Illustration of false equality
"The year was 2081, and everybody was finally equal" (208). This in a nutshell is the premise of Kurt Vonnegut’s short story "Harrison Bergeron". Vonnegut’s title character Harrison Bergeron is a picture perfect human being: very tall, handsome and intelligent. Although our society would deem these desirable attributes, in this story’s 2081 AD setting they are highly objectionable. Kurt Vonnegut uses the character Harrison Bergeron to illustrate the danger of imposing total equality on a diversified population.
In Bergeron’s society uniformity is strictly imposed upon all citizens. Physical adjustments are levied to achieve this uniformity: tall people wear weights, disturbing sounds administered through earpieces deter intelligent thought, and hideous masks conceal beauty (208, 210-211). "Handicap Generals" continually clear citizens’ minds allowing them to think only in the present. These controls force the suppression of all individuality.
Because of his extraordinary innate attributes, fourteen-year-old Harrison contends with extrav...
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- Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle once said, “The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.” Kurt Vonnegut portrays Aristotle’s philosophy brilliantly in his short story “Harrison Bergeron.” The story depicts the American government in the future mandating physical handicaps in an attempt to make everyone equal. Vonnegut describes a world where no one is allowed to excel in the areas of intelligence, athletics, or beauty. Yet, the inequalities among the people shine even brighter.... [tags: aristotle, society, god]
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