Harrison Bergeron By Kurt Vonnegut
Every day, millions of people of all races, colors, ages and creeds fight for equality throughout the world. Although Americans often argue that they are a free nation, they never account for how the weak, unintelligent, poor and foul looking people in society can truly become equal to what they would consider the extreme 1%. Kurt Vonnegut has found a way to elaborate on what kind of world that would be with his science fiction piece titled Harrison Bergeron.
Set in the year 2081 with the ratification of the 212th amendment to the US Constitution, anyone that outperforms another, whether with beauty, wit or bruiting strength is given a handicap from the Handicapper’s General to make them equal to those that would be considered beneath them. The beautiful wear masks, the intellects earpieces that make shrill noises to disrupt over stimulation of thought and the strong, weights, to pull them back to the weak’s ability.
Harrison Bergeron is a young intelligent and quite handsome young man who is taken from his parents and thrown into prison. While watching the ballet one night, a news story breaks loose that Harrison has escaped from prison. Unfortunately his parents do not remember that he is their child as every time they speak of him, their handicaps put the awful noises into their earphones. Harrison interrupts the broadcast of the ballet his parents are watching as a way to overthrow this dystopia by showing the world how handsome strong and intelligent he is, offering royalty to those who follow him as the emperor. Harrison would meet his fate that night as the Handicapper General swiftly arrives and kills him with a gun.
This short science fiction piece brings a troubling piece of mind to anyone reading it: is overreaching equality worth it in the end? Without the intelligent, no advancements could be made in science in technology and without the strong, buildings would not be constructed. The beautiful although appealing to sight should not be restricted to look like monsters because of the genes they were born with. Utopias fail to be successful because one person always wants to have a little more than someone else, which is what has helped make the American Dream still prevalent in today’s society. Harrison Bergeron, although noble in his pursuit, acted too promptly without planning. America should hope that the 212th amendment never ceases to exist.