Thursday, October 27, 2011

"Harrison Bergeron" -Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

The year is 2081 and the human race has reached its goal of being completely equal. Not only in the sense that they are treated the same way but their intelligence is the same, looks, strength, and everything else. The people who are above average are hindered by the Handicapper General where they are made to wear things in order to be just like everyone else. The couple, George and Hazel, have an "abnormal" child who tries to fight the system. He was in jail and then manages to escape into a ballerina show where he induces a ballerina to be his Empress and they take off their handicaps and begin to dance to the musicians which have also taken off their handicaps. These conspirators end up dying and Harrison's mom is watching and actually forgets what she saw so in the end she is completely unaffected by what happened.
This selection reminded me a lot about Feed because the author's portray the society as people that are not interested in learning or thinking but rather they are concentrated on what others tell them they have to think or be. This story was written around the 1960s which is along the time that a lot of hippies were going around talking about all of the conspiracies that were going on. The way Vonnegut describes the government certainly did not put in a favorable light but was trying to portray the amount of control it could have over it's people and not letting them even have an opinion or try to change what they do not agree with. I think one of the differences is that the people in Feed treated it more like a fad and weren't forced to do this by law because not everyone had it. They willingly accepted people thinking for them and choosing what they like or dislike. But in "Harrison Bergeron" we see Harrison fighting against it while others simply acquiesce. George seemed like he wanted to go against it but he really did not have that strength and just let it happen while his almost superhuman son took action. Of course him getting shot trumped the whole revolution but it was a sign that some people wanted something different and not to be dragged down. The constant noises that George heard in his head from the handicap were torture just for him not to think too much about something. This shows that people did want change but did not want to be the ones to start it.

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