Fiction Analysis.docx

Fiction Analysis.docx - Casey Murphy ENG-1102/Term 3 Essay...

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Casey Murphy ENG-1102/Term 3: Essay 2 27 January 2018 Analysis of “Harrison Bergeron” In 1961, the United States was in turmoil as it struggled to rectify long-ignored civil rights issues dealing with race and sex. Many people were being suppressed or oppressed in both obvious and subtle ways through various legal, societal, and systemic means. The country needed change, as people longed for equal treatment the opposing pressure from those wanting to maintain the status quo created immense tension. It is in this environment that Kurt Vonnegut composed “Harrison Bergeron,” a dystopian satire on government intervention to create perfect equality for the populace. The short story lampoons how an extreme swing of the pendulum towards equalizing not just now people are treated under the law, but their personal attributes to attempt to eliminate competition between individuals. Vonnegut illustrates the absurdity of such a world in various ways, revealing how there can indeed be too much of a good thing – even equality. The first glimpse of absurdity in Vonnegut’s future United States is the tool through which the country establishes this equality: through three constitutional amendments. Somehow, in less than 120 years, the country has passed 190 amendments to the constitution, alluding to generations of turmoil and attempts to wrangle domestic issues. These amendments establish the Handicapper General, an executive office charged with determining how people can be kept equal. The means by which they accomplish this highlights the real problem with trying to
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