Harrison Bergeron - Gardner 1 Claire Gardner Mrs Miller AP...

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Gardner 1 Claire Gardner Mrs. Miller AP Literature Due: 9/30/16 Harrison Bergeron The consequences of complete equality is an idea that authors often address in literature. Kurt Vonnegut Jr.’s satirical short story “Harrison Bergeron” depicts the pursuit of uniformity as a foolish and dangerous endeavor. Written during a time of increased standardization in the United States, Vonnegut warns that a misinterpretation of the American ideals of equality could have disastrous results. Vonnegut writes to remind his audience that Americans are equal in rights, not in individual characteristics. Composed in 1961- just three years after the first American College Test, or ACT, was administered- “Harrison Bergeron” commences with an example of government regulated intelligence standards. Reinforced by the 211th, 212th, and 213th Constitutional Amendments, astute citizens in Vonnegut’s futuristic society endure external handicaps that limit their mental capacities, making them comparable to the rest of society. The handicaps come in the form of implantable radios called “government transmitters” that emit loud noises to prevent citizens “from taking unfair advantages of their brains” (1). The transmitters eliminate intellectual transgressions such as deep contemplation and individual thought, which would violate the values of Vonnegut’s society. Instead of allowing citizens to utilize their intellectual gifts, they are forced to conform to regulation and mediocrity.
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