Summary Of Harrison Bergeron

675 Words3 Pages

A “Perfect” Government for a “Perfect” Society In Kurt Vonnegut’s short story “Harrison Bergeron”, framing, beginning and ending a story in a similar way, is used to present the unwavering, tyrannous control the government has on the futuristic society in which the story takes place. One way in which Vonnegut uses framing to present the tight, unyielding hold the government has on the people living in the year 2081, is with the detail of Hazel crying. In the beginning and end of the story, tears are streaming down Hazel’s face, but when George questions as to why she is upset, she cannot recall what prompted her tears. When George tells her that it is best to forget sad things she replies with, “‘I always do’” (6). George, conditioned by the …show more content…

However, when tragedies like the murder of Harrison occur, the facade they project is jeopardized. Because the government is aware that events like this can cause uprise among citizens, they have made it so that all of the people, whether they have handicaps or not, are trained to forget things instantly. Therefore they have no chance to challenge those in power and destroy the “perfect” world they worked so hard to create. Beginning and ending the story with Hazel crying but forgetting both times what is causing her distress, shows how terrible, heartbreaking events are constantly happening. Yet these events are completely forgotten by those who witness them due to the unethical power the government yields in attempt to create what they believe is an equal and harmonious society. Vonnegut further enhances the plot and reveals the corruption of the government in their futuristic society by putting emphasis on Hazel and George watching television. After describing the world in which George and Hazel live, the story opens with, “George and Hazel were watching television” (6). Throughout the story, television is used to symbolize the way in which the government has utter …show more content…

This detail placed at both the beginning and end of the story shows how far the government will go to maintain their influence and the illusion of a flawless society. Another way in which Vonnegut uses framing to show the unceasing dominance of the government is with the sounds George hears due to his handicaps. After witnessing Harrison’s execution, George approaches Hazel but, “Paused while a handicap signal shook him up” (6) . George has lived his entire life weighed down by his handicaps, but Hazel and Harrison both encourage him to take them off, however George refuses. He has grown up being told by the government to never take them off and that the handicaps he wears are the reason their world is so “perfect.” The fact that the government has convinced George and so many others that something limiting their capabilities and causing them so much pain is actually beneficial, proves the absolute power those in authority have over everyone else. When Vonnegut closes the story with George hearing these awful sounds, he shows how the government conquers all forms of opposition, such as Harrison, and continues to burden its

Open Document