Mr. Marc Bourget
11 September 2012
Society of Equality
The story “Harrison Bergeron” written by the famous American writer, Kurt Vonnegut, is about the equal society. From my point of view, it seems that the equal society being described by Vonnegut is not so good as many people may think. The characters were brainwashed by various factors. They think that the equal society is better than the society nowadays because there’s no competition and capitalism. The story makes whoever reads it think about the term “Equality” and the far-reaching consequence it poses to the society and humanity.
The major conflict in the story is an external conflict between Harrison and the government. The government oppressed people through the handicaps to make everyone equal. But, Harrison doesn’t want to be bent by the circumstances. In fact, he is disillusioned and pictures himself as the next emperor, acquiring the most power in the society.
The conflict is shown clearly at the beginning, in which we find Hazel and George, Harrison’s parents, suffering because of their “ability”. George, for instance, has to wear the head handicap because he’s too intelligent. Not only does he have to suffer from the handicap, one can also see that George was brainwashed to think that the equal society is good for himself even he has to wear a handicap as dictated by the government. For example, when Hazel tells George to take his handicap off, he says, “If I tried to get away with it … then other people would get away with it - and pretty soon we would be right back to the dark ages again, with everyone competing against everybody else.”
Another conflict, which caused a very big problem to people in the society, is that everyone with a talent or gift or anything that makes one ahead of the other is required to wear a handicap to create the governments’ so-called “equality.” Moreover, those who had a pleasant faces are required to put on a hideous...