Equality as Portrayed in “Harrison Bergeron” The story was written in 1961 by Kurt Vonnegut Jr., an American fiction writer, but was set in the year 2081. This futuristic (and maybe prophetic) narrative talks about egalitarianism in the context of using artificial not to mention harmful methods to monitor, control and maintain the perceived social equality, the classlessness in the society. The society seventy-three years from now was able to design, develop and implement a system that which creates all individual in the same way not only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. (Vonnegut, 1961, Paragraph 1:2-3) Reality and the norms of individuality still persist though; April for instance, still drove people crazy by not being springtime. (Paragraph 2:2) and as the consequence, people who are a little bit more than the average are considered mentally handicapped and are therefore required to wear mental handicap radio tuned to a government transmitter that emits sharp noise every twenty seconds or so to keep above averaged people from using their intelligence. The story revolve around the Bergerons who has an average mother (the perfect specimen for 2081), a slightly handicapped father who has an above average intelligence and was required to wear a mental handicap and a fourteen year old son who is the antithesis of what is deemed perfect in 2081.
... reason why, in ancient times, debts were forgiven every fifty years. People who had borrowed money from others but were too poor ... section of Leviticus was about the jubilee year. Every fifty years, debts should be forgiven, and people who have lost their property have ... . I wish we had a jubilee year in our time because it would allow people who have been struggling with their life ...
He has exceptional intelligence, height, strength and physical good looks which has put him in the position to bear enormous handicaps just for possessing some things he was naturally endowed with. These were also one of the prime reasons why he was taken away from his home and has to be on a correctional facility (prison).
The societal pressure pushed him to rebel and invade a TV station and declare himself emperor as he publicly strip himself of his societal imposed handicaps, choose his empress and commanded those around him to divest themselves of their handicaps, too. In the end, the Handicapper General shot him and his chosen empress, who happened to be a ballerina, dead right in front of the millions of people watching national television. The conflict was even made more controversial and deplorable by the fact that the Bergeron couple is a spectator to the execution of their own son yet cannot concentrate enough to remember what had just transpired. The societal circumstances in the year 2081 mirrors the adage that a little too much of anything will never be healthy.
The central theme of this fiction from 1961is still relevant even today and it is opening the eyes of those people who are striving for the ultimate equality to the probability (which has a big likelihood of being real) that the consequences of all their efforts might not be the positive thing they thought it will be. Equality in the context of the handicappers society of 2081 is a vicious system devised to curtail individuality and excellence in the holy name of impartiality. But the crux of the matter is the fact that in our efforts to achieve equality, there are some (and even more valuable) things that are sacrificed. Attempting impartiality and sameness between everyone is the most absurd endeavor there is. In undertaking the leveling process (subtracting something from the above normal to make them equal with the rest) nothing is really achieved but the loss of beauty, grace, wisdom and above all uniqueness. Equality is possible and sometimes even necessary but this dictum does not apply to all situations and conditions in life.
The fairness, the parity painted in the narrative is not the kind of equality that makes life easier for the society albeit, it is the kind that destroys potentials and glamorizes mediocrity. It is egalitarianism that is detrimental to the growth and development of the society. It restrains and limits creativity, originality and distinctiveness and forces each member of the society to act within a certain limit and boundary and sacrifices the potential of being better than what people perceived one to be. Bibliography Reed, Peter. “Hurting ‘Til It Laughs.” Kurt Vonnegut: Images and Representations. Ed. Marc Leeds and Peter J. Reed.
... be 'more equal than others'. Hence society must be consciously aware that equality, like many other things, is a double-edged sword as ... towards a resultant ly equal society is a notion criticized as 'na " ive' by Nietzsche. Kurt Vonnegut seems to agree in is ... to be physically handicapped and the beautiful needed to be disfigured. This makes a strong theoretical statement on equality, which man is ...
Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood, 2000. 19-38. Townsend, Roy. “Eliot and Vonnegut: Modernism and Postmodernism?” Journal of English 16 (1988): 90-104. WVC Philosophy Home Page. Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut (1961).
29 September 2005. West Valley College Philosophy Department.
2 May 2008 [http://instruct.westvalley.edu/lafave/hb.html].