Equality and discrimination in Kurt Vonnegut’s short story "Harrison Bergeron"
In this essay, I will explore what Kurt Vonnegut illustrated in his short story Harrison Bergeron – the fact that equality (of any kind) leads to the loss of individuality, the loss of achievement, the loss of development, and therefore to absolute degradation and static mankind.
Harrison Bergeron is a satiric and literally exaggerated short story about how the government has taken control over the whole society. The government has invented several ways how to control people’s minds so that everyone would be finally equal in all ways. This is where the discrimination starts – there has been invented several tools which are controlling individuality’s breakout or which simply hide peoples’ good looks. People who seem to be more handsome than others are obliged to wear masks; people who are thinking too much of intelligent thoughts are obliged to wear an earpiece which send a sound signals to brain so that they wouldn’t operate properly; those who have more strength than others are obliged to wear bags filled with lead balls; and those who are too extraordinary are chained up. As a result of this equalization people are not able to show intelligence or creativity:
“They weren’t only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else.” 1
- Equality and discrimination in Kurt Vonnegut’s short story "Harrison Bergeron"
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