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What is the point of view in "Harrison Bergeron?"

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speechlesskee | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 8, 2012 at 6:34 PM via web

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What is the point of view in "Harrison Bergeron?"

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 10, 2013 at 1:52 AM (Answer #1)

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The point of view in "Harrison Bergeron" is third-person omniscient. This is shown by an unseen narrator who is not involved with the story, but knows the characters, their actions, and their internal thoughts and motivations. No character in the story is involved in the telling, and the narrator seems to have knowledge of the story, its origins, and its consequences, as if he were a fly-on-the-wall in multiple locations at the same time.

And it was in that clammy month that the H-G men took George and Hazel Bergeron's fourteen-year-old son, Harrison, away.
It was tragic, all right, but George and Hazel couldn't think about it very hard.
(Vonnegut, "Harrison Bergeron," tnellen.com)

While the majority of the story takes place in the Bergeron's living room, where Harrison's parents are watching the television, the narrator shows knowledge of events outside the room. It is arguable that the narrator may be third-person limited, as everything that happens with Harrison is shown on the television set, but the beginning of the narration shows at least one event outside that scope: the kidnapping of Harrison Bergeron, after the establishment of the Handicap Laws.

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