The Downfalls of Egalitarianism and Television

964 WordsJun 17, 20184 Pages
What would actually happen if everyone was forced to be equal? Kurt Vonnegut envisioned the fatal outcome in his masterpiece, “Harrison Bergeron.” The story illustrates “what would happen if a government or some other power takes this notion serious” (Mowery). The protagonist, Harrison, who is arrest for “exuberant individuality,” escapes from prison and goes on national television station to declare himself emperor, only later to be killed by the handicap general Diane Moon. In “Harrison Bergeron,” Kurt Vonnegut satirizes the movement toward egalitarianism and the effect of television on people. Egalitarianism can be absurd and detrimental to American society. In the story, heavy weights are put on strong people, and grotesque masks…show more content…
Literary Critic, Newton Minow, called television "a vast wasteland" of destructive or meaningless programs. Minow claimed that “instead of challenging people to think, television programming was making it easier for people to avoid serious thought” (Hist. text). The uses of television desensitize Harrison’s Mother, Hazel. Although, she did shed a tear when she witnesses her son being murder on television, she said, “I forgot, it was something real sad on television” (10). Hazel becomes so numb from watching television; she forgot what she was crying about (Alvarez). In addition, one may determine that Hazel has attention deficit disorder because she is not to focus on anything (Themes and cons.). According to Karen Wood, “Harrison Bergeron concerns with technological problems only as these problems express and explicate character- the character of the human race” (Wood). In summary, the people gave up their individuality for the “good” of society of being equal. Vonnegut’s real point behind “Harrison Bergeron” is a serious attack on the idea of enforced equality (Mowery). At the end of the story, Vonnegut proposes that no government is capable of suppressing the individual completely. Rather, the inner strength of human nature at its finest is more powerful that ill-conceived laws (Mowery). In a criticism, Stanley Schatt describes the death of Harrison as, “the lost beauty, grace, and wisdom.” In summary, Today American society can benefit from

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