Unequality in Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut

849 Words Jun 20th, 2018 4 Pages
Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle once said, “The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.” Kurt Vonnegut portrays Aristotle’s philosophy brilliantly in his short story “Harrison Bergeron.” The story depicts the American government in the future mandating physical handicaps in an attempt to make everyone equal. Vonnegut describes a world where no one is allowed to excel in the areas of intelligence, athletics, or beauty. Yet, the inequalities among the people shine even brighter. Vonnegut uses satire to explore the question of whether true equality can ever really exist. Satirical writing allows the author to express his or her opinion about a problem in society. A writing must follow three rules in order for …show more content…
Sayings like, “’Sounded like somebody hitting a milk bottle with a ball peen hammer,’” and “that was a doozy,” creates a sense of annoyance and allows the reader to perceive it without it being directly said.
The government requires the next handicap for attractive people. The government calls for all good-looking people to wear masks and red noses. The degree of hideousness depends upon the beauty of the person. For example, “She must have been extraordinarily beautiful, because the mask she wore was hideous,” (Vonnegut 160). Blogger, Claire Novotny seems to imply the government covers the individuality through the facial handicaps. It wants to enforce equality through general humiliation. The satire of the situation comes from the parody of the ballerinas. Ballerinas are stereotypically beautiful. With handicaps, they become a mass of stumbling, uncoordinated and ugly girls trying to dance. This allows the parody and aggravation of the reader to become more apparent and effective (Mowery).
The last handicap Vonnegut mentions proves to be humorous by hyperbole. The government uses weights to oppose above average athletics. The handicap can range from any size, shape or weight. For example, George wears “forty-seven pounds of birdshot in a canvas bag, which was padlocked around [his] neck,” (Vonnegut 159). The more physically fit a person is, the more handicaps
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