Harrison Bergeron Essay

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In 1961, Kurt Vonnegut wrote “Harrison Bergeron” about a highly restricting dystopia. The idea was likely brought on by the worsening Cold War and America’s negative perception of the Soviet Union. In the short story “Harrison Bergeron,” Kurt Vonnegut conveys a satirical opinion on overbearing ideas of equality pushed by the government by depicting the negative effects of a dystopian society that is set in the future, in the United States of America. The story suggests and emphasizes the importance of individuality in humanity even though it is not explicitly stated in the text. This essay begins by dissecting the story’s society and its format, then goes on to explain how the government configuration of the dystopian society leads to the most …show more content…

Harrison’s parents are not too concerned about this, because Hazel’s average intelligence and George’s handicap prevent them from thinking about anything for a large amount of time. George “had a little mental handicap radio in his ear. He was required by law to wear it at all times. […] Every twenty seconds or so, the transmitter would send out some sharp noise to keep people like George from taking unfair advantage of their brains.” (Vonnegut 1) At this point in the story, the author is emphasizing the extremity of the situation with the fact that the government considers natural brain power an “unfair advantage.” The author also mentions the issues and discomfort that the handicaps cause the citizens. Another one of George’s handicaps is “forty-seven pounds of birdshot in a canvas bag, which was padlocked around George’s neck” in order to get rid of his athleticism (Vonnegut 2) The reason that the citizens put up with the handicaps and their inconvenience is because if they do not “we’d be back in the dark ages again, with everybody competent against everybody else.” (Vonnegut 2) However, not everyone is willing to submit to the government's …show more content…

As everyone at home watches on their television sets, Harrison makes a scene. Harrison exclaims that he is “the Emperor,” chooses a ballerina to be his Empress, and frees the two of them, a group of musicians, and other dancers from their handicaps. Immediately after this happens, the Handicapper General shoots both Harrrison and the ballerina dead for expressing individuality and encouraging others to do so as well. Then, “the Bergerons’ television tube burned out,” likely as a type of government manipulation and a scare tactic for those watching. After seeing their son shot and killed, George and Hazel immediately forget about the event and the cycle continues. The author ends the story at this point and leaves a haunting effect on the

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