Freedom, And Communism In Kurt Vonnegut's Harrison Bergeron

Great Essays
Short stories and novels are notorious for having an underlying meaning and authors will put their own convictions, biases, and views within these works to show how they feel about a particular subject or issue. The author creates an environment filled with irony, double meanings, symbols, etc. to convey a certain message through the story; the author will be ambiguous and use parallels to determine how the story will interact with his personal convictions. Kurt Vonnegut portrays his views towards equality, freedom, and Communism through his short story Harrison Bergeron using dialogue, diction, actions, and feelings.
In Harrison Bergeron, Vonnegut develops, or under-develops, his characters according to a twisted, “idealized” society where
…show more content…
Hazel, for instance, cries when she sees her son Harrison die on the television screen, but she cannot remember why she was crying. George asks her what she had been crying about, and she replies “I forget” (Vonnegut 6). George, on the other hand, can think and know what upset him, but cannot remember why it upset him due to the handicaps. Vonnegut portrays the two characters in such a light as to distinguish between the different categories of people in their society: George falls in the handicap portion and Hazel falls in the normal portion. Vonnegut wants to differentiate between what society created and what nature intended. He allows for the reader to see how the government interferes with every aspect of life by showing one of the most important aspects of being a cognitive person. By taking away the ability to remember or feel, Vonnegut takes away the meaning of existence. He is commenting on how the government in this society would rather have stupid, uncaring, unfeeling people than a productive people who can think and feel. He presents the government as something that is afraid of being contradicted and will therefore go to any lengths to stop the people from thinking; Vonnegut allows …show more content…
He used the characters’ diction, dialogue, feelings, and actions to portray his own thoughts and feelings about the world. Vonnegut used his short story as a commentary on the issues at the time and his opinions toward those contemporary issues. He manipulated characters and ideas –by making them somewhat static-- to fit what he wanted to say to the world about how he felt regarding equality and freedom. Vonnegut’s views are very simple. He believes that the stifling of people and of society will lead to the stagnation and desecration of civilization. Vonnegut believes that in order to function as a society, free will and free thinking needs to exist to establish new ideas and inventions. In order for society to be progressive, the government must not control all aspects of people’s lives. He almost warns against this type of government suggesting what people and society will turn into if they are not able to express themselves. Vonnegut constructs a very complicated story in which he tries to guard people from turning into this. The whole point of Vonnegut’s short story is to teach the lesson that people must be free in order to be productive and that productivity and competition is the life force behind a healthy, thriving

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    V For Vendetta Analysis

    • 1055 Words
    • 5 Pages

    The antagonists desire to have absolute control over all the government and its citizens lead to cruel and unusual punishment, which takes away the natural rights of the citizens <http://www.dystopianmovies.org/adam-sutler-v-for-vendetta-john-hurt>. When citizens fear their own government, there is less desire to try and change it, therefore the same corrupt leaders stay in control and all the power is awarded to them, this is not the way a government is supposed to operate, “People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people” (McTeigue). Government officials are elected by the people, for the people, therefore, governments should seek to serve their people, not rule them. Today the government has taken similar routes with limiting the rights of its citizens in the time of a crisis or state of emergency.…

    • 1055 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The government is dehumanizing its citizens because they want to ensure they have total control over the people without the citizens knowing what is really happening. Orwell wrote this book to explain to people that humans are not supposed to be controlled by one another but instead by themselves. If people are controlled they are not truly humans because they are dehumanized if they don’t get their simple needs as…

    • 766 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    On another note, the individuals discussed above would do worse under Hobbes’s political system because they would all be directed to endure tasks that would serve as a sacrifice, rather than an improvement. For instance, the government can take away land without a valid reason, or could have someone murdered, simply because the leader commands so. Hobbes claims that society has to obey its government at all times. This would create tension and oppression with individuals a, b, c and d. As Young states, “The powerless are those who lack authority or power even in this mediated sense, those over whom power is exercised without their exercising it; the powerless are situated so that they must take orders and rarely have the right to give them” (Young 52). This quote helps illustrate the weaknesses that becomes the structure of one’s will, especially individuals a, b, and c because they will not have the necessary power to exercise their will, but…

    • 1396 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The metaphor of men as “not as men mainly, but as machines” (Thoreau) is used by Thoreau in order to show how through strictly following the government, one loses their sense of self and becomes a shell of oneself. Significantly, Thoreau makes it apparent to the reader that we must look within ourselves to help lead us on the correct life path and must not rely on the principles and theories of others to help us. Additionally, Dimmesdale 's role in The Scarlet Letter can be seen as a representation of how government confined the individual being that their society’s principles and laws were made to hide the reality of…

    • 1510 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    In The Prince, he states that, "[people] are ungrateful, fickle, simulators and deceivers, avoiders of danger, [and] greedy for gain" (46). He thought that if left to their own accords, people would be up to no good, and thus need a government to watch over their actions. In his work, Machiavelli repeated values that he sought in a society, values, which he thought people could not embrace without a heavy-handed government. These values included faith, integrity, strength, and honor, among others. Due to…

    • 1328 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    He is brought into the realization that the government is “making the decision about what and when to think” when the people should be doing it themselves (McGiveron). Through the vigorous pogroms implanted in the people’s lives, it crushes their ability to think critically , and question society, and replaces them with more materialistic desires and pleasures. Bradbury was able to utlize Montag 's realization of how the majority of people did not oppose the government or think for themselves, but rather conform outwardly to society, to devlope his overall theme of ignorance and knowlage as induvaduality can only be supressed for so long. As Montag begins questioning inwadrly about his life choices and society, while still outwardly…

    • 1004 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    It is important to note that regulations can lead to more order, which is the ultimate goal of internet censorship. List of Cons of Media Censorship 1. It keeps the ignorant, ignorant. If the government is put in control of what people are allowed to tune into, there is the tendency that things, which can expose corruption within the system, could not be viewed. This is an exploitable way to damage the people of a country.…

    • 1028 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Marx, for example, believed that the best way to re-balance society was through the ballot box. That is, until a government denies the people the political expression they are entitled to through modern democracy, this includes free speech, free assembly, and freedom of the press. It is then the job of the people to demand change through nonviolent revolution. For this to work, there needs to be enough anger, and enough people who are willing to stand up for change. To draw from Zizek’s work, these movements are like “rage banks”, and the people need to invest enough “rage capital” in order for it to succeed.…

    • 1777 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Great Essays

    Having this done affects the people and the way they will look start to look at cultures that different from them. The regime will only teach the people that their race is unique, worthy, and innocent. The block on social networks and communication as well as closed to gaining information other than the regime, will limit the North Korean citizens exposure to the outside world and leave them with no choice…

    • 1849 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    J. Cole said that the initial thought is that if “we overthrow the oppressors..we destroy the system, that means we’ll have less of greed” but then he talks about that these people clearly are not looking at history. Throughout history there have been many instances when citizens would dethrone their oppressors and would take their spots just to do the exact same thing. Thus when J. Cole speaks these ideas to his audience he is trying to convince this new generation that jumping to the conclusion that a revolution is the only correct answer is not correct, this new generation needs to think about the consequences and whether or not they will be able…

    • 949 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays