Essay on Equality in Harrison Bergeron

702 Words Jun 15th, 2013 3 Pages
Kurt Vonnegut’s short story "Harrison Bergeron" is set in the future (2081), when the government has supposedly made everyone “equal.” The people of this era are forced equal by technology. These people are denied individuality, and the governments have taken their freedom by enforcing laws. Vonnegut’s story is a satire because the society he depicts is not truly equal, but rather a totalitarian regime under the pretense of equality. I will examine how Vonnegut seems to be implying that in such a society, the government gains too much control and people gradually lose their individuality.
In Vonnegut’s story, “everybody was finally equal. They weren't only equal before God and the law. They were equal in every which way." So how does this
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Vonnegut seems to imply that ironically, power are in the hands of only a few people under the pretense of equality, and that extraordinary people has no place to live in such an authoritarian society.
Controlled by the government, citizens also lose their individuality. Masks are worn so beauty is hidden. When George and Hazel were watching ballerinas on the television, the ballerinas’ “faces were masked, so that no one, seeing a free and graceful gesture or a pretty face, would feel like something the cat drug in.” Moreover, people who are strong have to wear weights on their bodies. George had a “forty-seven pounds of birdshot in a canvas bag, which was padlocked around [his] neck," which even Hazel finds pitying. Even voices are controlled. Reading a bulletin, a ballerina had to “apologize at once for her voice” because her actual voice was “a warm, luminous, [and] timeless melody.” Therefore, people in this society lose their individuality and humanity. Vonnegut seems to imply that the government intrudes the everyday lives of citizens under the pretense of equality, just like the communist totalitarian regime of Mao Ze Dong in China.
Vonnegut seems to think

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