Premium Essay

A Reflection on Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut

In: English and Literature

Submitted By Greerdavis
Words 957
Pages 4
A Reflection on Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut
Introduction
Kurt Vonnegut Jr.’s short story, Harrison Bergeron, is about control. The setting is based in future America, where everyone is forced to be equal. Harrison, the main character, breaks the law as the country watches on TV. The story begins by mentioning Amendments 211 through 213, making the reader aware of limitations that could potentially be placed on their freedom. In this story of perception, government agents are the deciding factor of a person’s fate and they ensure that laws are enforced.
Beautiful people must wear hideous masks to make them equal to the ugly, the brilliant wear ear devices that alter their thought process and make recollection near impossible and the strong wear weighted bags to make them equal to those who are weak
(Vonnegut, 1961). Forced equality is questioned by the handicapped and the outcome is a controlled society. Harrison is used to represent the people who will protest against such laws and encourage others to support his cause. The central idea is that the government could never make a perfect world by enforcing total equality but they can place limitations on people.
Discussion
Vonnegut uses a satirical and humorous tone while presenting a serious topic to critique America in the 1960’s, both politically and socially. The political system in the story is egalitarianism; this is the belief that all people should be treated equally in every way. “Harrison Bergeron” suggests the possible outcome of a society if it is founded too
3
literally on the idea that all men should be treated equally. Vonnegut functions as a nonparticipant narrator in the short story in order to convey the dangers that egalitarianism can cause if taken too seriously. His satirical tone presents an awareness of how “equality” leads to

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Fiscal Policy

...“Harrison Bergeron” Kurt Vonnegut was born in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1922, and ten years later The Great Depression began. In this time, Vonnegut had to adapt to living in impoverished conditions because of his father’s lack of financial means. The Great Depression was a crucial period in his childhood development; Vonnegut’s literary pieces are a reflection of what he observed the world to be through his own life experiences. The majority of his works are science fiction used to “[help] lend form to the presentation of this world view without imposing a falsifying causality upon it (Reed),” as Peter Reed mentioned in an autobiography about Kurt Vonnegut. Vonnegut believed that science fiction offers a perception into an everyday society, rather than escaping it. The extraordinary events he experienced throughout his life served as motivation and influenced him to write stories about the world; as a result, Vonnegut showed an immense appreciation about life in his literary pieces. Kurt Vonnegut continued to pursue his goal of demonstrating to the world how wonderful life is through creations in the graphic arts. In 1950, Vonnegut published his first short story, “Report on the Barnhouse Effect” followed by “The Sirens of Titan” (1959), “Cat’s Cradle” (1963), “Slaughterhouse-Five” (1969), and “Breakfast of Champions” (1973). The society in which Kurt Vonnegut was a part of highly valued the ideal of equality; the short story “Harrison Bergeron” was written to foreshadow the...

Words: 1202 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Literary Analysis Harrison Bergeron

...answers remain unanswered, but Kurt Vonnegut made his inference alive in “Harrison Bergeron.” The story is a reflection of the United States in 2081, and it’s new government where everyone is physically and mentally identical, except for Harrison Bergeron. The conflict in “Harrison Bergeron” was Harrison Bergeron expressing his individuality versus accepting the rules of equality that the government has imposed. Vonnegut portrayed the government as a “big brother” to the nation. The government controlled everything by making everyone “the same.” They used media to control citizens’ minds and to frighten them from doing things--pretty much how the government does things today. However, not everyone agreed to how the government controlled things, causing a disruption in the society. Vonnegut’s message is that equality is impossible to achieve, and that it’s not worth risking your life for. The government was portrayed as the “big brother” of the United States because they controlled all actions. They did so by equalizing everyone...

Words: 575 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Harrison Bergeron And Fahrenheit 451 Comparison

...not-yet[…]and they are simple phrases: What if…? If only…? If this goes on…" (Gaiman xi). Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 utilizes the latter of these three phrases. Bradbury pictures that if our society continues to substitute knowledge with instant, mindless gratification, the product would be similar to that of Guy Montag's world. Likewise, "Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. is created around the phrase, "What if...?" Vonnegut's story was developed while thinking about how the world would be if people were handicapped based on their strengths and weaknesses. The genre of science fiction conveys an author's feelings towards our community, and typically towards our community's future. Both of these texts demonstrate a strong theme, while simultaneously allowing these themes to reveal truths about our society. Firstly, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury demonstrates a theme of how one must be aware and knowledgeable to...

Words: 1000 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Essay

...[pic] JPPSS ELA COURSE GUIDE 2011-2012 ENGLISH I The JPPSS Instructional Sequence Guides are aligned with the LA Comprehensive Curriculum. JPPSS Implementation of Activities in the Classroom Incorporation of activities into lesson plans is critical to the successful implementation of the Louisiana Comprehensive Curriculum. The Comprehensive Curriculum indicates one way to align instruction with Louisiana standards, benchmarks, and grade-level expectations. The curriculum is aligned with state content standards, as defined by grade-level expectations (GLEs), and organized into coherent, time-bound units with sample activities and classroom assessments to guide teaching and learning. The units in the curriculum have been arranged so that the content to be assessed will be taught before the state testing dates. While teachers may substitute equivalent activities and assessments based on the instructional needs, learning styles, and interests of their students, the Comprehensive Curriculum should be a primary resource when planning instruction. Grade level expectations—not the textbook—should determine the content to be taught. Textbooks and other instructional materials should be used as resource in teaching the grade level expectations...

Words: 21740 - Pages: 87

Free Essay

The Astrology

...The New Astrology by SUZANNE WHITE Copyright © 1986 Suzanne White. All rights reserved. 2 Dedication book is dedicated to my mother, Elva Louise McMullen Hoskins, who is gone from this world, but who would have been happy to share this page with my courageous kids, April Daisy White and Autumn Lee White; my brothers, George, Peter and John Hoskins; my niece Pamela Potenza; and my loyal friends Kitti Weissberger, Val Paul Pierotti, Stan Albro, Nathaniel Webster, Jean Valère Pignal, Roselyne Viéllard, Michael Armani, Joseph Stoddart, Couquite Hoffenberg, Jean Louis Besson, Mary Lee Castellani, Paula Alba, Marguerite and Paulette Ratier, Ted and Joan Zimmermann, Scott Weiss, Miekle Blossom, Ina Dellera, Gloria Jones, Marina Vann, Richard and Shiela Lukins, Tony Lees-Johnson, Jane Russell, Jerry and Barbara Littlefield, Michele and Mark Princi, Molly Friedrich, Consuelo and Dick Baehr, Linda Grey, Clarissa and Ed Watson, Francine and John Pascal, Johnny Romero, Lawrence Grant, Irma Kurtz, Gene Dye, Phyllis and Dan Elstein, Richard Klein, Irma Pride Home, Sally Helgesen, Sylvie de la Rochefoucauld, Ann Kennerly, David Barclay, John Laupheimer, Yvon Lebihan, Bernard Aubin, Dédé Laqua, Wolfgang Paul, Maria José Desa, Juliette Boisriveaud, Anne Lavaur, and all the others who so dauntlessly stuck by me when I was at my baldest and most afraid. Thanks, of course, to my loving doctors: James Gaston, Richard Cooper, Yves Decroix, Jean-Claude Durand, Michel Soussaline and...

Words: 231422 - Pages: 926