Equality And Injustice In Kurt Vonnegut's Harrison Bergeron

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Equality is an aspect of life that everyone strives for because freedom is something everyone wants. Equality is defined as the quality or state of being equal: the quality or state of having the same rights, social status, etc. ("Equality."). Equality has just recently made its way into human society. For thousands of years, humans have had anything but equality. We’ve had enslaved each other, restricted peoples’ basic rights, and made people follow inhumane laws. In a perfect (utopian) society, everyone is equal, but, with equality, injustice always follows. Kurt Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron” is a poem set in year 2081 where the government has made society overly equal. The government handicaps the citizens who are above average in intelligence, beauty, strength, and speed. This equality is due to their “211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General” (Vonnegut). With these amendments, everyone is literally equal. No one is more beautiful or smarter than everyone else and also no one is faster or stronger than anyone else. The way they handicap these citizens is where the injustice is rooted. In Kurt Vonnegut’s…show more content…
Diana represents the extremes of equality through her unjust system of government, and Harrison represents the extremes of inequality, individualism, and freedom through a caste system where only the wealthy people will be able to express their selves and have freedom. Both Harrison and Diana’s ideas of equality has corrupt consequences in which Diana’s takes away individuality and Harrison’s takes away equality and freedom. In this story, Vonnegut illustrates that the only society that should exist is one that accepts individuality and lets its citizen be equal without any physical
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