Dwayne Hoover’s secretary and mistress. Francine’s husband is killed in the Vietnam War, and after Dwayne’s wife, Celia, commits suicide, Dwayne and Francine begin an affair. Francine reflects a stereotypical woman who lives to serve and comfort her man, and even when Dwayne treats her badly and verbally abuses her, she continues to profess her love for him. She is incredibly loyal to Dwayne and sings his praises to anyone who will listen. One day, after sneaking off to a hotel with Dwayne in the middle of the afternoon, she makes a racist reference to black people in Shepherdstown and suggests that Dwayne open a Colonel Sanders Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise there. Dwayne, who is mentally ill, snaps and accuses her of being “a whore” who is only trying to squeeze a chicken franchise out of him. Francine ultimately forgives him, but the incident lingers with Dwayne, and after he goes completely insane, he physically assaults Francine and gives her the public beating he believes “she so richly deserves.” Like most people in Midland City, Francine fails to notice Dwayne’s mental decline until it is too late. Francine’s failure to notice and respond to Dwayne’s “cries for help” echo American society’s broader tendency to ignore the mentally ill until they become a public nuisance.
Francine Pefko Character Timeline in Breakfast of Champions
The timeline below shows where the character Francine Pefko appears in Breakfast of Champions. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...cries for help.” The local paper runs an editorial called “A CRY FOR HELP,” and Francine Pefko, Dwayne’s “white secretary and mistress,” the woman who knows him best, claims that he... (full context)
...safety of his office. “This is a very tough day, for some reason,” Dwayne tells Francine. “Keep everything simple. Keep anybody the least bit nutty out of here.” Francine agrees and... (full context)
Dwayne’s “rampage” takes him from the Holiday Inn to his Pontiac dealership, where he assaults Francine Pefko. He then runs to the interstate where he is apprehended by two police officers,... (full context)
...hand for Dr. Ukwende to assess. Kilgore had grabbed Dwayne from behind as he gave Francine Pefko the beating “his bad chemicals made him think she richly deserved.” He had already... (full context)