Kurt Vonnegut And Harrison Bergeron And Ozymandias

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Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and maintain your zeal!

Throughout the readings assigned in the fall semester of 2017, certain themes appear prevalently from one piece of literature to the next. One such recurring theme is that of invalidation, more specifically how various forms and levels of such leads to some measure of destruction of an individual, or even as grandiose as an entire civilization. Two examples of this theme, consistent across multiple readings, are: the short story “Harrison Bergeron” written by Kurt Vonnegut, and the poem “Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelly. “Harrison Bergeron’s” satirical portrayal of a futuristic [false] utopia in which all citizens are not created equal, but forced into “equality” through the implementation of various imposed handicaps; tells of a world in which all citizens (except those who are in charge of allocating the degree of retardation from achievement of full potential that each individual receives) are assigned a device to limit their physical or intellectual abilities. The character of Harrison Bergeron displays his forbearance, publicly liberates himself from bondage, along with a handful of talented performers, and proceeds to defy the status quo briefly before being put down by an elite member of society. “Ozymandias" is written as a recount of a tale told from a third party, about a civilization lost to time and forgotten by many in the “present” in which the poem takes place. The imagery imposed is that of a toppled
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