The Dangers of Total Equality in Harrison Bergeron

Decent Essays
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.’s “Harrison Bergeron” tells the story of an unbelievably talented young man that defies the constraints of total equality in futuristic America, year 2081. Because of the 211th, 212th, and 213th amendments, all citizens are subjected to a communist like state where everyone is made to be equal in beauty, physique, and intelligence. Throughout “Harrison Bergeron,” symbols such as Harrison’s defiance of the law, his physical attributes, and the setting presents the theme of the story as the idea that total equality would be disastrous. Harrison’s defiance against the government symbolizes the rebellious nature of many people everywhere and in every time period. Harrison breaks out of the prison that he was put into for being so dominant, just to show everyone what he can become. He exclaims to the audience, “"Even as I stand here" he bellowed, "crippled, hobbled, sickened - I am a greater ruler than any man who ever lived! Now watch me become what I can become!"” (Vonnegut 5). His rebelliousness is a product of his human competitive nature. Throughout all of time, people have always strived to be better than one another, and to be different as well. The Olympics, Miss Universe, and the Nobel Prize are all examples of rewards people receive when competing against one another to show exactly who is best. Being able to show one’s talents allows for more individuality to be recognized. Notably, Harrison’s physical characteristics represent individuality,
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