Harrison Bergeron Character Analysis

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In George Saunders’ essay from The Guardian, he states, “We often think that the empathetic function in fiction is accomplished via the writer’s relation to his characters, but it’s also accomplished via the writer’s relation to his reader” (The Guardian). In Kurt Vonnegut’s story “Harrison Bergeron”, we can see this idea shown through the reader’s connection with Harrison. Vonnegut uses the main character of the story, Harrison Bergeron, as a symbol of empathy by allowing the reader to relate to his desire for individuality. At first glance in a story like “Harrison Bergeron”, it may seem difficult for a reader to connect to any of the characters. All of these characters “weren 't only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which …show more content…

We know that he’s been locked up by the government, but we weren’t given enough information about him to build a relation with him from the beginning. As we begin to see Harrison more after he escapes from jail, we start to build that relationship with him. When he’s being described on TV, we’re told that he is “a genius and an athlete, is under-handicapped, and should be regarded as extremely dangerous” (Vonnegut). By these descriptive details that were given about Harrison, unlike the details about other characters, we can tell that he’s going to be an important character in the story. Harrison is similar to most teenagers who, at one point during their teenage years, has had a period of defiance. Whether it’s because they didn’t listen to a parent or teacher, or they were mean to another kid because they wanted things to be done their way, these situations allow for readers to relate to Harrison’s defiance and desire to be different. Although most teenagers don’t get thrown into jail for “suspicion of plotting to overthrow the government”, they have had some point in their life where they wanted to do against what they were told (Vonnegut). Many teenagers become rebellious because, like Harrison, they think that the choices that they make are better than the ones made by adults. For this reason, we can immediately relate to him as we think about our life during our teenage

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