In the short story, “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut the literary device, symbolism, develops the central idea. The central idea being, the government’s oppression and how it affects people. It is easy to rise from oppression, but people are too afraid to stand up. Harrison’s hindrance is that the government does not allow anyone to take off the handicaps. Harrison overcomes the obstacle by proving the government wrong, and doing the contrary. Symbolism is represented in the scene where Harrison declares he is emperor and when he rises to the ceiling with the ballerina, “And then in an explosion of joy and grace, into the air they sprang!” This act is symbolic because it shows that even if the government has control, there are people brave enough to outcome the consequences. Symbolism is developed throughout the story because it starts out with everyone being the same, having the same handicap problems. The symbol used in the scene is freedom because Harrison and the ballerina are freed from the handicaps; “Harrison plucked the mental handicap from her ear, snapped off her physical handicaps with marvelous delicacy. Last of all, he removed her mask.” This quote shows Harrison standing up to the government. It supports the central idea, because it shows the complete opposite of the government oppressing people. For Harrison the government may have caused oppression, and affected him but he stood up to show that the government might be wrong in some actions. The fact that Harrison stood up shows how they have different thinking, even if they have the same handicaps. Even if Harrison was 14 years old he proved the society that the government can’t take advantage of their brains.
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