Vocabulary In Kurt Vonnegut's Harrison Bergeron

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One of the most popular short stories penned by Kurt Vonnegut, a 1950’s American novelist, is Harrison Bergeron, published in 1961. In this strange tale, Kurt Vonnegut utilizes contrast in his vocabulary as well as in his story to illustrate several controversial themes and ideas. Vonnegut, through his various contrasting phrases and adjectives, is able to establish his themes eminently well. One ideal example is of the beautiful ballerina when she announces the news on television. Vonnegut’s words in this scene effectively emphasize his message and enlighten the readers of the kind of world these characters live in. Additionally, contrast is illustrated brilliantly by the cause of Harrison Bergeron’s insanity and his struggle to exert his…show more content…
This causes Harrison’s delirious belief of his higher rank. “‘I am the Emperor!’ cried Harrison. ‘Do you hear? I am the Emperor! Everybody must do what I say at once!’” This childish demand from a boy the size of an elephant also jars the reader’s understanding. Why would a boy act like this? Because of sameness. Harrison would have been an anomaly in our own diverse world, and probably very famous. Thus, when compared to the flatter and fairer world of the future, Harrison was unbelievable. His enormous bonds and heavy chains couldn’t even prevent his prison breaks and tantrums. Ripping them off like clay, he doesn’t escape from that awful place or attempt to find a better life for himself, as an average reader would expect. He is still a child in heart and mind, and must order and whine for his “rightful” place in life because he doesn’t want or know of any other way. Because of his superiority in talent and strength, compared to his parents, peers, and leaders, Harrison feels he deserves the right to be Emperor but instead is met with a sorrowful ending to his childish…show more content…
But why? Why would he use a future world of averages and sameness to teach us about differences and diversity? Simply, it is because a reality of sameness contrasts so much with our own reality. Vonnegut recognized the power and the lasting impression of a message served in a story of unusual circumstances. It is ironic this story is so impressive, because if you compare the beginning and ending of the story, virtually nothing happened. But, again, Vonnegut knew it would be powerful, and so he used it. By utilizing the principles and mechanics of messages and stories, Kurt Vonnegut achieves his goal of gaining our attention and
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