Differences And Inclusion In Kurt Vonnegut's Harrison Bergeron

1268 Words 6 Pages
How do people in positions of power deal with differences using inclusion and exclusion?

A resounding truth of our society is that individuals who hold positions of power will go to great lengths to retain their authority. Power struggles occur everyday in the world due to the inherent concept of differences. Differences in factors such as opinion, physique and mental ability can be seen as oppositional and volatile to individuals in positions of power. Most societies view differences as an indisputable issue of mankind. Despite this, there are societies that do not tolerate differences and only view them as threatening to authority. In the short story Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut, people in positions of power employ the notion of inclusion
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The idea of collective inclusion that comes with the pretense of a falsely equal utopia hides the true dystopian roots of the society. In Harrison Bergeron, the people in society feel a sense of shared inclusion due to their equalization by handicaps. This wittingly allows the people in positions of power to sustain control of society by dissuading the need for differences through inclusion. The idea of a utopia can be alternatively interpreted as a distraction from the dystopian ways of the society and the controlling stance of the people in positions of power. Neutralization of differences supports the way the people in positions of power attempt to exclude others from rising in power through the limitations of the handicaps. This is best illustrated in an exchange between George and his wife Hazel. In the conversation, Hazel remarks that she would make a good Handicapper General. George 's response to this is, “Good as anybody else,” which can be seen as an understanding and acceptance of the limitations placed upon humans in this society. The equalization of the populace ironically renders anyone from the nameless, handicapped mass from being eligible to rise in power. The society of Harrison Bergeron does not realize they are being oppressed due to the earlier use of inclusion by the people in positions of power and are consequently …show more content…
People in positions of power would most likely agree that an equal society is a better society, as the 'equal ' society of Harrison Bergeron lends itself to the stability of authoritative figures. In the society of Harrison Bergeron, people in positions of power attempt to retain control by eliminating the differences amongst all humans. These differences are abolished through the use of inclusion, creating a sort of nation derived on the commonality of handicaps. It is an inclusive society that adheres to uniform ideals of equality. Coupled with this is the authoritative figures ' desire to solidify their control of society. This presents itself through the exclusion of individuals who oppose societal norms. The harsh treatment of oppositional voices inspires complacency within the rest of society and creates a fear of exclusion. To cement absolute control, people in positions of power choose to limit and exclude others in attempt to stop the potential rise of conflict brought about by differences. Harrison Bergeron is a short story that effectively challenges the way society views differences and depicts how people in positions of power choose to deal with differences using inclusion and

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