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Government's Restriction of Free Will Depicted in Kurt Vonnegut's "2BR02B", "Welcome to the Monkey House", and "Harrison Bergeron"

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Many books, novels, and stories have been written about the U.S. government and the ways that it runs the country. Some of these books are praising, and some are very critical. Kurt Vonnegut is an author that does both simultaneously. Kurt Vonnegut's "2BR02B", "Welcome to the Monkey House", and "Harrison Bergeron" depict Vonnegut's view of the future through the central theme of a supreme government that restricts free will. Each of these stories have great examples of this theme, and he shows his view of the future of the United States through them in all entirety.


"Harrison Bergeron" is a great example of a story that depicts governmental dictation and lack of free will. Within this story, equality is the focus of life. The government formulated handicaps so that everyone would be equal, no matter how talented he or she is. That restriction of free will is the main theme of the short story, and Vonnegut goes into great detail about them. "Such methods of control include mental handicap radios in ears which emit ghastly sounds to interrupt and control thought, masks which conceal exceptionally attractive faces and clothing which does the same for bodies, and weights that the physically strong carry at all times, like handicaps for horses." (Reed). Most of the people mentioned in the book have a few of those mentioned, except for Harrison Bergeron, who has them all, plus some extra. Harrison is so gifted that the government takes him from his family to contain him from the public "Harrison... is so exceptionally gifted physically, artistically, and mentally that the HG (Handicapper General) men come and take him away. Harrison escapes...[and] throws off his physical handicaps..." (Reed). The act of total control by the govern...


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Votteler, Thomas. “Kurt Vonnegut (1922- ).” Literature Criticism Online. InfoTrac, 1991. . Rpt. in Literature Criticism Online. Vol. 8. N.p.: n.p., n.d. 423-440. Literature Criticism Online. Web. 24 Feb. 2010.
“Welcome to the Monkey House.” Google. N.p., n.d. . Rpt. in Welcome to the Monkey House. By Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. N.p.: Delacorte Press, 1968. 352. Print.


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