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[…] we’d be right back to the dark ages again, with everybody competing against everybody else. You wouldn’t like that, would you?” (Vonnegut 1307). Harrison, the story’s protagonist, is trapped – by both his handicaps of “tremendous pair of earphones[…], scrap metal […] hung all over him” (Vonnegut 1308) and the jail cell. He escapes from his physical imprisonment, and strips himself off all handicaps. Yet, he is not truly
free and in an act of rebellion, claims “I am the Emperor!” (Vonnegut 1309). For a moment, Harrison is freed from everything – “the laws of land abandoned, [as well as] the law of gravity and the laws of motion as well” (Vonnegut 1309). This rebellious act doesn’t end well, and Harrison loses his fight for freedom as he dies in a hail of bullets. While all this is seen on live television, the people watching, including Harrison’s own parents, cannot remember what they have just seen, and society is back under government control as if nothing has happened. Vonnegut uses this conflict, along with the tragic end, as a way of showing that one person alone cannot change the society, and makes light of how little a human life means to such a ruthless government.