Kurt Vonnegut 's Dystopian World Essay

Kurt Vonnegut 's Dystopian World Essay

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Set one hundred and twenty years in the future, Kurt Vonnegut’s dystopian world short story “Harrison Bergeron” is about the outcome of what happens when the government takes over due to people in society pleading for equality. Ranging from physical looks to one’s intelligence, it seems that people are continually unsatisfied with themselves when compared to others. However, there is one boy who refuses to conform to the laws set in place by the Handicapper General. Harrison Bergeron is that boy. The story tells of his capture, rebellion, and his demise due to breaking free from the laws of equality. In whole, Kurt Vonnegut wants his readers to assess the issue of equality in society before the made up world of his story turns into reality.

To begin with, the first paragraph in the story describes how everyone in the society had achieved equality through laws that had been set in place by the government. Mr. Vonnegut writes that “they weren’t only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way.” By this he is saying that everyone no longer has their own individual identity. Therefore, due to the 211th, 213th, and the 214th amendments, everyone had to follow rules to make them equal with others. Anyone that was more beautiful or more handsome than others had to wear masks to disguise their faces. Also, if anyone was above average intelligence they had to wear mental handicaps in their ears. And in some way the government and their people seemed to think that that made them equal between each other and with God, as well. And although this seemed to be their thinking, it is flawed. If God had wanted everyone to be equal, then why had he created everyone differently? No human being is meant to look like one another, no...


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...so takes from the people the right the be an individual; to be set apart from what society expects one to look like, or what they are expected to think about. Equality is not something that is given when a human being is born, but rather, it is something that is made. The story of Harrison and his parents nudges at the idea that total and complete equality is something that is not worth pushing for because even though it sounds nice the outcome can be dangerous if it is interpreted too literally; it also gives a way for the government to have even more control over the people. The day that the United States government can have control over a person, including their thoughts and ideas, is a scary day for a country that is supposed to represent freedom. And while equality should be had between men and woman, it cannot be expected when it comes to looks and intelligence.

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