Kurt Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron” is a short story about the future, composed of 92 paragraphs that sends a message that total equality is not worth striving for, for freedom is the cost of equality. Equality is more or less achieved but at the price of freedom and individual achievement. For all of the people to be equal, some people who are stronger that normal, have to wear weights all the time, girls that are more beautiful have to cover their faces. The more advantage they have, the greater the handicap they have to wear and lug around. The setting of the story takes place in two places; one in the living room couch of George and Hazel Bergeron, the other in the television they were watching. In the story, the government enforces laws that make all people equal. While George and hazel are watching television, George talks about the effects of disobeying the society’s laws and thus foreshadows future events. In the middle of the show of ballet dancers dancing, a news report flashes in the screen about their son, Harrison, escaping from jail. Harrison appears in the studio where the ballerinas are dancing and takes of his handicaps, which included his red nose, transmitter, and weights. He also, declares himself as the emperor, and “everybody should do as [he] says at once” (Vonnegut). Harrison chooses an empress and commands the orchestra to play beautiful music. As they dance, they jump in to the air, reaching the climax of the story, and defy the laws of gravity and motion. The Handicapper General, Diana Moon Glampers, arrives at the scene with a gun and kills both Harrison and his empress. In the end, Hazel starts crying and George walks back in the living room asking why she was crying. Although as usual, Hazel forgets everything that happened and doesn’t remember her son anymore.
The point of view of the narrator of the story is a third person limited. Vonnegut uses third person perspective to let the readers think and analyze what the characters...
Cited: Hattenhauer, Darryl."The Politics of Kurt Vonnegut 's "Harrison Bergeron"." Studies in Short
Fiction (Newberry) 35.4 (Fall 1998): 387-91. Proquest.
Vonnegut, Kurt. "Harrison Bergeron." Welcome to the Monkey House: A Collection of Short
Works. New York: Delta Trade Paperbacks, 1998. Print.
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