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What is Harrison fighting against in  "Harison Bergeron"?"Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt...

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ilovemileycyrus | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 15, 2009 at 9:52 AM via web

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What is Harrison fighting against in  "Harison Bergeron"?

"Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

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kimfuji | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted October 2, 2009 at 1:20 PM (Answer #1)

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Harrison is fighting against forced equality that is in their constitution. He is rebelling and ends up in jail. They--the gov.--think he is trying to overthrow the government. He acts in an extreme way and ends up making proposterous allegations about his supreme abilities and thus value. He becomes a ruler, like a dictator, and ends up violating all that he formerly criticised. He is corrupted by power. His behavior resembles a dictators and, in this sense, Vonnegut is making a statement that power corrupts and that all dictatorships will result in failure. His suffering, in the end, speaks for Vonnegut's view on the fate of people who try to buck the system.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 15, 2009 at 10:24 AM (Answer #2)

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Harrison Bergeron breaks out of jail where he is held on suspicion of wanting to overthrow the government in Kurt Vonnegut's story, "Harrison Bergeron."  His act is rebellion against this suppressive government and its forced equality authorized by the Amendments to the Constitution.

In his act of rebellion, however, Harrison overreacts as he declares himself emperor; as a superhuman, he says he will be "a greater ruler than any man who has ever lived." And, ironically, his attempt to overthrow the totalitarian government is totalitarian itself as he orders the musicians to remove their handicaps and play as he selects his Empress by grabbing the beautiful ballerina.  His rule is extremely short-lived like that of most dictators.  Thus, Vonnegut implies that power must always corrupt.  Tragically, too, Harrison's attempt to free others ends in death, leaving the futility of trying to move upward in society intact.

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