Harrison Bergeron: Dystopian Society

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In the short story “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut Jr., the conflict between society and individuals is highlighted. This conflict is explored through a dystopian society where citizens are forced to wear handicaps to make everyone equal. The handicaps force individuals to conform to a specific standard where differences in abilities, strengths and intelligence are not accepted. “Harrison Bergeron” conveys the conflict of society versus individuals through its dystopian setting and the oppressive government’s control over the citizens. The author conveys the conflict of society versus individuals through the dystopian setting of a world where everyone is "equal." The story is set in the year 2081, when the government has implemented extreme measures to ensure that society remains equal, including handicaps and "handicap radios" that force people to experience physical and mental distractions that prevent them from thinking and achieving greatness. For example, the protagonist, Harrison Bergeron, is described as a "brilliant and handsome" individual, but he must wear a "handicap radio" and a "forty-seven-pound handicap bag" that, as the narrator states, "dragged him down and sapped his strength." This physical handicap serves as a metaphor for society's attempt to limit the potential …show more content…

For example, the Handicapper General "required that all children wear a mental handicap radio" that sends a loud noise to distract them. These rules are oppressive and limit the individuals' freedom and potential, thus forcing them to conform to the ideas of the government. Additionally, when Harrison Bergeron rebels against the oppressive government, he is taken away by the Handicapper General, showing that the government will not tolerate any acts of

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