Satire In Harrison Bergeron

589 Words3 Pages
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.
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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”
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