Homework Help

What is the irony in "Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut?

user profile pic

jessicachopra | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 21, 2009 at 11:07 PM via web

dislike 2 like

What is the irony in "Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut?

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

scarletpimpernel | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 22, 2009 at 9:01 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

There are several examples of satirical irony in "Harrison Bergeron." First, when Harrison is younger, his parents do nothing when the H-G men come to take him away. They simply follow along with whatever they are told to do, and even if Hazel would have protested, she would have soon forgotten where Harrison went because of her lack of intelligence.

Additionally, in most societies people who are beautiful, strong, intelligent, etc., are valued and have easier lives.  In "Harrison Bergeron," however, Vonnegut creates a society which seeks to make people uglier, weaker, and dumber so that they will blindly follow the regime.

Finally, it is ironic that in handicapping Harrison with heavy weights, the government has made him stronger; and even though, he meets an untimely demise at the story's end, he most likely lived more in those few minutes of rebellion than any of the government workers or his own parents did.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes