Most authors, when writing futuristic stories, tend to have technological advances like flying cars or robots to add that flare. However, in the story “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut there is nothing of the sort. In the year 2081, the US government has tried to reach full equality by using handicaps on the gifted. The society’s rules leave more people with pain and anger rather than a sense of total equality with each other. Which leads some readers to wonder what a society where the ungifted were lifted up instead of the gifted put down would be like in comparison with Vonneguts.
Using symbolism adds to the depth and understanding of the story, it helps you “read inbetween the lines” and develop a better understanding of the story overall. In the story there were many symbols that were used, a good one is the character, Harrison Bergeron. Harrison was George and Hazel’s son, but he was different, and wanted the world to change. He is a symbol that represents a spark of defiance and individuality that exists in some people today. Harrison is an exaggerated character, who hungers for power, and this is evident when he storms into the T.V studio and crowns himself emperor.
One specific theme he goes into is wealth. The lack of wealth, the power of it, and most importantly the unequal distribution of wealth in our society. Vonnegut depicts a political view by showing the United States amendments and physical handicaps in his work adding new ones to get his point across. He also uses symbolism to his advantage in his work by connecting it with advancements. Theme is a part played when he’s showing how equality is forced on the citizens, making it mandatory among all.
However in the short story, "Harrison Bergeron", by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., when Harrison is on stage risking his life to share his voice, he is a hero due to his brave, iconic acts to expose the government's corruption. To start, Harrison's motivations to revolt against the government sparked a basic characteristic of heroism, self determination. At the start of the book, it explains that
There are two characters that are introduced in the beginning, which are George and Hazel. George is a "handicap" that has " a little mental handicap radio in his ear". This radio in his ear feeds sounds(every twenty seconds) into his head, preventing him for thinking rationally or clearly. On page 1, when George and Hazel are having a conversation about the ballerinas on the television, a noise in George's head interrupts his thoughts. " George was toying with the vague notion that maybe dancers shouldn't be handicapped.
Nobody in the story Harrison Bergeron was truly the same. People having devices to make them equal didn’t make sense because people still looked different. Devices or methods to take away talents or intelligence didn’t work either. Everybody in Harrison Bergeron was unique in some way. The people in the story weren’t truly equal, and there are a couple of examples to prove it.
They also claim that damaging events such as war cannot be prevented. Through the use of diction and irony, Vonnegut reveals that one must utilize free will in order to overcome the destructive inclinations of humankind. One element of literature that Vonnegut uses to emphasize his theme regarding free will is diction. When Billy is on Tralfamadore, he asks how the Universe will end, to which the alien guide responds, “We blow it up, experimenting with new fuels for our flying saucers” (149). The use of the word “experimenting” shows the nonchalant attitude that the Tralfamadorians have regarding their destruction and their belief that moments in time cannot be altered,
His imagery not only enhances the story itself but it helps the reader visualize the given scenarios as well as give them a chance to see situations in the character’s shoes. For example, “It was such a doozy that George was white and trembling, and tears stood on the rims of his red eyes. Two of the eight ballerinas has collapsed to the studio floor, were holding their temples,” (Vonnegut 2). As Vonnegut has described previously within the story, those with high intelligence were given a mental handicap to prevent those from “taking unfair advantage of their brains,” (Vonnegut 1). The reader is able to visualize the pain George and the dancers suffer from due to the sounds being ruthless, causing the reader to feel a link of empathy for the characters.
One example of his use of exaggeration is his description of the character Harrison Bergeron who is described as “…a genius and an athlete, [who] is under-handicapped, and [someone who] should be regarded as extremely dangerous.” (3). There will always be resistance against anything forced upon it’s citizens in any world. Harrison Bergeron is an example of this. With resistance to rules, there will always be someone to impose those rules such as “…the Handicapper General, a women named Diana Glampers.”
Harrison Bergeron is the protagonist of the story. He disagrees with the society’s way of living and is arrested for it, but he takes a step forward to change it. The author takes on different varieties of tone throughout the story such as gloominess, despair, and joy, which clarify the idea that he disagrees with this society’s