Harrison Bergeron: the Power of Conformity

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The Power of Conformity

In society we long to obtain the perception of a utopia, a visionary system of political or social perfection. A utopia is an ideology that consists of a perfect society that runs by perfect regulations, and because of this, our society tries to place rules on us as individuals as to what is acceptable and what is not in order to achieve this sense of equilibrium. We are then left with deciding for ourselves whether to conform to such a social decorum. In Harrison Bergeron, we encounter a society that has finally reached complete equality in the eyes of the author. However, throughout the text, we learn that our expectations that are imposed by society could result in chaos and that there is an extent of danger that total equality presents with it. We live in a society where competition is valued, a certain amount of competition has always been good. From a health standpoint, competition makes us work harder and train to be better athletes, and thus healthier in general. From a business standpoint, it drives companies to improve their products, to streamline their production methods and develop the most effective methods of distributing wares. Even in healthcare, when physicians compete to be the best in their fields, it drives them to develop new medical discoveries. Competition as an entirety brings our world forward, which is a definite advantage for us. In Harrison Bergeron, we are faced with our perception of what seems to be a utopia, to be accomplished. Strangely enough, when Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. writes, “They were burdened with sash weights and bags of birdshot, and their faces were masked, so that no one, seeing a free and graceful gesture or a pretty face, would feel like the cat drug in.” (Harrison Bergeron, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.), he reveals the drastic measures that were needed to take place in order for our goal of a utopian society to exist. The dancers on the television screen were given such extreme handicaps that...
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