March 5, 2013
A Dystopian Masterpiece
In his short story, “Harrison Bergeron”, author Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. tells about a society, or America, in the future being ruled by a totalitarian government, whose number one law, is equality. Everyone is treated equally by law; no one is smarter, faster, stronger or more beautiful than another. The people of the society are forced to conform to handicaps by wearing weights around their neck or masks to hide a beautiful face. Vonnegut shows how far people are willing to go for equality and putting people in degrading situations just to make them equal. Is someone truly equal in a dystopian society, where being above average is not normal and being almost dumb is almost completely normal? In order to demonstrate Harrison Bergeron is living under dystopian society, the reader must examine a society were there are too many laws, in which is the public is being regulated by the state, everyone being forced to conform. One of the qualities of a dystopian society is being regulated by the state; every move made by the public is being watched, making sure that no one is above equality. Equality is taken very seriously, so serious that it became “the 211th, 212th and the 213th amendment to the Constitution” (1).This shows that at least a few centuries ago when the constitution was written there were just enough amendments but now in 2081 there is more then two hundred. So many amendments, each time a new amendment is added little of equality is taken away. Anyone who was of above average intelligence, beauty, or strength was required to wear a handicap, weights around their neck or an earpiece tuned to the government. Tampering with these weights would automatically give “two years in prison and a two thousand dollar fine” (2). These weights weighed over forty-five pounds, who would not want to rid that, but is that the price they must pay for equality. Vonnegut character Harrison Bergeron who was above average intelligence,...
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