Criticism And Irony In Vonnegut's Harrison Bergeron

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In today's society, a world where everyone is equal may seem like a perfect place to live. There would be no discrimination and no unfair advantages for anyone. Although equality is important, total equality between individuals can lead to many complications. A prime example of this is in the story “Harrison Bergeron”. This dystopia takes place in 2021, where the world in which the citizens live in, is completely run by the government. Everyone is totally equal. Nobody is smarter, prettier or more intelligent than the other. Those who are considered gifted in certain areas are given handicaps so they can achieve the same level of mediocrity as the rest of society. The main character Harrison Bergeron is considered exceptional in all aspects of life. Due to this fact he…show more content…
In the short story “Harrison Bergeron” Vonnegut criticizes egalitarianism through the usage of symbolism and Irony , ultimately demonstrating how the government's ability to limit an individual's potential is harmful to society. Firstly, in this story, symbolism is used to reveal the effects of individuals being restricted in this society. One of the characters in this story, George is extremely smart and sensitive but unfortunately been crippled by the government's handicapping program. When George makes intelligent remarks or thinks analytically about situations “every twenty seconds or so, [a] transmitter would send out some sharp noise to keep people like George from taking unfair advantage of their brains (Vonnegut 33). George’s brain handicap symbolizes a legitimate restriction that the government has placed on his body. By placing a handicap on his brain the government is attempting to make George more like everyone else. George is not able to have unique or creative thoughts without be halted by society. Even if George was to question the Government or why he had handicaps, his brain would be shocked and he would forget about the thought.
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