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Do we want Equality?

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by

Carrington Banks

on 22 October 2015

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Transcript of Do we want Equality?

Synopsis
Harrison Bergeron is the story of an utopia where everyone is equal. Although it sounds like a perfect place, it is not because the equality is at an extreme. Those who are intelligent have ear handicap radios blocking thought, the beautiful have bags to cover their faces, and the strong and athletic have bags of birdshot and sashweights to weigh them down.
Thesis
Throughout the story are many images and symbols that lead the reader to discover the deeper message of the story. The ear handicaps, sash weights, and bags of birdshot, as well as the dialogue throughout the story display the hidden message of Harrison Bergeron and pose the question, “do we want equality?”
Harrison Bergeron
By: Kurt Vonnegut
Point 1: Ear Radios
Point 2: Sashweights
Secondly, are the sash weights. Sash weights were items meant to hold down those who were physically fit from overpowering someone else. The more intelligent, the bigger the sash weights no matter the size of the person. Considering the fact that the point of the sash weights was to make everyone equal, it is ironic that it actually made them less equal because some people had little to no sash weights, making them feel less equal and important.
Point 3: Bags of Birdshot
Last but not least, are the bags of birdshot. Although the bags of birdshot were similar to the sash weights in the fact that they were meant to hold people down, the consequences of taking out something as little as a bead out of the bag showed how harsh punishment was for the most simple of acts. When George says “two years in prison and two thousand dollars fine for every ball I took out” (Vonnegut 3) we see how strict the government was. George later referring to the bag as “just a part of me” shows how brainwashed everyone was into believing that nothing was wrong with the things happening to them.
Conclusion
Equality for All ?
To begin, the story starts off with introducing the ear radios, a handicap for the intelligent, and a major symbol for the story. The handicaps were meant to block those who are intelligent from overthinking someone else, so that everyone could be equal. By saying “the transmitter would send out some sharp noise to keep people like George from taking unfair advantage of their brains.” (Vonnegut 2), it shows how far of an extent the Government went to have equality. By only putting ear handicaps on intelligent people it potentially shows that the Government wanted to block intelligent people from realizing what was happening to them.
In conclusion, Harrison Bergeron tackles the issues of equality through themes and symbolism. The ear handicaps, sash weights, and bags of birdshot, paired with the dialogue throughout the story display the hidden message of the story and pose the common question “Do we want equality?". Although people often wish for equality, ultimately, Harrison Bergeron gives an everyday lesson in life... be careful what you wish for.
bY: Carrington Banks
Main Characters
George Bergeron: father of Harrison Bergeron who had high intelligence although he never got to use it due to all of his handicaps

Hazel Bergeron: Mother of Harrison Bergeron who was not too intelligent, but handicaps just as George did.

Harrison Bergeron: Son of Hazel and George who was regarded as extremely dangerous for his strong athletic abilities and his high intelligence.
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