Breakfast of Champions

Breakfast of Champions

by

Kurt Vonnegut

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Young Black Man / Wayne Hoobler Character Analysis

A recent parolee from the Adult Correctional Institution at Shepherdstown and a direct descendant of Josephus Hoobler. Wayne represents the stereotypical black criminal who becomes institutionalized because his racist society assumes that since he is a black man, he belongs behind bars. From orphanages to juvenile homes and prisons, Wayne has grown accustomed to living in “cages,” so much so that he “misses the clash of steel doors” after he is released from prison. Wayne thinks that Earth is “terrible,” and he has only a “feeble will to survive.” His life’s ambition is to work for Dwayne Hoover, whose advertisements he has seen and heard time and time again. Wayne dreams of “a better world,” or “Fairy Land,” free from the racism and oppression of American society. He serves as a sort of foil to Dwayne Hoover, who because of his white skin, enjoys privileges otherwise denied to Wayne. Dwayne and Wayne have practically the same name and come from practically the same place, their only difference is how society views and accepts them. Wayne Hoobler underscores the mass incarceration of black men in American society, but he also emphasizes the novel’s central argument that “white robots are just like black robots, in that they are programmed to be whatever they are, to do whatever they do.”

Young Black Man / Wayne Hoobler Quotes in Breakfast of Champions

The Breakfast of Champions quotes below are all either spoken by Young Black Man / Wayne Hoobler or refer to Young Black Man / Wayne Hoobler. 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 11 Quotes

The young man went back to burnishing the automobile. His life was not worth living. He had a feeble will to survive. He thought the planet was terrible, that he never should have been sent there. Some mistake had been made. He had no friends or relatives. He was put in cages all the time.

Related Characters: Kurt Vonnegut (speaker), Young Black Man / Wayne Hoobler
Page Number: 99
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile

“Our names are so close,” said the young man, “it’s the good Lord telling us both what to do.”

Dwayne Hoover didn’t ask him what his name was, but the young man told him anyway, radiantly: “My name, sir, is Wayne Hoobler.”

All around Midland City, Hoobler was a common Nigger name.

Related Characters: Kurt Vonnegut (speaker), Young Black Man / Wayne Hoobler (speaker), Dwayne Hoover
Page Number: 101
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
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Young Black Man / Wayne Hoobler Character Timeline in Breakfast of Champions

The timeline below shows where the character Young Black Man / Wayne Hoobler appears in Breakfast of Champions. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 11
Race and Racism Theme Icon
As Dwayne moves towards the dealership “from dimple to dimple,” he sees a young black man polishing cars in the parking lot. He smiles “blindingly” at Dwayne and continues to polish.... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
For the young black man , “life is not worth living.” His desire to live is “feeble,” and he thinks... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
...what to do.” Dwayne doesn’t ask his name. “My name, sir,” the man offers, “is Wayne Hoobler.” As Dwayne walks away, Vonnegut interrupts. “Hoobler,” Vonnegut says, “is a common Nigger name”... (full context)
Chapter 18
The Destruction of the Planet Theme Icon
Capitalism and Consumerism Theme Icon
...Bunny sits playing the piano, but the two men do not acknowledge each other. Outside, Wayne Hoobler continues to loiter around Dwayne’s Pontiac dealership. (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Wayne Hoobler watches as the traffic passes. The sun is setting and many people in Midland... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Even though Wayne is not happy, he smiles to “show off his teeth.” The Adult Correctional Institution at... (full context)
Chapter 23
Race and Racism Theme Icon
...lot of his dealership. He is looking for “Niggers,” and he begins to yell: “Olly-olly-ox-in-freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!” Wayne Hoobler steps out from a between a row of cars. (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
“There you are,” Dwayne says to Wayne. Wayne is a “typical black robot,” and Dwayne begins to tell Wayne about his experience... (full context)
People and Machines Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Dwayne tells Wayne about his wife, Celia, and about Bunny being a homosexual. “White robots are just like... (full context)
People and Machines Theme Icon
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Dwayne begins talking again and tells Wayne all about “human slavery.” It is not only black people who are slaves, Dwayne believes,... (full context)