Literary Analysis for Harrison Bergeron

Topics: Harrison Bergeron, Kurt Vonnegut, Dystopia Pages: 2 (609 words) Published: October 26, 2014
The short story, Harrison Bergeron, was written by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. In the story, we see many uses of different literary devices that help us understand the world they are living in. Similes introduce us to the loud, distracting sounds that go off in George’s head every time he is about to take advantage of his brain. The handicaps that certain people are chosen to wear symbolize their strength, intelligence, and beauty. Vonnegut uses allusions to reference a Greek god and the Constitution. I chose this story because I was fascinated by this world where everyone was “equal” and by Harrison’s fearlessness in challenging the laws and his desire to be free.

In Harrison Bergeron, many similes are used to describe the sounds that block George from thinking too much. When Hazel, George’s wife, asked what the transmitter had sounded like, he responded, “sounded like somebody hitting a milk bottle with a ball peen hammer.” At times when George remembers his son, Harrison, sounds “like a twenty-one-gun salute in his head,” will interrupt his train of thought. These sounds are used so nobody is smarter than anybody else. Some people in this story can’t even use their real voice because it would be unfair. When a ballerina spoke, “Her voice was a warm, luminous, timeless melody,” but she was immediately forced to apologize and use a voice that was uncompetitive. Vonnegut used a metaphor to compare the beauty in the ballerina’s voice to a melody.

In Harrison Bergeron, many people who are beautiful or stronger than others must wear handicaps so everyone will feel equal. Forcing beautiful women to wear masks actually backfires because you can tell how pretty someone is by how hideous their mask is. For example, the ballerina that read the bulletin aloud “must have been extraordinarily beautiful, because the mask she wore was hideous.” The ballerinas “were burdened with sashweights and bags of birdshot,” because of their strength. It must be difficult to wear those...
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