Compare And Contrast Anthem And Harrison Bergeron

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“The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.” -Aristotle. Being able to reach equality in the human species would be nearly impossible. Humans are one of the most diverse species to exist. In science fiction stories about the government trying to achieve equality, the foreseen outcomes tend to be disastrous. In the short story “Harrison Bergeron” written by Kurt Vonnegut , the government attempted to make people physically and mentally equal. This attempt is also made in the novella Anthem by Ayn Rand. The concept of the stories are similar, however, “Harrison Bergeron” provides better criticism of the idea of government control because the conditions that the citizens have to put up with are worse than what goes…show more content…
In Anthem, the women constantly work in fields, and men work in areas that they are not gifted in. In “Harrison Bergeron”, the civilians do not choose their profession either, but they also have to wear weights to be equal with one another. The character Equality 7-2521 writes “Now if the Council said "Carpenter" or "Cook," the Students so assigned go to work and do not study any further. But if the Council has said "Leader," then those students go into the Home of the Leaders, which is the greatest house in the City, for it has three stories.” (18) This shows that they do not have the option of choosing their own profession, but in “Harrison Bergeron” there is a similar issue. George thought to himself about the ballerinas “They weren’t really very good – no better than anybody else would have been, anyway.” The people are not talented in their professions, much like in Anthem, but they are also burdened with weights that are intended to make people physically equal. Hazel says to George, “‘Why don’t you stretch out on the sofa, so’s you can rest your handicap bag on the pillows, honeybunch.’ She was referring to the forty-seven pounds of birdshot in canvas bag, which was padlocked around George’s neck.” Having to wear weights to restrict their bodies as well as having their minds hindered is more belittling. In Anthem, people do work hard but they do not…show more content…
The stories have similar main characters and depict government control nicely. However, “Harrison Bergeron” shows more ways that the government could attempt to make society equal. Having a mental handicapper impedes their minds, which is extreme. Also, the sash weights that they are forced to wear are more crippling than the jobs that people in Anthem are forced to do. The conditions in Anthem are wrong and morally incorrect, but they do not meet the same level of unfairness that they do in “Harrison Bergeron”. Neither form of equality in these societies should be attempted in real life, as Milton Friedman once said, “The government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the
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