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Writing a Dystopian Vignette

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by

Lisa Young

on 26 January 2017

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Transcript of Writing a Dystopian Vignette

Kurt Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron" is short, even for a short story.
What's a vignette, you ask?
"Harrison Bergeron" only depicts a small moment in the immense dystopian world Vonnegut created.
Your assignment: Craft another vignette from a dystopian world.
Crafting a Short, Short Story
You might say it was more of
a vignette.
Today we would think of a vignette as a short piece of writing focusing on a single moment.
Rather than describing the whole world...
Focus on one moment in their world.
Or on just on moment in a day.
Fill your story with vivid imagery.
Are you here?
Your moment should be an important one -- a moment that illustrates exactly what is wrong with this dystopian reality.
Is he in this world?
Is this happening?
Vignettes need rich detail to make up for their brevity.
Now write!
That's because it's actually a vignette!
Think of it as a single scene in a movie - or even a single shot!
You zoom in on a single point in time that reveals important aspects of the world.
Use Vonnegut's story as a guide.
Be creative!
Have fun!

The word "vignette" originally meant "something that can be written on a vein of a leaf."
In “Harrison Bergeron,” one of the key literary elements is irony. The irony is obvious--dancers who can't dance, announcers who can't speak, smart people who can't think. To create a false sense of equality, everyone has an artificial handicap, except for the Handicapper General who enforces the laws and selects handicaps. Groups must work together to create equality within the group. “Handicaps” must be considered and individuals within the group must work to provide equality. Find the corresponding handicap and assume the persona indicated as you join your group to complete the class assignment. In your group, make every effort to understand that each person is working to the best of his or her ability.
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