Radical Society In Kurt Vonnegut's 'Harrison Bergeron'

1719 Words 7 Pages
Emily Claire Desilva
Ms.Castille – 3rd hour
English IV
14 November 2016 two+two=five In “Harrison Bergeron”, Kurt Vonnegut demonstrates the negative impacts of radical government by subjugating characters to wearing handicaps that limit physical and mental abilities as well as outward appearance, thus creating a false sense of equality. In an effort for sameness, differences are unavoidable. The effort to avoid conflict by trying for equality makes for magnified conflict. Equality expresses a great idea that the world should extend and embrace; however, absolute equality, another issue in which too much of a worthy thing may cause matters to go wrong. Hazel being of average intelligence, does not wear handicaps. George on the other hand
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One setting throughout the story, television, expresses distraction from real world issues. The strong influence of mass media is “considered to be tools for manipulating the audience” (Joodaki and Mahdiany), George and Hazel only know what they see on television. Vonnegut produces a connection to broadcast media in which radio waves control the mental handicap noises that are used to prevent anyone with the ability to think likewise television accomplishes the same thing for normal people (“Harrison Bergeron” vol 5).Television is a means of distraction, a way to forget about your life a live through another, in the case of “Harrison Bergeron” the television was used to distract them from thinking, “Many critics credit television for the decreasing attention span of the population (“Harrison Bergeron” vol 5). They also suggest television programming desensitizes people to real life, in part because it has nothing of the viewer” (“Harrison Bergeron” vol 5). On the first page of the story Hazel’s cheeks are wet with tears, but because she is distracted by the ballerinas on the screen, she doesn’t remember why she is crying. In conclusion, people should not compete to stay the same but accept each other’s differences and appreciate each …show more content…
In one corner, there is the equality that Diana Moon Glampers represents, equal in every way possible; in the opposing corner, there is the inequality Harrison Bergeron symbolizes, one king and his many subjects (“Harrison Bergeron” vol 5). Diana Moon Glampers uses force and law to form a society of “total equality”, if her rules are defied there is death and jail time (The facts). Both extremes have extremely destructive consequences; one takes away individuality, the other takes away equality. As the future draws nearer, the only true Utopia that society should strive for is the type of equality that allows and commemorates individuality. The attempt to achieve neutral equality is weakened. In contrast differences are magnified occur. With the effort to neutralize differences new differences become apparent. Warlock writes:
“Despite these handicaps he is able to invade a TV station and declare himself the new emperor. He then strips himself of his handicaps and begins to dance with a ballerina whose amazing beauty and skills have also been distorted… As the couple dancing the defiance of the “rules”, the two defy gravity as they “kiss” the ceiling and assert their artistic independence as well as their refusal to be controlled by an outside authority.”(The

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