In your own words, summarize the main points of the story.
Thestory tells of a future of society where equality is enforced throughvarious handicap devices such as weights and masks. There is asuperior authority appointed to ensure that people do not exploretheir talents/skills/competencies that make them better than othersin any way. The people as portrayed by George and Hazel seem to haveaccepted this enforced equality except for Harrison. He pays for thiswith his life live on TV together with a ballerina girl whom she hadconvinced to do away with her handicaps.
2.Why do you think Hazel would “hate it” if society went back tothe years “with everybody competing against everybody else?”
Hazelwould be at a disadvantage in a competitive world. She has nocompetitive edge and as such no handicap is imposed on her. As such,she prefers the current handicapped world where she has equals and isan equal herself.
3.Thinking in terms of causeand effect,what do you think may have happened in the United States thatresulted in the dystopiansocietydescribed by Vonnegut? What effectsdo you think this society has had on the U.S. economic and educationsystems?
Excessivemeasures to enforce equality in the society have caused thisdystopiansociety. Theeffect has been death of creativity, skills and talents which aredeemed undesirable because they make people very competitive.
4.One of the themes in this story is “competition vs. equality.” Inyour opinion, which is more important? (Remember to support yourviewpoint.)
Ibelieve competition is better than equality. Equality in this casehas been used to brainwash and control the people not for theiradvantage but to the advantage of the rulers who do not want theirauthority to be challenged. Through Harrison, it is clear that thehandicaps suppress their abilities and creativity. It also preventsany political ambitions among the people. This is especially clearthrough Harrison who claims to be an emperor upon removing handicaps.
5.Why do you think Vonnegut wrote Harrison Bergeron?
Ibelieve Vonnegut wrote the story informed by the development of histime. I believe he was expressing his opposition to affirmativeaction and the gender equality movement. By portraying Hazel as anormal person with below average abilities hence no need to handicapher captures the natural state of women. He uses the characters ofGeorge and Harrison to show that men are superior to women in theirabilities and thinking. Therefore, the handicaps that he mentions inthe story are metaphors for enforced equality laws that seek to makethe different genders equal. To him, gender equality movement andaffirmative action will disadvantage men to the detriment of society.