Absolute Equality In Kurt Vonnegut's Harrison Bergeron

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The Importance of Absolute Equality in “Harrison Bergeron”

For hundreds of years, humanity has struggled to define equality, as well implement the concept properly into society. Slaves; prisoners of war; and even in today’s society, we still see people of color treated as lesser than their Caucasian counterparts. Interestingly enough, color is never introduced as a problem in Kurt Vonnegut Jr.’s “Harrison Bergeron”. While most people nowadays would agree that the word “equality” refers to equal opportunity, Vonnegut forces this word to the extremes, and warps its meaning into something much more controlling, to the point where it harms society more than inequality ever did. But why would the author do this? What is the point of creating a
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As shown by the ballerinas and the television announcer, even people who need to do their jobs well are burdened by these handicaps. Yet Diana seems to be doing her duty quite professionally. The ballerinas were weighed down by sacks of birdshot (Vonnegut 193), and the announcer could not even finish his bulletin because his stuttering was so uncontrolled (195). Based on this pattern, Diana Moon Glampers should not have been as skilled at hunting down Harrison Bergeron as she really was. Could it be possible that government corruption leaks into this dystopian society as well? Jindra states in his article that poor people are put on the backburner in favor of those wealthier in modern society (317). In turn, Vonnegut’s fictional world has put the average citizens down, and kept them down, in order to promote their superior policing techniques. The government and must work as efficiently as possible to implement these handicaps, so why hinder those who protect their country? From this, we can deduce that Glampers is at least above average in intellect, as well as trained in law enforcement tactics. She does have access to a gun, after all (Vonnegut 197). The government would never entrust a firearm to someone entirely average. Despite the need for absolute control, this society needs capable people to help keep the

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