansion of Major de Spain as a symbol of inequality. A fact that he had too much and Abner had so little . Sarty looked at the vast mansion as a picturesque scene of “the grove of oaks and cedars and flowering trees and shrubs” almost as if it was a rerun of something he had was coming to him.

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