Equality is a great idea that we should strive for and achieve; however, being made equal physically and mentally by the government could be very unfair. People should still have characteristics that make us different. One can be diverse but still equal to his neighbor. Kurt Vonnegut Jr.’s use of point of view, conflict, and imagery in his short story “Harrison Bergeron,” illustrates how difficult living in a world where everyone is the same would be.
“Harrison Bergeron” is a unique story, in the sense that it takes place in 2081 in a dystopian society where everyone is equal. No one could be smarter, better-looking, or more athletic than anyone else. They are made equal with mental handicap radios for those who are intelligent, hideous masks for those who are beautiful, and heavy weights for those who are strong.
The people of the United States fight and strive for an absolute “equal” society, but is it what’s really wanted? “Harrison Bergeron,” a short story written by Kurt Vonnegut, uses satire to describe the deficiency in our idea of a truly “equal” society. Throughout the story, Vonnegut describes the torture and discomfort the government administers among the people, and though they were “equal,” they were not balanced. Vonnegut uses characterization and word choice to warn his readers of the potential drawbacks of a truly “equal” society. He warns normalcy would become the base of thought, and people would become incapable of emotion.
In the short story, “Harrison Bergeron” Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. relies on the use of irony to indicate where our country will stand once we have gained total equality amongst each other. The theme in “Harrison Bergeron” is that the government cannot enforce equality within the people. The author creates a fictional visualization of the future in the year 2081, where the government controls the people and tortures them in order to maintain “equal opportunity” in their world to prove why it is impossible to achieve absolute equality in the world.
In today’s society the general attitude towards an individual is conform or be an outcast. It is seen in schools where people who do not fit into specific cliques become outcasts, the weird people. It is seen in the work place as well. People have conformed to standards set by society simply because society has said to do so. Society asks people to change themselves to fit in. However, people do not have to conform to the standards set by society.
In “Harrison Bergeron”, each person was not truly equal. For example, the ballerinas in the story were prettier than the maximum people, so they were required to wear masks. Hazel, the mother of Harrison, believed that the ballerinas were beautiful since her mask was extremely ugly. Diana Moon Glampers, the Handicap General, forces them to be like the public and will punish anyone who says different. Consequently a few people enjoy being the same, it is not easy, and following the Handicap General’s rules is challenging.
is that absolute power corrupts all. Having the power to change the world or to control people can alter one's views or morals. The government in the short story became corrupt while trying to bring equality to the world. Instead of bringing peace and tolerance, the law of equality took away the individuality of the citizens. The absolute power also made the government feel as if they can control everything to make this twisted utopia. The protagonist and title character, Harrison Bergeron, also was affected by absolute power. His strength and uniqueness made him believe that he should be “emperor of the world”. That thought also lead to his defeat. The theme of absolute power corrupts in this story can also be compared to of that in Divergent by Veronica Roth. In the novel, Chicago had become split into five groups based on personalities. Anyone who was not placed into one of the categories was considered a threat and killed. The government in Divergent believed that they could make the world “perfect” if everyone was the same in their communities. In “Harrison Bergeron”, the government also believed that the only way for there to be peace was to have everyone be equal. Having absolute power can bring out the worst in a person even when the intentions of them were
strongly controlled by the government in the year 2081; the beautiful are forced tolook ugly, the physically skilled are required to wear weights. With these handicaps makingeveryone so equal, the world became very different, odd, and average. But the government hasno right or reason to push the whole world
“Harrison Bergeron” is a short fiction written by Kurt Vonnegut, the story is set in the year 2081, and it talks about a futuristic society where all people are equal. No one is smarter, beautiful or stronger than the other, and if someone happens to be better than the others they find themselves compelled by The United States Handicapper General to wear what they call “handicaps” in order to bring down their abilities to the most basic levels as the others. Throughout the story, Vonnegut expresses a strong and vigorous political and social criticism of some historical events in the US during 1960s such as the Cold War and Communism, television and American Culture and Civil Rights Movement.
The story “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut is about a couple, Hazel and George Bergeron, in the distant future when all people must be equal. This equality is reached in the form of handicaps. Weights are placed on the strong and athletic people in society, masks are forced upon the beautiful, and loud noises are constantly blasted into the ears of the intelligent to prevent them from thinking. While most equality is often thought of as good, the story shows a much darker side, using the government’s forceful equalization of the people. “Harrison Bergeron” uses multiple perspectives to highlight the costs of equality paralleled in today’s society.
The quote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. ” summarizes what Harrison is fighting for. The year 2081, there is finally equality, but to be made equal there are many individuals that are made handicapped because they are better than everyone else. Harrison is one that is made handicapped and tension arose between the handicap general and Harrison. Harrison believed that being handicapped stops him from showing his full potential. The character Harrison, in the story “Harrison Bergeron” written by Kurt Vonnegut Jr, has many traits that help aide the theme of the story. Harrison was a strong, good looking, determined young individual with a goal to be different than everyone else.
The short story “Harrison Bergeron”, was first published in October 1961 issue of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Some other works Kurt Vonnegut has written are, “Player Piano”, “The Sirens of Titan”, “Mother Night”, and “Cats Cradle” are just a few of the novels Vonnegut has written. Kurt Vonnegut has drawn on facts and incidents in his own life in his writings. Kurt’s short stories range from visions of future societies, that are extensions of modern societies. Many of his writings are ones that are science fiction. His work in science fiction includes technology in the human equation. The short story “Harrison Bergeron”, is about a society where everyone is equal and no one is different than another. But one character, Harrison tries
Dystopian stories are usually set in an unfavorable society in which to live, where the antagonist is the society itself, and the protagonist is the person who is looking towards changing this society and fixing its flaws, who believes that they can make a difference by overthrowing the government or escaping from it. The conflict is often not solved, or the hero fails to solve it, and the dystopian society continues as it was before. Harrison Bergeron is an example of a dystopian story where society has intensely controlled the population’s unique qualities to make everyone exactly equal. People’s talent, beauty, intelligence, and any other quality that makes them different is brought down and destroyed by forcing them to wear handicaps, masks, and weights. 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