Words And Themes In Kurt Vonnegut's Harrison Bergeron

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“Harrison Bergeron” Kurt Vonnegut’s Dystopian story “Harrison Bergeron” takes place in the year 2081 in the United States. Everyone is forced to wear handicaps to slow down their physical and mental capabilities to be “equal” to everyone else. Harrison Bergeron is an exceptionally strong man that emerges in the middle of the story. He must wear multiple handicaps that deny him his ability to use his strength against the government. One theme that emerges from the story is that true equality is impossible to achieve, no matter how much pain a superior bring to others. Kurt Vonnegut develops this theme throughout the story from page 1 to page 6. Early in the story, Vonnegut describes two people, George and Hazel Bergeron, as ordinary people watching television. While watching ballerinas perform, George hears a loud and painful noise coming from his mental handicaps. At the same time, the ballerinas on television fell to the floor as a result of the noise they heard (p. 1). Kurt Vonnegut uses descriptive words and sentences to convey how painful the noise was. “George was white and trembling, and tears stood on the rims of his red eyes. Two of the eight ballerinas had collapsed to the studio floor, and were holding their temples.” Vonnegut makes it clear that the victims of the noise were heavily affected. To add onto the mental…show more content…
4). Vonnegut uses descriptive words and sentences to show how Harrison Bergeron felt when he was burdened with the 500-pound harness and handicaps. When he meant this, he probably meant that his handicaps were making him weak. Following that incident, Harrison the “selects his Empress” and “plucked the mental handicap from her ear, snapped off her physical handicaps with marvelous delicacy. Last of all he removed her mask” (p. 4). Vonnegut then describes Harrison tearing off his handicaps easily, which rejects the government’s way of
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