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What is the tone in "Harrison Bergeron"?

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tacos2013 | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 4, 2013 at 2:16 AM via iOS

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What is the tone in "Harrison Bergeron"?

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stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 4, 2013 at 10:19 PM (Answer #1)

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"Harrison Bergeron" is written from a third person point of view, although readers do have insight into the thoughts of George Bergeron. Most of the narrative is presented in a very matter-of-fact vocabulary, stating the situation and events of the story as if there was nothing unusual or surprising about them.

April for instance, still drove people crazy by not being springtime. And it was in that clammy month that the H-G men took George and Hazel Bergeron's fourteen-year-old son, Harrison, away.

As the story continues, events unfold that seem more and more disturbing to the reader. George endures increasingly distracting sounds from his mental handicap, Hazel makes her comments about the Handicapper General and suggests that George alter the weight of his handicap bag - a truly radical and flagarant violation of the law. Through it all, the narration is unemotional and unattached.

Even at the height of the action, the narration is straightforward, with no indication of excitement in language or punctuation.

There was a shriek of a door being torn from its hinges. Screams and barking cries of consternation came from the television set. The photograph of Harrison Bergeron on the screen jumped again and again, as though dancing to the tune of an earthquake.

Vonnegut wanted to convey a feeling of complete equality at all times. There were no emotions, no differences, no changes of any sort in "2081" and the tone of the story reflects that.

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