Kurt Vonnegut Born: 11-Nov-1922 Birthplace: Indianapolis, IN Died: 11-Apr-2007 Location of death: Manhattan, NY Cause of death: Accident – Fall Remains: Buried, Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis, IN Gender: Male Religion: Atheist Race or Ethnicity: White Sexual orientation: Straight Occupation: Novelist Nationality: United States Executive summary:Slaughterhouse Five Military service: US Army (1943-45)
Kurt Vonnegut Combined satiric social commentary and black comedy with surrealist and science fictional elements Common themes in his work include the dehumanization formed by technology, as well as by bureaucracy and media propaganda
Kurt Vonnegut His sentences are short and easily understood so as to be largely accessible Even the most horrifying scenes are underlined by jokes or absurdity
Theme Utopia An ideal or perfect place or state, or any visionary system of political or social perfection Kinds: feminist utopias, ecological utopias, technological utopias, religious utopias communist utopias The perfect societies in utopian novels are often communistic or socialistic in character The opposite of dystopia
Setting Place America Time Year 2081, April 2081 Social conditions The government enforced the laws of equality. Those who possess average intelligence are unable to think for extended periods of time while thoughts of intelligent people are interrupted by the broadcasts of the government through small head radios the people wear.
Major Characters Harrison Bergeron George Bergeron Hazel Bergeron Diana Moon Glampers
Harrison Bergeron The son of George and Hazel Bergeron 14 years old 7 ft. tall, strong, and extremely handsome but his eyebrows are shaved off and he is wearing 300 pounds of metal, huge earphones, big glasses, a red rubber nose and black caps over his teeth to counteract his strength, intelligence, and good looks
George Bergeron Harrison’s father and Hazel’s husband Intelligent and strong, but is wearing weights around his neck and a radio that prohibits him from thinking deeply Obeys laws and avoids risks because he fears the government
Hazel Bergeron Harrison’s mother and George’s wife Scatterbrained, dumb, and a helpless average American Sweet and well intentioned
Diana Moon Glampers The Handicapper General of the United States In charge of limiting the capacities of those who are above average
Plot Exposition Harrison Bergeron is taken away by the government with his parents not being aware of the incident. The government sends Harrison to jail since he is considered as a threat.
Plot Rising Action Hazel compliments the dance of the ballerinas on TV while George says th0se dancers are not very good because their actions are limited. A noise interrupts George’s thoughts. Hazel says she would enjoy hearing the noises that the handicappers dream up and she would be a good Handicapper General.
Plot Rising Action Before being interrupted by another noise, George thinks of Harrison. Hazel says George looks exhausted. She supposes that it is due to his handicap bag, so she suggests taking a few of the weights out of the bag. But George refuses, and says he doesn’t want society to return to its old competitive ways. A noise makes them forget the conversation.
Plot Climax On TV, the ballerina, altering her voice so she won’t make anyone jealous, reads a bulletin which the speech-impaired broadcaster can’t announce. The bulletin says that Harrison has escaped from prison. A photo of Harrison appears on the screen.
Plot Climax After a rumbling noise, Harrison suddenly appears in the studio. He proclaims himself as the emperor then he rips off all of his handicaps. Looking like a god, he picks a ballerina who was brave enough to stand up as his empress and promises to make the musicians royalty if they do their best.
Plot Falling Action As Harrison dances to the music and manages to defy gravity with his empress, Diana Moon Glampers comes into the studio, kills both Harrison and his empress, and threatens the musicians with a shotgun.
Plot Denouement The Bergerons’ TV screen goes dark. When George returns after getting a beer, he sees Hazel crying and asks why. She says she can’t quite remember but something sad happened on the TV.
“The year was 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren't only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was any smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else.”
"Harrison Bergeron" is a satirical science fiction tale about the dark side of an ideal, utopian American society. Nothing is clearly suggestive of negativity. The story is told through the third-person point of view of an objective narrator
Symbolism “I am the Emperor!” shouts Harrison Bergeron. The chains worn by Harrison The Handicapper General, Diana Moon Glampers The death of Harrison Bergeron and the ballerina The prominence of words like “think,” “anybody,” “people,” and “like”