Harrison Bergeron: Negotiation of Identity
In a world with no individuality, is it possible for humanity to progress? In the short story, “Harrison Bergeron,” the author, Kurt Vonnegut, presents the idea of a conformed society in which everyone is totally equal; if one is superior to another, then they must wear a certain handicap to supress their talent. However, the flaw in this type of society is the loss of one’s identity and freedom. A conformed society technically wouldn’t be very equal because the government would still have power over the citizens and this could lead to a possibility of a dictatorship. Also, there wouldn’t be any innovation within a conformed society because everyone would be equal and competition wouldn’t exist therefore society wouldn’t be able to progress. The author conveys that a system such as this can’t be totally equal and it would also consist of a loss of freedom and identity which would lead to a society that wouldn’t be able to progress due to a lack of innovation.
A conformed society leads to the loss of individualism and freedom; this idea is presented through the main characters in the story. George, Harrison’s father, is a man whose mind is above average. For this reason, the government, which is led by a tyrant known as the handicapper general, restrains George’s talent by giving him an earpiece that makes an irritating sound every twenty seconds and this prevents George’s ability of thinking. This type of method changes a person’s identity because they are not allowed to think for themselves; instead they are required to wear a handicap to subdue their abilities that give them their identity. Not only does this society lack individualism, but also one’s freedom. For example, Harrison Bergeron is kept in a prison under heavy handicaps due to his advanced physical and mental abilities. This invades one’s freedom because it restrains one from using their abilities.
In addition, a world such as Harrison’s isn’t very...
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