Harrison Bergeron Short Story

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In Kurt Vonnegut’s short story, “Harrison Bergeron”, Vonnegut uses Harrison’s facial handicaps to symbolize the flaws of complete equality that are hidden from society. Vonnegut’s first use of handicaps to symbolize the government’s attempt to secure their power is when the news anchor shows a picture of Harrison in his handicaps. Based on the image shown on the television, “he wore ... spectacles with thick wavy lenses.(F) The spectacles were intended to make him not only half blind, but to give him whanging headaches” (4). This quotation exhibits the unbelievable amount of control that the government is able to dictate over the people. Spectacles are used to make things clear and give you insight; however, these spectacles make Harrison and…show more content…
Those who have these spectacles are those who have perfect vision and along with vision comes understanding and insight. If the government allows them to see clearly they would be able to realise that the government is corrupt and not working to help them, but instead hurt them. To prevent them from having time to think about the idea of seeing clearly they also experience headaches because of the spectacles. Wearing spectacles with perfect vision hurts a great deal and all they can think about is making the pain stop, leaving people no time to think about what they are seeing.(G) This tactic allows for the government to carry on with their terrible ways because those that should have their eyes open to the unjust are being forced to have them shut. Another handicap that Vonnegut uses as symbolism is Harrison’s facial handicaps that the government tries to use as a cover up. The news anchor puts up a picture of Harrison on the television with all his features covered by the government that, “required that he wear at all time a red rubber ball for a nose, keep his eyebrows shaved off, and cover his even white teeth with a snaggle-tooth” (4).
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