Equality In Kurt Vonnegut's Harrison Bergeron

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Equality “Americans are so enamored [by the thought] of equality that they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom.” (Alexis de Tocqueville) In the short story “Harrison Bergeron”, Kurt Vonnegut uses satire to explore the theme of equality in a futuristic dystopian society which prompts the reader in many ways of the society, in which we live today. In this dystopia, Harrison, a genius and an athlete, is forced to wear handicaps to bring him down to a level of equality with others around him in an effort to discard feelings of inferiority in their society. Although equality may appear to be a necessary component in a modern, progressive society, forced equality could have a negative impact on the society itself by eliminating competition, diversity, and motivation. Being equal would negatively impact our society because it would eliminate competition. In “Harrison Bergeron” everyone was forced to be equal by wearing handicaps. Even the ballerinas were handicapped. Kurt Vonnegut states that “they weren’t really very good--no better than anyone else would have been.” (page5) This statement shows how competition is eliminated because of the handicaps so people won’t feel bad. Besides, Pennington feels that…show more content…
In “Harrison Bergeron” Vonnegut explains that everyone was equal by stating that “they were equal [in] every which way. Nobody was smarter [better looking, or stronger] than anybody else.”(p.4) This would destroy diversity because everyone performs the same and nobody has individuality. Another example, in “Harrison Bergeron” about how diversity is exterminated is “[The ballerinas] were burdened with sash weights and bags of bird shot, and their faces were masked so that no one, seeing a free and graceful gesture or a pretty face would feel like something the cat drug in” (Vonnegut 6). Diversity makes our society work, if we weren’t different life would be
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