Essay: Short Story by Harrison Bergeron

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This essay is based on short story by Harrison Bergeron. It is about a futuristic society, where everyone is equal and controlled by the state to such an extent that every one’s capacity to think has been controlled, their emotions and their lives are manipulated and anyone who tries to break the restrictions is killed.

The short story Harrison Bergeron is about a futuristic society, where everyone is equal and controlled by the state to such an extent that every one’s capacity to think has been controlled, their emotions and their lives are manipulated and anyone who tries to break the restrictions is killed. In order to comprehend Kurt Vonnegut, in Harrison Bergeron one has to understand climate in that period: The atmosphere of America during the late fifties and early sixties. During this period, America was in chaos. After the Korean War, Americans were faced with the threat of being labeled anti-American and Communist. McCarthyism, accusations of communist loyalties, left many authors, actors and public officials frightened about publicly speaking out about American Policy. Any criticism during this time may have been subjugated and the author blacklisted. Authors tried to find ingenious ways of criticizing without jeopardizing themselves.

The government in this futuristic world of 2053 has maneuvered human intelligence to the point where all persons are essential to wear bands that rest on their temples. These bands electronically modify intelligence, in fact increasing or decreasing natural IQs to the point where everyone is average. Obviously, these new ideals have no foundation in reality. While equality must be striven for in many aspects, it is the dissimilarity between people that comprise the backbone of modern society. The bands that citizens must wear are extremely intrusive in their lives, upsetting natural thought and emotions. The motive behind the donning of these bands is that parity will eliminate hatred, envy, and war.  While this does prove true, numerous side effects such as loss of identity lack of original thought, and compliance to a preset status quo manifest themselves as well.

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