In Vonnegut’s short story of “Harrison Bergeron” , the United States Constitution has been amended hundreds of times and has resulted in to a society where everybody’s the same, meaning not one person was stupider, uglier, weaker or slower than anyone else. These new laws have been made to where the physically talented, intelligent, and beautiful individuals have been diminished. The individuals were forced to make them less of who they are, by either wearing ugly masks or disfiguring themselves, wearing weights and had to wear devices that sounded a radio so that it would prevent them from thinking on their own, they were not aloud to think for themselves.
Vonnegut suggests that total equality is not an ideal idea and that it is a mistake, which has a dangerous out come. The thought of total equality is embedded into these citizens, who are all hiding their true special and amazing attributes.
People were willing to undergo this change because they agree with the government’s goals, and other just simply fear the government and where afraid of the punishment they may receive if they do not participate or display any of their unique markers.
The outcome of this has become disastrous as society has become a place of stupid and cowed people. George says early in this story that Hazel is as “good as anybody else” which means that she is just as everybody else and is incapable of her own serious thoughts just as every other American living in 2081.
These people feel is if they have no say not just as part of society but of themselves. These people have become enslaved by the government. Equality is supposed to make people happy but by taking people rights away and who they were in reality made them very depressed.
In this short story, Harrison was a character who was a brave, intelligent individual who overcame his timid tendencies towards the government and took of his handicaps which included the devices who kept himself the same as others. He wanted to be himself, he felt empowered when he took off his handicaps. Harrison was expressing that others should feel empowered as well,but in the end being killed because he decided to stick up for himself and everyone else. Vonnegut was expressing through this character that everybody should be able to express themselves. Vonnegut’s dystopian society draws a clear illustration that forcing equality by punishing the talented and beautiful people in the world is dangerous. He thinks we should be celebrating individuals differences. Vonnegut clearly sees a difference in equality and having equal opportunity.
Vonnegut believes that society had a responsible role for protecting the weak and less fortunate by passing legislation that was promoting these laws of punishing the strong and fortunate. He believes that everybody should have equal opportunities in education, employment and justice. However he does not think society should celebrate the lazy or mediocre and should not punish those individuals who are more talented, beautiful, or smarter in order to please those who do not perceive these traits. Essentially, Vonnegut is in favor of equal opportunity, but not the idea of society punishing those who are talented while promoting those who are not.