“Harrison Bergeron” is a story when Constitutional Amendments have made everyone equal. They were made equal to each other with these laws. “All this equality was due to the…Amendments to the Constitution, and…vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.” (Vonnegut 234) The agents of the Handicapper General enforce the equality laws. People are made equal by devices which bring them down to the normalcy level in the story, which was describe as below average in intelligence, strength, and ability in any other talent. These devices include weights to stunt speed and strength, masks, red rubber clown noses, or thick glasses to hide good looks and to make seeing difficult. Radio transmitters were implanted in the ears of intelligent people, which produces sharp noises two or three times a minute to prevent sustained thought. One can see that there is a constant struggle with the smarter people in the society trying to think on there own for a short while only to come and find themselves lost due to the devices and the government monitoring their thoughts. Since their handicaps have kicked in and made their thought process vanish. “ His thoughts fled in panic, like bandits from a burglar alarm.“ (Vonnegut 5) The sense of knowledge and the ability of learning are capable. The absence of uniqueness and diversity are not present and sameness is the only trait enforced so therefore accepted. All humans can never be truly equal as if clones in the world and function in society when everyone posses a natural valued gift of uniqueness.
The story is set in the future dealing with worldwide conflicts of equality, freedom, power, and media influence. The idea of equality could have been a warning from Vonnegut on the effects of dreadful this can be on the human race. Television announcers have speech impediments, dancers cannot dance, musicians are tone deaf, and families are dysfunctional. Instead of attempting to rally support to stand up and revolt against the government the people are controlled by their handicapped to stay in this society. All those who resist the Handicapper General are arrested, thrown into prison, or shot because they are a threat to the very existence of this society. “It was then that Diana Moon Glampers, …fired twice, and the Emperor and the Empress were dead before they hit the floor.” (Vonnegut 78) Through Diana Moon Glampers, the Handicapper General and the murderer of freedom and individuality, we learn that we can not lean our society completely towards being totally equal. Or else society will lose its chances of excelling forward. Society will be dormant because those smart enough to develop new technology, medicine, and literature may have been permanently handicapped, exiled, or killed with out them there can be no improvement in any area of life. All progress that requires thought will be stopped and all critical thinking will end since the capability will not be allowed. The economy will eventually crash due to the lack of improvement. So Vonnegut’s view of true equality can never work because it demoralizes the human race and stops all creativity for a successful society.
In my opinion, all humans can never truly be equal, we all need the freedom to be able to express and convey our own feelings through own personal uniqueness. We need the diversity to form a successful society thus a equal society cannot exist. The author ends the story with the Handicap government prevailing over its people. He portrays this society winning and uses it as the plot to support against it. This story will make whoever reads it think twice about equality. How The effects can go so far to pose a threat to society and humanity. For us we can not let anything or anyone deprive of our individuality and uniqueness. One can only be grateful and have a great sense of appreciation for the American Democratic which gives us free expression and the allowance of the possibilities to use our gifts to the fullest. But we need to preserve it first, we need to observe our current Constitutional Amendments and vote!
1 -“Political Punch.” abc news.go.com. 28 Jun. 2012. ABC NEWS, 28 Jun 2012
X. J. Kennedy. and Dana Gioia. Literature an introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc., 2013 (Vonnegut)