Essay on The Handicapper General

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It is the year 2081. Because of Amendments 211, 212, and 213 to the Constitution, every American is fully equal, meaning that no one is stupider, uglier, weaker, or slower than anyone else. The Handicapper General and a team of agents ensure that the laws of equality are enforced.

One April, fourteen-year-old Harrison Bergeron is taken away from his parents, George and Hazel, by the government. George and Hazel aren’t fully aware of the tragedy. Hazel’s lack of awareness is due to average intelligence. In 2081, those who possess average intelligence are unable to think for extended stretches of time. George can’t comprehend the tragedy because the law requires him to wear a radio twenty-four hours a day. The government broadcasts
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Hazel thinks George looks exhausted and urges him to lie down and rest his “handicap bag,” forty-seven pounds of weight placed in a bag and locked around George’s neck. He says he hardly notices the weight anymore. Hazel suggests taking a few of the weights out of the bag, but he says if everyone broke the law, society would return to its old competitive ways. Hazel says she would hate that. A noise interrupts the conversation, and George can’t remember what they were talking about.

On TV, an announcer with a speech impediment attempts to read a bulletin. He can’t overcome his impediment, so he hands the bulletin to a ballerina to read. Hazel commends him for working with his God-given abilities and says he should get a raise simply for trying so hard. The ballerina begins reading in her natural, beautiful voice, then apologizes and switches to a growly voice that won’t make anyone jealous. The bulletin says that Harrison has escaped from prison.

A photo of Harrison appears on the screen. He is wearing the handicaps meant to counteract his strength, intelligence, and good looks. The photo shows that he is seven feet tall and covered in 300 pounds of metal. He is wearing huge earphones, rather than a small radio, and big glasses meant to blind him and give him headaches. He is also wearing a red rubber nose and black caps over his teeth. His eyebrows are shaved off.

After a rumbling noise,

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