Ideas Of Racial And Gender Equality In Harrison Bergeron By Harrison Bergeron

Donny woke shivering despite the many layers that adorned his thinning body. Small hands looking large due to multiple pairs of gloves pulled back the five blankets that weighed him down. He walked across his faux-gold floor and looked out the grimy window of his grey house. He should have been happy; it was his birthday after all. However, it was also the start of the third year of nuclear winter.
It is easy to comment on today’s political issues through an amusing and defensibly unrelated short story, and indeed this is what many of Kurt Vonnegut’s stories do. He crafts an argument that allows the reader to interpret his meaning as opposed to directly persuading them through an argumentative essay. Vonnegut took advantage of dystopian fiction,
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This may have been one of Vonnegut’s reasons for writing this story. Ideas of racial and gender equality can be extended to include more traits. We do not like the idea that someone born white has an advantage in America, so why should someone born smart have an advantage? Vonnegut explores this idea, giving citizens a government issued transmitter to place inside their ear so that every “twenty seconds or so, the transmitter would send out some sharp noise to keep people… from taking unfair advantage of their brains” (Vonnegut 1). The story points out that while bringing everyone down to the same base level may make everyone equal, it will also be taking away their individuality. The government will have no choice but to oppress its people if we focus on completely rejecting inequality as opposed to accepting that it is a part of …show more content…
Vonnegut may have been influenced by the Cold War and America’s rising fear of communism, and one can make the argument that Harrison Bergeron is a piece of anti-communist propaganda cautioning against socialism in the United States. However, a stronger argument can be made for almost the exact opposite idea. The short story is a satire that mocks America’s irrational fear of socialism. The comic details that Vonnegut adds creates an environment where nothing can be taken seriously. If we take the “hero” Harrison Bergeron as a symbol for the average American from the sixties we can see the absurdity. Harrison rebels against the oppressive communist government, but all of his credibility is then lost when he breaks the laws of physics and flies around the stage with his Empress, somehow “neutraling gravity with love and pure will” (5). At this moment the accumulation of ridiculousness in Harrison Bergeron changes from an unlikely future to an impossible reality. The situation that George and Hazel are in is based on a ludicrous fear of

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