Repressive Society in Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut

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The year is 2081, the addition of the 211th, 212 and 213 amendments to the Constitution makes everyone “equal”, George and Hazel Bergeron have a child named Harrison, Harrison is taken away from them when Harrison is 14. George has a radio in his ear because of his above average intelligence while Hazel has no handicap because she would be considered average by Harrison, however, has many handicaps because in the story he is considered a “… a genius, an athlete, is under-handicapped”

In the story, Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut Jr, the government handicaps those whom they think are above average, so they handicap them to make them equal. For Instance, “It was then that the Bergerons’ television tube burned out. Hazel turned to comment about the blackout to George. But George had gone out into the kitchen for a can of bear. George came back in with the beer, then paused while a handicap signal shook him up. and then he sat down again”(quote is taken from the story)The evidence shows the reader that the government controls the thoughts of its citizens because after the death of Harrison and the ballerina is shown on television, the radio handicap went off, disrupting the people’s ability to think. Like George Bergeron. It appears to the reader that the government makes sure that it has control over its citizens so that they do not remember the death of Harrison and the ballerina. In the scene where George’s handicaps are described, Kurt Vonnegut uses description to show the reader how the government handicaps George so he is “equal” to everyone else. This connects to the theme that through the use of physical and mental handicaps the government seeks to achieve total equality throughout its citizens, however, this only causes more problems than it solves.

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