Is the conception of equality with gender, economic status, and talents truly achievable or simply a myth? The idea and possibility of equality appeals human’s emotional nature. It’s everyone ideal image and vision of how the world should be. However, can equality in every aspect potentially handicap one who’s potentially gifted? In the passage, “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut (1961), he creates a strictly equitable society. In this “utopian” society, each person is treated equally despite each person’s characteristics or talents. Those who could be considered gifted or highly intelligent receive handicaps. One cannot compete, and display the talents or beauty granted to them at birth. Every individual is normal and rendered below-average in intelligence, strength, and ability.
Concept 1: Characteristics of Giftedness
The federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act defines gifted and talented students as “Students, children, or youth who give evidence of high achievement capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and who need services and activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop those capabilities.” [Title IX, Part A, Definition 22. (2002)] (www.nagc.org ). However, there are other definitions of giftedness from other pioneers of gifted education. There are common characteristics and attributes of gifted individuals. However, gifted individuals are not one and the same. These characteristics may vary depending on the individual’s cultural background, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and domain of giftedness (i.e. artistic, musical, dramatics, etc). Various empirical studies have been completed in regards to identifying common characteristics of students who are gifted. The characteristics have been subdivided into intellectual/academic, affective and emotional, and creative. The following academic characteristics are recurring but not limited to: early and rapid learning, rapid language development as a child, superior language ability, academic dominance, superior analytic ability, keen observation, advanced reasoning/problem solving, extrapolates knowledge to new situations, long attention span, communication skills, and a well-developed memory. The affective and emotional characteristics of students who are gifted include: high career ambitions, expanded awareness, over excitability, strong empathy, moral thinking, reflectiveness, independent, inquisitive, perfectionism, excessive self-criticism, and nonconformity. Creative characteristics of a gifted student include: imaginative, creative, solves problems, and preference for novelty (Karnes & Stephens, 2008).
Throughout the story “Harrison Bergeron”, both Harrison and his father George, are above average, and Harrison is considered a genius. Harrison is a fourteen-year-old, who possesses intelligence so immense that he is arrested “on suspicion of plotting to overthrow the government. Harrison harbors superior academic ability, and thinking that is abstract, complex, logical and insightful. Harrison had the heaviest handicaps, and outgrew hindrances faster than the H-G team could construct them. Yet again, this demonstrates his high-level thinking skills and ability to solve problems. Harrison is unusually strong and athletic as well, and was exactly seven feet tall. Harrison demonstrates his incorrigible strength by tearing his straps guaranteed to support five thousand pounds.
Harrison’s superior academic ability, ability to analyze, nonconformity, and rebellious demeanor affected his socially, academically, and emotionally. He was isolated from his family and friends due to his intelligence. This separation affected him socially and emotionally. However despite the separation and confinement, he was still resilient. The text stated that he continued to outgrow each hindrance that the H-G men created for him. Academically, Harrison was...
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