The people of the United States fight and strive for an absolute “equal” society, but is it what’s really wanted? “Harrison Bergeron,” a short story written by Kurt Vonnegut, uses satire to describe the deficiency in our idea of a truly “equal” society. Throughout the story, Vonnegut describes the torture and discomfort the government administers among the people, and though they were “equal,” they were not balanced. Vonnegut uses characterization and word choice to warn his readers of the potential drawbacks of a truly “equal” society. He warns normalcy would become the base of thought, and people would become incapable of emotion. In society today, normalcy is average; some are above, and some are below. In this short story, that is removed. …show more content…
George, Hazel’s husband, has been handicapped with two things: an earphone that administers a sound every 20 seconds and a handicap bag filled with forty-seven pounds of birdshot. While this might be a lot, George continues to follow the law. “Two years in prison and a two thousand dollar fine for every ball I take out… I don’t call that a bargain” (40). Hazel fails at convincing her husband to rest his handicaps because George fears the government and their capabilities. This being said, Vonnegut uses characterization to display George’s loss of the will to fight. Most people would be angry or upset, however George cannot feel this way due to the consequences that may follow. When a character does feel a human emotion, they soon forget. “ ‘Forget the sad things.’ said George. ‘I always do,’ said Hazel”(44). Vonnegut’s word choice here shows not only the short sentences they form, but also how people are not able to remember how they feel. Instead of having the ability to feel and grow from one's emotion, people literally live in the moment and are not able to remember anything else. Because of this, the government has striped everyone of their personalities, creating the “equal”
Emmanuel Gober Mr Beach ELA Block 2 20 December 2016 Many people want equality but they should be careful what they wish for. If everyone is equal then nobody is special. In “Harrison Bergeron” Kurt Vonnegut uses satirical tone, irony, and exaggeration to warn the reader of a truly equal society and the drawbacks it can have.
As our leaders look for new path to equality with socialist ideals to make everyone equal and include more government control? “On a symbolic level, Vonnegut, depicts the enforcer of constitutional equality as the “United States Handicapper General,” and the word, handicap, provides the reader with a powerful literary metaphor which is expressed through the characters in the story. In other words, he is implying with the phrase “Handicapper General” that the concept of social equality has become so extreme and convoluted that people in this dystopian world are forced to be “handicapped” if they have special physical and intellectual attributes or advantageous genetic traits”
Short Story Final Essay (Rough Draft) Has anyone, as the reader, noticed that the author uses literary techniques to try and get their point across? Whether it be theme, tone, mood, or irony the reader can tell what the author is trying to get across. Authors Kurt Vonnegut and Shirley Jackson have an effective and powerful use of irony that can easily be seen in the classic short stories “Harrison Bergeron”, “Possibility of Evil”, and “The Lottery.” Kurt Vonnegut uses irony to express his feelings towards society today and how they are trying to become all the same in the story “Harrison Bergeron.”
The story “Harrison Bergeron”, portrays what kind of world the author, Kurt Vonnegut anticipates in the future. He illustrated that people should not try to enforce equality, ultimately because it results in a dystopian society. For instance, by altering beauty, intelligence, strength and weaknesses, the government thinks that people can become more equal. As a result, “Nobody was smarter…better looking…stronger or quicker than anybody else” (Vonnegut 1). It is normal to be born different from others.
Hazel, on the other hand “has perfectly average intelligence” and did not have any physical or mental handicaps which illustrates that she is the perfect representation of the equality the government wants to enforce. Hazel herself says “who knows better than I do what normal is” (2). Hazel does not have a mindset of her own and is unable to recognize the adversities that George had to endure due to his natural abilities. Hazel even finds George’s challenging handicaps “interesting” and would have liked to “hear all the different sounds”(2). Vonnegut uses the characters of Hazel and George to illustrate the reasons why the government formed the equal and communistic society that they live in.
In the dystopian short stories “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, and “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. both display a society that strives to make a better system, yet the participants are blind to the moral flaws that they are constructed against. While “The Lottery” strives for population control, the means of achieving it comes at the cost of a life. However “Harrison Bergeron” is the most effective in achieving equality because it attempts to make all citizens equal , and by using the ''handicap'' approach it permits society to function on a level that allows each individual to be treated the same regardless of what other qualities they may have. To begin, in “Harrison Bergeron” the society was based on fairness because anything
Of Mice and Men, By John Steinbeck, showcases the occasional brutal behavior given by George towards Lennie. George, a small man with defined features, finds himself as the leader and caretaker of Lennie, his complete opposite. Lennie, “A huge man, with wide, sloping shoulders”(2), longs to please George; however, his mental weaknesses interfere with this. Following a common occurence of Lennie forgetting instructions made by George, he explains, “‘I tried not to forget. Honest to God I did, George’” (4).
Equality is a complex issue because it depends on the standards of the person defining it. It should mean that everyone has the same opportunity as everyone else, but that is not true. Equality is defined as the quality or state of having the same rights, social status, etc.” (Merriam-Webster). In Kurt Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron”, the government set standards for being equal at the expense of the individuality and freedom of the citizens.
The short story “Harrison Bergeron”, was first published in October 1961 issue of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Some other works Kurt Vonnegut has written are, “Player Piano”, “The Sirens of Titan”, “Mother Night”, and “Cats Cradle” are just a few of the novels Vonnegut has written. Kurt Vonnegut has drawn on facts and incidents in his own life in his writings. Kurt’s short stories range from visions of future societies, that are extensions of modern societies. Many of his writings are ones that are science fiction.
Although equality is an attribute that many countries have been trying to achieve for years now, Kurt Vonnegut uses equality against the characters in Harrison Bergeron. He makes it so that every character is equal in any possible way, from how smart they are to what they look like. Because of this, everyone and everything in their society is average. The author uses a society in need of help to assist him when explaining that equality in every possible way is not always the best thing. The theme in the short story, Harrison Bergeron, by Kurt Vonnegut is that people do not need to be equal in every possible way but the different strengths and weaknesses in each person makes them equal.
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.
Once a person is introduced into different ways of thinking, they feel that they are restricted to think in other ways. This restriction, is the handicap. The handicap prevents George from thinking too much. From using his ability to think in a different way. In this society, many people appear that they are not open minded.
Imagine you have no control over your strength and you share your emotions in a dissimilar way. Imagine you are always dependent on someone else; you shadow their every step and word. You are now in the giant shoes of Lennie Smalls; he has a retardation (autism) that makes him unique and stand out of the run-of-the-mill crowd. On the day the horrific homicide took place, George Milton, the suspect, stole not only a Ruger gun but also an innocent
Hazel said to George, “ Take the handicapped off, it 's only here so that you can relax.” George said, “If that how it was, we 're all going back to judging and comparing.” Vonnegut’s thoughts on individualism are that being individual and acting a way that is unique doesn 't fit into our society and won 't be accepted. In the story, a “rebel” decided to take of his handicapped, and to become different and be free in how he is but he was brought down and shot dead by a officer.
Rather than run the risk of people existing as different entities, they force them to stay the same for the sake of equality. While Vonnegut’s short story may be an extreme example of sameness, “Harrison Bergeron” displays the terrible outcome that could be caused by the concentration on sameness. Drawing back to a less extreme example, imagine the two men at the gym. Perhaps one man is naturally stronger than the other man and therefore is able to lift more weight. Sameness in this circumstance is forcing the stronger man to deny himself of progress and lift the same as the weaker man, despite his natural