Examination Day and Harrison Bergeron

Essay by IcePrincessXDHigh School, 10th gradeA, November 2014

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Sadaf Malik


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Compare and Contrast Paragraph

The short stories "Examination Day" by Henry Seslar and "Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut, both examine the idea of a world where governments have total control over its citizens. The main characters in the stories are Dickie Jordan and Harrison Bergeron. In "Examination Day" discrimination against intelligence is portrayed through Dickie who is eliminated because his "intelligence quotient [was] above the Government regulation." This quote depicts the governments authority in its society and how the government eradicated the people who questioned them through an intelligence exam. The irony of this examination is that success was seen as negative. Whereas, "Harrison Bergeron" explores the theme of forced equality in American society in the not so distant future. Right in the introduction, the three main issues concerned throughout the story are given, " Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution." Thus, absolute equality in intelligence, physical beauty, and athleticism have been ratified into law by the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, respectively. Both stories share a conflict in regards to person versus society and both the protagonists die at the end. In "Examination Day" Dickie is on his own when it comes to the test given by the government. Before the test when Dickie asks his father what the test is for, his father tells him"the Government wants to know how smart [Dickie] is." Later on, the story ends with an automated message from the government with the reason for his death and preferred funeral arrangements. In "Harrison Bergeron" Harrison knew better than to follow...