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The Folly Of Bergeron Essay

1293 words - 6 pages

1. In Harrison Bergeron, Kurt Vonnegut Jr. spins a tale of warning. One that warns of the dangers of total, unadulterated equal society. A society that is so equal in informational access, that an omniscient narrator is needed to tell the whole story. A society that is so equal in intelligence, that is is almost non-existent. A society that is so equal in freedom, that nobody has it. The story of Harrison Bergeron gives the warning that when equal opportunity is confused with equal ability, society as a whole, will diminish as a result.
2. The first reason for this thesis stems from the point of view used in the story. The point of view exemplified is one of third person, more specifically ...view middle of the document...

Harrison describes himself as “a greater ruler than any man who ever lived”. Any person with this much hubris in their blood is going to tell a story about their life in a very falsified manner. With so many people in this society too scatterbrained to tell the story correctly, the need for freedom over supposed “happiness” is ever present.
5. The second reason stems from the characters written within. There are only four named characters in this story, with only three that speak. Hazel, a woman so unintelligent that she has no need for handicaps; George, a man whose slight intelligence is actively suppressed; Diana, the Handicapper General; and Harrison, the individualist rebel. All of these people, save for Diana, have been held down by the government. One of these people, Harrison, is the microcosm of the very thing society loses as a result of total equality.
6 & 7. Hazel, as described before, is stupid. Unbelievably, hopelessly, stupid. She is is so unintelligent in fact, that she can’t even remember what things have happened only moments before, as evidenced by the line, “There were tears…but she’d forgotten what they were about,”(119). She is the only other person is this story without handicaps, the other being the Handicapper General herself. At her level of intellect, she has no handicaps. The most disturbing fact about her brainpower is the fact that she is average in the country. Which means, as stated previously, that most of the population is as stupid, if not more, than she. With virtually no intelligent individuals, society cannot progress forward. We then move onto George, who has the distinction of having “way above normal”(119) intelligence. However, to put him at the same level as the government model of intellect, Hazel, the Handicapper General fits him with buzzers to scatter his thoughts. Moving on to Harrison, we find a man who has been visibly changed by the system which he lives in. He is fourteen, an age in which petty rebellion and arrogance is almost guaranteed. With way, way above the average Joe in intelligence, strength, and apparently the ability to break physics, it is apparent that his imprisonment has only amplified his fervor. The society in which he lives has created a prideful fiend who does not realize the error of his ways. Finally, we come to Diana Moon Glampers. The Handicapper General, it is clear she is above the fray. Her lack of handicaps, the ability to wield a ten-gauge, and the fact she has the authority to order people to put on their handicaps, as evidenced by “she[...]told them[...]to get their handicaps back on.”(124), it is obvious that society is controlled by hypocritical, authoritarian figures. All of these...

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