Conformity In Kurt Vonnegut's Harrison Bergeson

929 Words4 Pages
For my short literary analysis essay I wanted to dive into the theme of social conformity and non-conformity and how it ties into the characters presented in Kurt Vonnegut Jr. short story Harrison Bergeson. In Harrison Bergeson society had been set up in a way that prohibited anyone from forming an opinion or having differences in appearance and ideologies. People who were better looking or slightly smarter than their counterparts were forced to wear inhibitors in order to make them equal to the rest of society. For example the character George was forced to wear a mental handicap radio that prevents him from speaking his mind because of the fear that George might use his “superior” mind to subjugate his wife Hazel. Throughout the story…show more content…
Because she does not have a mental handicap radio like her husband she been has given little more freedom to voice some her opinions without the constant fear of incarceration. Although not as smart as her husband Hazel’s curious and naïve mind could also represent the social ignorance and conformity that is going on in their society. Having questioned why George could not have taken some of the lead out of the weights he was wearing but then taking it back when George’s radio went off causing him to make a statement about how society could collapse because of competition. While Hazel and George each represented the social ignorance and constraints held on that society their son Harrison Bergeson represented the complete opposite of that norm. The whole of Harrison Bergeson character was made to represent the perfection of man and what they could hope to achieve. He was also represented as the complete rejection of the social norm and was the face of what the H-G men wanted to suppress. Harrison Bergeson was a seven foot good looking talented teenager that the H-G men tried to normalize by giving him an unfair amount of weights and social disablers. When he was introduced in the story the H-G men had tried to censor him out of the media by distorting his face for fear that he may cause a social rebellion. His constant need to break social norms was evident when he was calling himself The Emperor and calling out to the people playing instruments in the crowd to keep playing despite their initial fear during the ballerina broadcasting. By calling himself “The Emperor” the author brought to life the irony of a slight arrogance in Harrison Bergeson character giving some prove that the H-G men were not too far off with their notation of with unfair advantages comes arrogances. His statement about calling himself The Emperor is also shown as a complete
Open Document