The Social Norm In Kurt Vonnegut's Harrison Bergeron

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Imagine a world with complete equality. No one more skilled, more intelligent or more attractive than another. Where failure is applauded and mediocrity is the social norm. This is the world in the short story “Harrison Bergeron,” written by Kurt Vonnegut in 1961. Vonnegut illustrates the disasters of an extremely equal society through the use of satirical irony, imagery and characterization. The story is set in America in the year 2081, where the United States government has finally achieved equality for all its citizens due to the 211th, 212th and 213th amendments in the constitution and the Handicapper General agents. However, instead of raising the standards of those with learning disabilities and defects it in fact considers this the new criterion. The main characters George and Hazel Bergeron are sitting in their living rooms watching ballerinas dancing on a television program. George’s intelligence is way above normal so he must keep a mental handicap radio in his ear to disrupt any unnecessary thoughts to ensure he is no smarter than the average citizen such as his wife Hazel - who is good natured but rather feeble-minded (Vonnegut …show more content…

Valdoz states, “Humans are Squidwards who dream of balance and perfection. However, when everything flows smoothly, we ‘die’ of boredom” (Valdoz 1). At first Squidward is delighted about his new lifestyle but quickly grows to despise it. Rebelling against this “utopia” such as Harrison did against the Handicapper General and longing to return to his old unpredictable bizarre life in Bikini Bottom. Even if equality was somehow achieved humanity will never let it last. We, as humans, are intolerant selfish creatures and would rather live comfortably than sacrifice for the common

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