“Harrison Bergeron” By Kurt Vonnegut
Genre: Satire • A Satire is a literary work that mocks or ridicules the stupidity or vices of individuals, groups or society in general • What aspects of society is Vonnegut mocking? • 1) Government created equality • 2) Affirmative Action – Preferential Policy • 3) Welfare (trying to create financial equality • He is conveying that Forced Equality can take away people’s ambitions.
So, what is the theme? • Humans will always be jealous of each other no matter how hard a greater force tries to make them equal. • Conformity takes away an individual’s ability to express him/herself.
What literary elements does Vonnegut employ to convey this theme? • 1) CHARACTERIZATION • Hazel/Mother • George/Father • Harrison/Protagonist • Government/Antagonist • Diana Moon Glampers/Gov’t Agent
Literary Elements Continued • 2) IRONY • Verbal Irony ~ Handicaps! • Situational Irony ~ One would expect the gov’t would help IMPROVE people’s lives to create equality ~ in actuality, everyone is lowered to the least common denominator. • 3) TONE ~ Vonnegut establishes a sarcastic attitude towards the topic