May 21 2016
One well-written work of art that caught my attention was Kurt Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron.” This short story is about George and Hazel watching television, where they happen to see their son get shot but have their memory distracted that then forget what happened. Hazel and George were forced to wear an in ear transmitter that sends out distractions to keep them from thinking for themselves. Harrison who happened to be George and Hazel’s son escapes prison, and is being searched for, his face all over the news and his parents are watching the television, but because of the thought police they recall who he is and then it gets erased from their memory that instant! Harrison ends up getting shot to death because he tries to overthrow the government. George and Hazel saw their son get shot on the television, but all they could recall was something sad that had happened on the TV, which made Hazel cry.
Harrison Bergeron was confusing to read the first time around, I had to reread it a second time in order to realize what was going on. The thought about your thoughts being controlled is just flat out scary, imagine thinking about what you’re going to do in a few days and then bam! It gets erased from your memory and you completely forget about it. Having to have someone control what you can remember or think about is just ridiculous, but then again the story takes place in the year 2081 and of course the way that society is going just implies that we may be headed down that road either way. Reading Harrison Bergeron the only thing I could think about was what if this was society today? What if we were not allowed to be independent but the amendments forced up to be just like everyone else, equal but unhappy.
This short story is one hundred percent dystopia, maybe once long ago their world was a utopia that became dystopia. The reason I consider this short story a dystopia because of the fact that they cannot think for themselves. In the world that George and Hazel are living in, they have become accustomed to being controlled. The ballerinas they were watching on the television had bags over their head, people like George and Hazel were considered handicapped and that is why they wore the in-ear transmitters to control their train of thought.Not only is it dystopian because of the fact that they cannot think for themselves but more because they claim everyone to be equal, but like I said they may all be equal but they are not happy they are accustomed. Those who are good looking must wear a bag over their head, those who are smart are dumbed down, no one is allowed to be superior to the government, and that is why Harrison Bergeron was killed—because he thought highly of himself and tried to overthrow the government. At least he was about to think for himself unlike his parents.