Harrison Bergeron

Topics: Harrison Bergeron, Kurt Vonnegut, Dystopia Pages: 2 (571 words) Published: March 22, 2005
"The story is a satire, a parody of an ideological society divorced from common sense reality" (Townsend). As Townsend stated Kurt Vonnegut makes a satire about society in his fictional short story Harrison Bergeron, which in their society there has been attempt of conformity through the handicaps of the people, the similarity to an authoritarian government, and the technology, whereas the people will eventually overcome. The Kind if government authority seen both mimics and satirizes the way Americans came to see the enemy (the Soviet Union) during the Cold War, which was near its height of distrust and fear in the late 1950's and early 1960's.

As an attempt to make the economy better Karl Marx a philosopher thought up the philosophy of Communism. A communist government plans and controls the economy, also has an authoritarian that has total control. Often the authoritarian claims that he will progress toward a higher social order in which the people equally share all goods. Although, the citizens in Harrison Bergeron in the same way "equal every which way" in the economy but, they are also "equal every which way" in physical characteristics (Vonnegut). In which the people know that they are unequal and that is why they have the handicaps. A handicap as stated in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, in a "race or contest [an] artificial advantage is given or disadvantage imposed on a [person] to equalize chances of winning" (Merriam). In Harrison Bergeron the handicaps that are given to the people are not for a competition in a game, but are for a competition in life. The handicaps are based on what the individual citizens is better at and what they are not. For example, George one of the characters in the story, for whom is very intelligent and sharp. Because, he's so intelligent his handicap has to be a device that has a loud distinct beep that disturbs his train of thought every twenty minutes. George also has a bag of lead balls that weigh him down. The...

Cited: Alvarez, Joseph, "Overview of ‘Harrison Bergeron '," in Exploring Short stories, Gale Research, 1998.
Historical Context: "Harrison Bergeron". "EXPLORING Short Stories, Online Edition. Gale, 2003 Student Resource Center.
Vonnegut, Kurt , " Harrison Bergeron
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