the idea of equality was taken to the extreme. Satire is also used to exaggerate how awful equality is to persuade readers to believe that total equality will violate human rights. Kurt Vonnegut also uses symbols such as handicaps which make everyone equal and Harrison Bergeron to display the lack of freedom present in a world of total equality.
“Harrison Bergeron,” written by Kurt Vonnegut at the time of the Cold War, is a short story that takes place in a future world of the year 2081 where the Handicapper General and the law force the beautiful to wear masks, the intelligent to wear earpieces that disrupt their thoughts, and the athletic to wear heavy physical restraints, so that everyone may be equal in the categories of beauty, intelligence, and athleticism; a world where the people “[are] equal in every which way.” (Vonnegut 1) What the many readers of “Harrison Bergeron” seem to misinterpret is that the entire story is an allegory to the political systems of Socialism/Communism and that Vonnegut utilizes symbols in the story that either expose the glaring flaws of left-wing politics or advance the supposedly far-superior ideology of American capitalism. In actuality, Vonnegut’s use of symbols in “Harrison Bergeron,” and the entire story itself is a satire of the common American’s ignorant misunderstandings of left-wing politics at the time of the Cold War. Vonnegut once said at a college commencement speech, “I suggest that you work for a socialist form of government … It isn 't moonbeams to talk of modest plenty for all. They have it in Sweden.” (Hattenhauer 387) Given this and many more instances where Vonnegut’s spoken word was documented in support of left-wing politics, this interpretation of Vonnegut’s intent behind the story is much more convincing. Political context analysis of the story’s
The character Harrison represents uniqueness with the traits he was given. He has none of the passivity that characterize nearly everyone else in the story. When he storms into the TV studio and announces that he is the emperor, the greatest ruler who has
The agents of the United States Handicapper General put handicappers (technological devices) to take away the people’s differences. This equality was caused through the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments in the Constitution and through the agents of the United States Handicapper General. The people wanted a “utopian” society in which everyone is equal. One can infer that this is why the agents will do anything to make sure
“All men are created equal”, as our Declaration of Independence states, but the story “Harrison Bergeron” begs to differ. Written by Kurt Vonnegut, a writer known for making political jabs at government policies, this story questions the morality of having all men and women be treated as equal. Set in futuristic America, this story tells the tale of a nation where all men must be held as equal- and quite literally. The attractive are forced to deform themselves, the smart a forced to have buzzing sounds in their ears to hinder their thinking, and the strong are ladened with heavy weights. Harrison Bergeron follows the actions of a couple as they watch tv- seeing first ballerinas (who are not very graceful nor beautiful so that no one can be jealous) then a warning about a danger man-- Harrison Bergeron -- escaping from prison, and finally a showdown between Harrison and the “HG”: the Handicapper General.
The equality Vonnegut portrays in “Harrison Bergeron” embodies the definition of sameness. The fictional society forces handicaps upon individuals limiting them to the same intelligence, beauty, and athletic standards. The officials “Harrison Bergeron” forced handicaps such as weights, interrupting radios, and ugly masks to reinforce sameness. Imposing handicaps upon individuals is tyrannical and unjust, thus contradicting the original goal of equality, which is justice. Confusing equality and sameness deprives individuals of genuine equality, which encompasses and embraces individuality.
Having seen how Javert has served legally, attempted the best he could while under the government’s thumb, and even how he tried to stop Valjean under the false interpretation of what he stood for, we can see that Javert is in no way a villain. In fact, Les Miserable’s true villains are the horrible Thenardiers, as well as the corrupt government of the time. Both Valjean and Javert are stuck in a miscommunication loop of what is good and evil. Javert is not a villain in the novel, but rather a warning. Although all may seem grim, his silence did not solve anything around him.
However, the corresponding and respective similarities between such conflicts at universal level, regardless of nationality, ethnicity and theology have proved through times that the crises faced by humans have been distinct and identical. Thus letting even the literary critics take man as a species with a quarrelsome nature and this very concept has unconsciously taken a position within conscious compositions of literature. McCarthyism is conceived as a universal human crisis which should not be recognized as a representative aspect of the American political history alone. Superficially observed, it seemed to be a conscious plot within the American capitalist boundaries questing to keep the communist ideology away. Deeply observed, McCarthyism is a broad and conscious conflict between the two human ideologies developed on the basis of the advancements and advantages for the specific
Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th and 213th amendments of the constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General. (1) “Unceasing vigilance of agents” is a satire on government for transgressing its control over the citizens. It turns out to be a society in which the government curbs the individuality of citizens under the façade of ensuring equality. Stanley Schatt states: In any leveling process, what really is lost, according to Vonnegut, is beauty, grace, and wisdom.
“The year was 2081, and everybody was finally equal”1 is a statement that in the mouth of the American writer should sound at least victorious. However, Kurt Vonnegut in the opening line of his dystopian short story Harrison Bergeron creates a highly ironical declaration, which he later ridicules by the following story. The author who gained his fame by writing the novel Slaughterhouse-Five, describes the world supposedly equal and free, but entirely bound by the laws that command the lives of people. That describes also fairly well the second short story 2 B R 0 2 B, which title refers to the famous phrase “to be or not to be”2 from William Shakespeare 's Hamlet, as mentioned in the text, “the trick telephone number that people who didn 't
In both dystopian novels they prove their points on how their society is different in relationship but the same in the concept of equality. Both are different by relationship but the same in equality and each society discovers the way of individualism. In our future everyone should believe individualism will be applied to our daily lives and the government will remove