Harrison Bergeron - Equality is Ludicrous

Essay by riersonrCollege, UndergraduateA+, April 2005

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Equality is Ludicrous

In the story "Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. civilization is manipulated. The way in which they go about keeping people equal is wrong. Equality is implemented in society by controlling peoples physical ability, appearance and thought process.

Forcing members of society to wear mental and physical handicaps shows one attempt at achieving equality. "The year was 2081, and everyone was finally equal." The reason for this is the 211th, 212th and the 213th Amendments to the constitution and the vigilante's of the United States Handicapper General. The H-G men have dehumanized society of certain human qualities such as individuality. Athletic people are stripped of their god given abilities by being weighed down by sash-weights and bags of birdshot. If individuals physical abilities are taken away then all would become average and life as a whole would become stagnant. There would be no competition known to exist.

Competition within education, occupations and all other aspects of life would swirl into oblivion, and cause nobody to work harder than any other person.

The appearance of individuals is changed in order to make no one more attractive than another. Masks are used to cover up the more beautiful. Harrison Bergeron's appearance requires him to wear oversized spectacles with thick wavy lenses in order to make him blind and give him headaches. He is also forced to shave his eyebrows and wear a red rubber ball on his nose. Another prime example would be the ballerinas' from the story. Most ballet dancers are considered beautiful, therefore; they are all forced to wear masks to hide their true beauty. These characters from the story are all forced to wear these handicaps by the H-G men and if they are found not wearing these handicaps face harsh penalties. The...