Synthesis Paper-FINAL - Maxwell 1 Taylor Maxwell English Comp II Mr McGinn Synthesis Essay-Final Draft Consequences of Enforced Equality When thinking

Synthesis Paper-FINAL - Maxwell 1 Taylor Maxwell English...

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Maxwell Taylor Maxwell English Comp. II Mr. McGinn Synthesis Essay-Final Draft Consequences of Enforced Equality When thinking about freedom, the word equality usually pops into mind; when one is free from external control they are treated as equals among society. Equality is a word often looked over. The actual meaning of equality is the “state of quality of being equal; correspondence in quantity, degree, value, or rank” (Harper, 2015). However, if we continuously strive to be equal to one another, what happens to our individuality? If the government enforces the term, “all men are equal,” in a fashion where our individuality is comprised, the consequences could be great. Kurt Vonnegut was an American satirist who exaggerated the idea of enforced equality in his short story, “Harrison Bergeron”. Vonnegut sets the story in future America where everyone is now equal. The Handicapper General regulates equality among society by detracting individuals’ above average abilities, to ensure that “nobody was smarter, stronger, or better looking than anybody else” (1554). Although Vonnegut wrote “Harrison Bergeron” as a foolish exaggeration of the future, critics agree that his intention was to bring awareness to the serious consequences of enforcing equality. In the beginning of the story, Vonnegut’s attacks relating to his opinions of enforced equality are made subtle and indirect however, they still provide a sturdy foundation for the reader to expand upon. By tailoring to the average American’s curiosity of the unknown, Vonnegut makes the setting of his story in a futuristic America. Consumed with wonder and fascination of a future where “everybody is finally equal” 1
Maxwell (1154) readers are likely to become susceptible of failing to comprehend the serious issue at large. Vonnegut first brings to readers’ attention the consequences that stemmed from having an unjust and controlling government. “All of this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General” (1554). The term, “unceasing vigilance” is used to portray the restrictive and oppressive demeanor of the future United States Government. This future government appears to restrain people from unlawful behavior by establishing fear in their minds that the government ‘sees all’. The suppression of individuals’ natural abilities through the use of handicap devices and facemasks is an extreme exaggeration, but thoroughly supports Vonnegut’s portrayal of a restrictive and oppressive government. The requirement to wear some sort of handicap device(s) that was bestowed on above-average people is a great example of the Handicapper Generals’ abuse of power; their need to maintain order and control led

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