There are many short stories in literature that share a common theme presented in different ways. A theme that always keeps readers’ attention is that of death because it is something that no one wants to face in real life, but something that can be easily faced when reading. “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut and “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson both exemplify how two authors use a common theme of death to stand as a metaphor for dystopian societies.
Kurt Vonnegut wrote novels and short stories with a darker tone. Vonnegut was a prisoner of war during World War II. He witnessed the firebombing of Dresden, Germany, which according to him changed his life forever. While a prisoner, he spent a few years working for Nazis in an old meat house where animals were slaughtered. That is where the basis of his novel Slaughterhouse Five came from. Due to the horrible things he took part in during World War II, many of his novels are related to wrong-doings or dysfunctional societies (Smith par 8-9). His short story “Harrison Bergeron” is about a society in the future who is more than controlled by the government. The government wants to make everyone equal and attempts to do so through changing a person’s intelligence level and other minor qualities such as strength or social class. What was interesting was that fact that rather than making the weak stronger, the stronger were made weak. It is clear this is a satirical piece of literature for the reason that when reading this, it is obvious the future was embellished and it was not going to be how the story portrayed it.
“Vonnegut has shown a disdain for social Darwinism, the theory that individuals or groups achieve advantage over others as the re...
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... it was against his will because of his reaction. In “The Lottery,” it is easy to tell throughout the story that the lottery drawing is not a positive thing. People are eager to find out if they are the lottery winners because they are waiting to find out if they will die. Their tone is out of desperation in hopes of living for the reason that they do not want to be stoned.
I do believe that dystopian literature possesses some flaws because it could be unethical to the viewer; however, the dark and weary tone throughout the stories kept me wanting to read more. Even though the deaths of Harrison and Mrs. Hutchinson were brutal, it brought together the piece as a whole to make it a part of dystopian literature. In the future, if I were to write something, I now have some knowledge on the concept of dystopia which could allow for a better piece of literature.
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