Harrison Bergeron

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An impartial society: Utopia or Hell? What would happen to the world if the people were literally equal in every aspect of their lives? In the futuristic short story, “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut Jr., the world is finally living up to America’s first amendment of everyone being created equal. In this society, the gifted, strong, and beautiful are required to wear handicaps of earphones, heavy weights, and hideous masks, respectively. Thus, these constraints leave the world equal from brains to brawn to beauty. With the world constantly pushing for equality among people, Vonnegut reveals a world that society is diligently working toward. Through this foreshadowing of the future, Vonnegut attempts to use Diana Moon Glampers and Harrison Bergeron as mechanisms to reveal and warn of the dangers of the two extremes--too equal or too unjust.

Diana Moon Glampers, the Handicapper General, symbolically portrays the idea of fairness in a society. She is the one in charge of lowering the capacity of a bright and intelligent person to the level of a normal and unaware being. In the beginning of the story, the reader is given a picture of the world that Diana Moon Glampers watches upon:

The year was 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren't only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the…Amendments to the Constitution, and…vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General. (Vonnegut 234)

Diana Moon Glampers is the one who maintains the idea of "checks and balances" among the society of 2081. In God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, Glampers is portrayed as a "sixty-year-old virgin who, by almost anybody's standards, was too dumb to live….No one had ever loved her. There was no reason why anybody should. She was ugly, stupid, and boring" (Vit)....
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