Comparing and Contrasting Two Short Stories
Rocking-Horse Winner by D.H. Lawrence
And Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut
The enforcement of equality is a very controversial issue. Some believe that forcing equality will be benefit society, while others believe equality will harm it. The two viewpoints can be seen in our governments today: communism and democracy. The authors D.H. Lawrence and Kurt Vonnegut, of the two stories Rocking-Horse Winner and Harrison Bergeron respectively, exemplify these two viewpoints in the extreme. In Rocking-Horse Winner, inequality exists resulting in destructive competition amongst citizens, while in Harrison Bergeron there is an enforcement of equality which harms naturally talented individuals. The two short stories, Rocking-Horse Winner and Harrison Bergeron, use character, symbolism, and plot to show how enforced equality, or lack thereof, can destroy society, and hurt individuals.
Characters are used in both short stories to argue whether equality should be imposed or not. In Rocking-Horse Winner, the mother is used to show the existence of inequality. “Everybody else said of her: ‘She is such a good mother. She adores her children.’ Only she herself, and her children themselves, knew it was not so. They read it in each other's eyes.” The lack of money and constant need to get money illustrates she cares more about the money than the love of her children. Forcing equality would have made them less anxious and more comfortable and she would care more about her children, than money. In contrast, in Harrison Bergeron, the characters show quite the opposite. In this story, gifted individuals are required to wear handicaps to equalize them with everyone else. “The rest of Harrison’s appearance was Halloween and hardware. Nobody had ever born heavier handicaps…Instead of a little ear radio for a mental handicap, he wore tremendous pair of earphones…,” demonstrates how much of a talented individual...
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