Irony In Kurt Vonnegut's Harrison Bergeron

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In the story Harrison Bergeron, Kurt Vonnegut explores the idea of total equality. His use of irony which is present for the duration of the entire story reveals the concept that equality may not be as good as it seems. The unpredictable ending, surprising situations, and shocking character reactions all serve as illustrations to help convey Vonnegut’s theme. The society Vonnegut creates is ironic because it is based off the United States-- a place which values freedom-- but in the pursuit of equality, citizens lose their freedom to be themselves. Through the creation of the handicap system above average citizens are required to wear physical and mental handicaps in order to maintain a fair playing field for all. An example of these handicaps is George’s ear piece, a radio that transmits an interval of loud noises that prevents him from “taking unfair advantages of his brain”. The government believes this is a solution to abolish all discriminations brought upon citizens for lack of a certain attribute.…show more content…
For example Hazel and George’s fourteen year old son (Harrison) being arrested, yet they show no sorrow or even have any recollection of this event. Harrison Bergeron is depicted and referred to as a “superhuman” by explaining how he “tore the straps of his handicap harness like wet tissue paper”. By saying things like “wet tissue paper” and “Snapped like celery” Vonnegut emphasis his power and masculinity. However, despite the immense strength Harrison now possess his first choice action is to dance a ballet. Furthermore, Bergeron is shot and killed during this dance. This ending is ironic as most heroes receive a happy ending, not an execution within minutes of their escape. Also the results of this are ironic because no one, not even his parents, received or understood Harrison’s message due to the handicap system. Quite frankly his parents have no remembrance of his death or
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