Egalitarianism In Harrison Bergeron, By Kurt Vonnegut

1131 Words 5 Pages
One cannot imagine the problems that can occur in a society based exclusively on egalitarianism, nevertheless in the short story Harrison Bergeron (1961) by American author Kurt Vonnegut it gives a glimpse into what a society based on complete equality for all would look like. The story takes place in 2081 in a society where everyone is made equal by using handicaps on those who excel in anyway. The main character, Harrison Bergeron, does not agree with this handicapping policy and is willing to go to all ends to get rid of the government’s system. It is due to the unique and outlandish political precepts of this piece that made it successful with readers and critics. The story was so successful that it was turned into an award winning film …show more content…
Harrison dares all the women in the theatre to go forth and join him in his revolution attempt by saying, “Let the first woman who dares rise to her feet claim her mate and her throne!” (Vonnegut, Harrison Bergeron, p.3). In both works the most beautiful ballerina rises and begins to dance with him, in a like manner, to express her concordance. While this is taking place, the government is preparing to stop the pair by any means possible, including murder. In a mere instant the handicap general, the woman in charge of handicapping everyone who had any talent whatsoever shoots both Harrison and the ballerina. Coincidentally, just before the pair are shot the signal to television broadcast is cut off in the film, but Harrison had a remote in his hand that was connected to a machine to restore the signal and allow all the viewers to witness the government’s violent wrath. The way they were killed in both the film and short story is unsatisfying; not only was it the ‘cleanest’ and fastest way of killing, but it is very similar to today’s problems with shootings. It is almost as if Kurt Vonnegut predicted the future, although the short story was written in 1961 well before there was such things as the Black Lives Matter movement, he includes problems that are similar to those of the recent shootings. Some could say that gun violence is a result of lack of strong firearm control laws, however, in the case of the handicap general this excuse cannot be made. She was well aware what she was doing, she did it to ‘preserve the system’ despite the fact that a major flaw had been revealed to the public. Unfortunately the death of Harrison and his partner did not have a large impact on the audience because they forgot about the shooting as soon as it happened thanks to the use of the handicaps affecting their

Related Documents