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Wake Up And Smell The Roses

677 words - 3 pages

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to live in a dystopian society where everyone is equal in every possible way? In Kurt Vonnegut’s short story, Harrison Bergeron, he delves into a world where the idea of egalitarianism has become reality for the United States in 2081. The 211th, 212th, 213th Amendments to the Constitution enforce a type of equality where no one is stronger, more intelligent, or more beautiful than another. Everyone is equal in every which way. All of this is done with the help of the United States Handicapper General, who makes sure everyone is kept strictly equal. But Harrison Bergeron, the seven-foot tall, powerful, and unbelievably handsome jail escapee, is having none of this. He dares to fight this so-called “equality.” In this fantastical yet darkly humorous short story, Vonnegut uses Harrison Bergeron to represent the dangers of total equality.
The television that Hazel and George, Harrison’s parents, are watching is used to symbolize the growing fear and oppression in the United States in Harrison Bergeron. “George and Hazel were watching television. There were tears on Hazel’s cheeks, but she’d forgotten for the moment what they were about” (Vonnegut 1). Here it shows that the television seems to suppress a memory, which happens to be of Hazel’s son, Harrison, being taken away by the Handicapper General men. This is because Hazel is too distracted by the ballerinas on the television. And since Hazel has ‘average’ intelligence, she cannot think about too many things at once for very long. By acting as a sedative of sorts, the television pushes back any memories or thoughts that would elicit and uprising against the government and their precious equality.
There are many instances where irony is used to foreshadow the injury and deaths of many people in Harrison Bergeron. “He (George) began to think glimmeringly about his abnormal son who was now in jail, about Harrison, but a twenty-one gun salute...

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