Most authors, when writing futuristic stories, tend to have technological advances like flying cars or robots to add that flare. However, in the story “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut there is nothing of the sort. In the year 2081, the US government has tried to reach full equality by using handicaps on the gifted. The society’s rules leave more people with pain and anger rather than a sense of total equality with each other. Which leads some readers to wonder what a society where the ungifted were lifted up instead of the gifted put down would be like in comparison with Vonneguts. The pain, emotions, and overall equality could be different enough that it could seem almost normal to our current society. Reaching an equality by genetically …show more content…
If Vonnegut’s society were to raised the ungifted instead of handicap the gifted than readers would see it as an acceptable society, however it would not be seen as dystopian anymore because of societies numbness to self modification and overall attitude towards it. Pain is a big reason why Vonnegut’s society is flawed and seen as unacceptable. The physical pain is the most obvious form of pain readers can see in the characters in “Harrison Bergeron”. One of the main characters, Hazel, who has no handicaps can tell George is in pain, saying “boy!... that was a doozy wasn’t it?” and visually seeing “George... white and trembling and tears [standing] on the rims of his red eyes.” Vonnegut’s society is continuously physically tasking. The handicaps the gifted wear constantly make loud noises which can not be good for the ears and could possibly cause brain damage. Yet if there were no handicaps and just genetic enhancement there wouldn’t be a continuous pain throughout one’s life. There could be no pain at all if the enhancements happened in embryonic state. Harrison, Hazel and George’s son, was considered dangerous, yet wore “spectacles... …show more content…
One could never fully understand the other. If the roles were switched, it would be easier to understand each other, and people wouldn’t be able to visually see the others differences. Hazel says “you [have] been so tired lately... if there was just some way we could make a little hole in the bottom of the bag, and just take out a few of them lead balls...” and George says “Two years in prison and two thousand dollars fine for ball I took out...” This shows how oblivious Hazel, and ungifted person, is towards George and his handicaps. Citizens wearing the handicaps know how bad it is and the consequences for breaking the laws while the people who do not wear the handicaps have no idea what it is like. This creates a riff between the two different types of people. Hazel “...think[s] it would be interesting, hearing all the different sounds,” which shows the ungifted are “... a little envious.” of the people with handicaps because the ungifted can see that they are more intelligent and special because they wear handicaps. Hazel even brings up being “...Handicapper General...” which is a job that inflicts pain on people like George.
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In “Harrison Bergeron” Vonnegut describes handicaps in a way that a reader can feel and imagine it. He also describes Harrison so well that it feels like he’s right in front of you. When someone reads the story they can see the bag of birdshot, the lead balls, the masks. It feels so real. The reader might compare it to their life like how they might feel restricted in some ways.
People of his type would often end up in a mental institution and get treated like an animal. Slim, the wisest of Steinbeck’s characters points out the detriment this could have on Lennie when he says, “An’ s’pose they lock him up an’ strap him down and put him in a cage. That ain’t no good, George” (Steinbeck 97). With Slim stating that, we know that people with handicaps are looked down upon in this time era.
“The year was 2081, and everybody was finally equal” (Vonnegut 133). In the United States in 2081, everyone must be exactly the same. Some leaders believe everyone should be exactly the same in their society, such as communist societies and dictatorships. Two inferences that can be made about “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut, are that the handicap general did not have a handicap and the government had all the power in the country. First, the handicap general could not have had a handicap, because if she did, then she would not be able give out handicaps.
Kurt Vonnegut uses dramatic irony in ridiculous ways in “Harrison Bergeron”. Dramatic irony is when the characters in the story do not know what is going on but the reader does know. In almost every part of the story, the characters are unaware of what is really happening because of everyone being equal. The characters have accepted and embraced the idea that it is good for everyone in society to be equal in intelligence, appearance, strength and speed. George doesn’t even care that his intelligence is being controlled by the radio in his ears.
We all know and love science fiction books such as the Giver, the Hunger Games, Divergent, and much more. What we do not know about these books is that their is a deeper meaning, trying to teach us about a flaw in our society. In the Giver and Harrison Bergeron their are these themes that are trying to teach us about our world. The Giver and Harrison Bergeron’s themes are commentary on our unwillingness to accept our differences, and constant worry of making wrong decisions.
The people of the United States fight and strive for an absolute “equal” society, but is it what’s really wanted? “Harrison Bergeron,” a short story written by Kurt Vonnegut, uses satire to describe the deficiency in our idea of a truly “equal” society. Throughout the story, Vonnegut describes the torture and discomfort the government administers among the people, and though they were “equal,” they were not balanced. Vonnegut uses characterization and word choice to warn his readers of the potential drawbacks of a truly “equal” society. He warns normalcy would become the base of thought, and people would become incapable of emotion.
No matter how many handicaps you put on someone they aren’t going to change. It’s kind of like trying to cover up beauty with a mask or make-up. Handicaps have no value in making anyone equal. Although equality is needed, no one in “Harrison Bergeron” is solely based on appearance and how smart you are. Equality is treating everyone one with the same amount of respect so therefore, no one in this short story is
In this story, everyone is made equal by the “Handicapper-General”, by having handicaps placed on them to make everyone the same. Everyone is perfectly equal and no one is better than anyone else, or any stronger, smarter, or even more athletic than any other person. That’s a good thing, right? No. This would keep people from reaching their full potential, possibly to help the whole of the population.
Hazel knew that these people had the handicaps because they were better than her, at some point would that affect her feelings? George has these mental handicaps preventing him from being himself, it even mentions in the story that the loud noises and heavy sack take a toll on him. This isn’t an equal society and it makes you question whether a perfect society is ever even possible, and if it were possible would it be what anyone
“Harrison Bergeron” is a short fiction written by Kurt Vonnegut, the story is set in the year 2081, and it talks about a futuristic society where all people are equal. No one is smarter, beautiful or stronger than the other, and if someone happens to be better than the others they find themselves compelled by The United States Handicapper General to wear what they call “handicaps” in order to bring down their abilities to the most basic levels as the others. Throughout the story, Vonnegut expresses a strong and vigorous political and social criticism of some historical events in the US during 1960s such as the Cold War and Communism, television and American Culture and Civil Rights Movement. “Harrison Bergeron” was published in 1961 during that time several events were happening around the world in general and in the US in specific which was engaged in a series of political and economic crisis with the communist Soviet Union know as The
Thesis: In Kurt Vonnegut 's story, "Harrison Bergeron," symbolism, tone, and irony reveal the author 's message to the reader which is his perspective on equality. Notably, there are countless symbols in the narrative "Harrison Bergeron" all of which trace back to the theme of the story. The handicaps people are forced to wear are symbols for the control the government has over people. "George was toying with the vague notion that maybe dancers shouldn 't be handicapped.
The handicaps are given to the people in the short story to symbolize fear. The author states, “ every 20 seconds or so, the transmitter would send out some sharp noise to keep people like George from taking unfair Advantage of their brains” (1). The government does not want people like George and Harrison to overthrow the government. Throughout the story, Kurt Vonnegut portrays the handicaps as well, but actually there to scare people from overpowering the government. The handicaps symbolize fear if they display any of their powers such as speed, looks, and thinking they will be severely punished.
“Harrison Bergeron,” written by Kurt Vonnegut at the time of the Cold War, is a short story that takes place in a future world of the year 2081 where the Handicapper General and the law force the beautiful to wear masks, the intelligent to wear earpieces that disrupt their thoughts, and the athletic to wear heavy physical restraints, so that everyone may be equal in the categories of beauty, intelligence, and athleticism; a world where the people “[are] equal in every which way.” (Vonnegut 1) What the many readers of “Harrison Bergeron” seem to misinterpret is that the entire story is an allegory to the political systems of Socialism/Communism and that Vonnegut utilizes symbols in the story that either expose the glaring flaws of left-wing politics or advance the supposedly far-superior ideology of American capitalism. In actuality, Vonnegut’s use of symbols in “Harrison Bergeron,” and the entire story itself is a satire of the common American’s ignorant misunderstandings of left-wing politics at the time of the Cold War. Vonnegut once said at a college commencement speech, “I suggest that you work for a socialist form of government … It isn 't moonbeams to talk of modest plenty for all.
Equality is a great idea that we should strive for and achieve; however, being made equal physically and mentally by the government could be very unfair. People should still have characteristics that make us different. One can be diverse but still equal to his neighbor. Kurt Vonnegut Jr.’s use of point of view, conflict, and imagery in his short story “Harrison Bergeron,” illustrates how difficult living in a world where everyone is the same would be.
Kurt Vonnegut uses characterization to describe how the characters act in this society. Vonnegut also uses style to show how he uses science fiction and dystopia in “Harrison Bergeron”. The theme demonstrated in “Harrison Bergeron” is equality is not meant to make one person better than another. Kurt Vonnegut in “Harrison Bergeron”, demonstrates that equality based on characteristics is not a good thing for society. Harrison Bergeron is a short story based on the year 2081, where everybody is equal.