Socialism And Capitalism In Harrison Bergeron, By Kurt Vonnegut

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“Harrison Bergeron,” written by Kurt Vonnegut at the time of the Cold War, is a short story that takes place in a future world of the year 2081 where the Handicapper General and the law force the beautiful to wear masks, the intelligent to wear earpieces that disrupt their thoughts, and the athletic to wear heavy physical restraints, so that everyone may be equal in the categories of beauty, intelligence, and athleticism; a world where the people “[are] equal in every which way.” (Vonnegut 1) What the many readers of “Harrison Bergeron” seem to misinterpret is that the entire story is an allegory to the political systems of Socialism/Communism and that Vonnegut utilizes symbols in the story that either expose the glaring flaws of left-wing politics or advance the supposedly far-superior ideology of American capitalism. In actuality, Vonnegut’s use of symbols in “Harrison Bergeron,” and the entire story itself is a satire of the common American’s ignorant misunderstandings of left-wing politics at the time of the Cold War. Vonnegut once said at a college commencement speech, “I suggest that you work for a socialist form of government … It isn 't moonbeams to talk of modest plenty for all. They have it in Sweden.” (Hattenhauer 387) Given this and many more instances where Vonnegut’s spoken word was documented in support of left-wing politics, this interpretation of Vonnegut’s intent behind the story is much more convincing. Political context analysis of the story’s
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