Like Portnoy's Complaint, The Breast is an arresting tour de force. David Kepesh, a thirty-eight-year-old professor of comparative literature, awakens on the morning of February 18, 1971, and finds himself changed into a sixfoot female breast. He feels victimized by his glands and calls the metamorphosis "a massive hormonal influx" as well as "an endocrinopathic catastrophe" and "a hermaphroditic explosion of chromosomes." The exploration of the frustrations suffered by the protagonist as a victimized individual is camouflaged as a search for a scientific explanation of his metamorphosis.
Kepesh has to face up to the fact that his middle-class Jewish American upbringing did not prepare him to accept his embarrassing predicament. His hopelessness and alienation are realities of modern existence.