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1Miguel Kelley MiguelProfessor SimmonsEnglish 1109 December 2013The Dangers of Being “Average”Kurt Vonnegut’s 1961 short story, Harrison Bergeron, tells the tale of a young teenage boy, displeased with the utopian society in which he lives, and his short-lived rebellion of the oppression he faces. Vonnegut employs each element of plot concisely and directly, spanning the story only over a short number of minutes. Each character, whether directly or indirectly, sheds light on the idealisms and expectations of the setting in which the story takes place. The entire story conveys the message of the dangers of utopian society, falling hand-in-hand with the ideas of socialism and communism taking place in the world during the time of the story’s publication. Like many of his other novels and stories, Vonnegut uses this story to metaphorically analyze current political turbulence in his society. The dark, satirical story of Harrison Bergeron employs literary themes and ideas to spread and promote to readers ideas of revolution. Harrison Bergeron is a short story,with an even shorter development of plot.Theentire story unfolds in a matter of minutes.Traditional to most stories,the exposition in Harrison Bergeron introduces the main characters,the setting,and the base information of the story,“The year was 2081,and everybody was finally equal.” (Vonnegut).Because of amendments made to the constitution,there are more laws and expectations towards the members of society; everybody is altered in some forms to which they are all considered “the same”.The characters the author introduces to the readers at the
2beginning of the story,George and Hazel Bergeron,are absolute products of their setting.George,Harrison’s father,had a mental handicap radio placed in his ear due to his heightened intelligence,while Hazel,Harrison’s mother,is considered “average”,and sits,naïve to her surroundings,and is not mandated by the government to wear a handicap.George and Hazel sit,watching ballet in their living room.At this point in thestory,the rising action begins to expose itself.Hazel begins to ponder what she would do if she were appointed as Handicapper General.Although it was merely a brief moment ofthought,this moment sheds light upon the idea that perhaps the people of 2081 America are not as compliant as they may seem.The setting then changes to the stage on which the ballerina is dancing.Here,an announcement is projected to the audience and viewers that “Harrison Bergeron,age fourteen… has just escaped from jail,where he was held onsuspicion of plotting to overthrow the government.He is a genius and an athlete,is under-handicapped,and should be regarded as extremely dangerous” (Vonnegut).