Would a regular citizen enjoy being as skilled of a dancer as a ballerina? Or as intelligent as the next guy? In Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.’s story of Harrison Bergeron, handicaps, such as small radio’s that blast sharp sounds are used to prevent individuals from having more intellectual thoughts than others. The year is 2081 and everyone is equal in every which way. Handicapped George and his wife Hazel are watching a ballerina performance. The show is interrupted by an announcement to watch out for their son, Harrison Bergeron as he is under-handicapped and dangerous. The conflict begins when Harrison enters the studio and declares he is Emperor. He finds his ballerina Empress, and dances with her before being shot and killed by Handicapper General Diana, resolving the conflict. This event is a more specific account of Harrison’s conflict with the current society as a whole, which is reflected through the use of theme, symbolism, and point of view.
The theme statement of Harrison Bergeron is that egalitarianism is inefficient, and will eventually be resisted by society. Competition is what drives society forward, and if everyone is equal, we are not developing as one. Many of the people in the story are unable to complete their basic tasks or jobs. “It wasn’t clear what the bulletin was about, since the announcer, like all announcers, had a serious speech impediment.” this is unreasonable as it is the announcer’s job to broadcast the news, and when he is unable to do so, he has lost his purpose (61). Equality is everyone receiving the same, while justice is everyone receiving what they require. “She must have been extraordinarily beautiful, because the mask she wore was hideous.” This is an example of the corruption in egalitarianism, and is the exact opposite of justice, as people are handicapped proportionate to their advantages or talents. The problem with this type of enforcement is that the human nature is to succeed and proceed through competition. When everyone is equally as skilled, no one is improving and as a result society is unable to advance. Eventually, will come by and attempt to defy this restraint. “Harrison Bergeron, age fourteen… has just escaped from jail, where he was held on suspicion of plotting to overthrow the government.” is the first individual in the story who disobeys the government’s control. Harrison is seen as a threat because his actions are the opening for humanity’s development through competition and rebellion. Generally, people freedom and individuality, which the theme displays is essential to the practical survival of society.
Actions and words in tales, and often represent objects or ideas that we cannot grasp the first we see them. Symbolism is...