Harrison Bergeron Theme

Good Essays
Setting Harrison Bergeron takes place in the year 2018, a dystopian future where the 211, 212, and 213th amendments to the constitution have deemed anything outside of total equality to be a threat to political and social stability. The attempt to equalize everyone to remove competition and conflict becomes a systematic suppression of outstanding behavior and characteristics. Unfortunately, it turns out that average and equal means unattractive, mentally and physically weak, uncreative, boring, mediocre, and generally not interesting or incredible in any way. The handicapper general makes sure that everyone is given disabilities in order to level the playing field. Plot A man who is said to be a genius, but is hindered by the loud noises…show more content…
Tv/ media is also a frequent motif throughout and it’s appearance draws our attention to the importance of media in controlling and convincing people. Yes, people are willing to submit to government. Even George, who is intelligent, is a law abiding citizen when it comes to removing weights from himself, even when the reader is led to believe that if not for his handicap and the grip of government control that he would ultimately come to the conclusion that the system is flawed. The idea of equality which is spread through the powerful tool that is the media, practically brainwashes people into tolerating the misery that is a world without good music, art, dance, ect. and constant physical and mental discomfort. Much like modern day fear of terrorist fear, the fear of conflict from removal of complete equality persuades people to submit to the government causing them discomfort like metal weights, noises in their heads, speech impediments, and a whole slew of annoyances. Although this seems far fetched from today's world, Vonnegut asks us to reflect inward on what we are told to…show more content…
The completely indifferent narration and also the factual and unemotional reactions from the characters casts a surreal, dark, deadpan, and sometimes almost comical shadow over the story. For example, when George is again faced with a barrage of terrifying noises, Hazel does nothing but cheerfully comment that it was a doozy. Vonnegut's writing is rife with this kind of humor where the reader isn’t sure whether they should cringe or laugh. It’s difficult to tell if he’s being deathly serious or joking. It’s hard to be sure what’s actually happening in this story when George’s revealing thoughts are cut off, the motif of tv comes along with lots of unreliable/ manipulative broadcast, and throughout the story the reader gets the vaguest feeling that the narrator is messing with them, joking, or possibly just unemotional and deadpan in spirit. Motif Motifs in Harrison Bergeron include noise, masks, and television. The entire story takes place in front of the television, where we see masks worn to seemingly equalize beauty, but ironically, George can still tell which balerina was the most beautiful by how hideous her mask is. The noises that frequently disrupt George’s thought seem almost to represent the nagging feeling that something is wrong in society, but he’s never able to articulate it to himself.
Get Access