Breakfast of Champions

Breakfast of Champions

by

Kurt Vonnegut

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Breakfast of Champions can help.

The Truck Driver Character Analysis

Kilgore Trout hitches a ride out of New York City with the truck driver, who is “hauling seventy-eight thousand pounds of Spanish olives.” The truck driver used to be an avid hunter and fisherman, but now the state of polluted forests and streams “breaks his heart.” Ironically, the truck driver contributes to that heartbreaking pollution as he drives back and forth across the county delivering consumer goods in a state-of-the-art rig powered by a “three hundred and twenty-four horsepower Cummins Diesel engine.” The truck driver metaphorically represents those in American society who lament environmental pollution but do nothing to help, and worse, actively contribute to the problem.

The Truck Driver Quotes in Breakfast of Champions

The Breakfast of Champions quotes below are all either spoken by The Truck Driver or refer to The Truck Driver. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Art, Subjectivity, and Absurdity Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dial Press edition of Breakfast of Champions published in 2011.
Chapter 10 Quotes

[The truck driver] had a point. The planet was being destroyed by manufacturing processes, and what was being manufactured was lousy, by and large.

Then Trout made a good point, too. “Well,” he said, “I used to be a conservationist. I used to weep and wail about people shooting bald eagles with automatic shotguns from helicopters and all that, but I gave it up. There’s a river in Cleveland which is so polluted that it catches fire about once a year. That used to make me sick, but I laugh about it now. When some tanker accidently dumps its load in the ocean, and kills millions of birds and billions of fish, I say, ‘More power to Standard Oil,’ or whoever it was that dumped it.” Trout raised his arms in celebration. “‘Up your ass with Mobil gas,’” he said.

Related Characters: Kilgore Trout (speaker), Kurt Vonnegut (speaker), The Truck Driver
Page Number: 86
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile
Chapter 14 Quotes

“That was the last story I ever read,” said the driver. “My God—that must be all of fifteen years ago. The story was about another planet. It was a crazy story. They had museums full of paintings all over the place, and the government used a kind of roulette wheel to decide what to put in the museums, and what to throw out.”

Related Characters: The Truck Driver (speaker), Kilgore Trout
Related Symbols: Paintings
Page Number: 132
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Get the entire Breakfast of Champions LitChart as a printable PDF.
Breakfast of champions.pdf.medium

The Truck Driver Character Timeline in Breakfast of Champions

The timeline below shows where the character The Truck Driver appears in Breakfast of Champions. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 10
The Destruction of the Planet Theme Icon
After leaving the police station, Kilgore gets a ride with a truck driver “hauling seventy-eight thousand pounds of Spanish olives.” The driver, “who is white,” tells Kilgore that... (full context)
The Destruction of the Planet Theme Icon
The truck driver “has a point,” Vonnegut writes. “The planet is being destroyed by manufacturing processes, and what... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
The Destruction of the Planet Theme Icon
Kilgore tells the truck driver that “God isn’t any conservationist,” which would make anybody who tries to be one “sacrilegious.”... (full context)
Chapter 12
Art, Subjectivity, and Absurdity Theme Icon
Capitalism and Consumerism Theme Icon
Meanwhile, Kilgore is still riding with the truck driver just outside Philadelphia. Kilgore has forgotten the trucker’s name, but he asks him about his... (full context)
The Destruction of the Planet Theme Icon
The truck driver asks Kilgore if he is married. “Three times,” Kilgore answers. Kilgore tells the driver about... (full context)
Chapter 14
The Destruction of the Planet Theme Icon
The truck driver and Kilgore make their way into West Virginia, which has been destroyed by coal mining.... (full context)
The Destruction of the Planet Theme Icon
Capitalism and Consumerism Theme Icon
The truck driver stops at a nearby McDonald’s restaurant and Kilgore goes inside for a cup of coffee.... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
The Destruction of the Planet Theme Icon
Capitalism and Consumerism Theme Icon
Back on the road, the truck driver asks Kilgore why he wants to go to Midland City. Kilgore lies and tells him... (full context)
Art, Subjectivity, and Absurdity Theme Icon
“Anyway,” the truck driver says, “they had so many books in Libertyville, they used books for toilet paper in... (full context)
Art, Subjectivity, and Absurdity Theme Icon
...and the government official responsible for spinning the wheel commits suicide. Kilgore doesn’t tell the truck driver that he is the author of his toilet paper, and they drive on in silence. (full context)