The Declaration of Independence claims that all men are created equal. This idealistic statement has some flaws attached. Would a perfect world have all people equal in every aspect of life? Kurt Vonnegut Jr. explores this idea in the fictional story Harrison Bergeron. His outlandish story shows the extremities that come with absolute equality. America has come a long way in equalizing rights for everyone. Therefore, his story is a logical analysis of what would happen if we strived to make every man and woman equal both physically and mentally.
Vonnegut's fictional world takes place in the year 2081. New constitutional amendments required everybody to become completely equal with one another. To ensure that the people follow the law, a United States Handicapper General is formed to eliminate natural competition which is essential for succeeding in modern time. Vonnegut explores the idea of eliminating this factor in order to achieve an absolute equality. He gives gifted people man-made handicaps forcing absolute American equality. For example, the father of the Bergeron family is exceptionally smart; as a result he is required to wear an earplug which makes noises to break his concentration. He also wears weights on his shoulders so that he does not gain an unfair advantage of being quicker than the next person. His wife, who is of average intelligence with no handicaps, is considered just a normal lady. Harrison, their fourteen year old son, is taken away for not accepting his handicaps, and attempting to overthrow the government.
One night George and Hazel Bergeron are watching a ballerina television program, when suddenly a news bulletin declares their son has escaped from prison. Harrison is described as being a tall teenager with superior attributes. Harrison then appears on the ballerina program, frightening the viewers with his presence. He tries to liberate everyone in the studio as well as people wa... Continue Reading