Harrison Bergeron Questions and Answers
by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Harrison Bergeron book cover
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Based on the story "Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut, is it right for the government to control the very thoughts and actions of every one of its citizens?

As "Harrison Bergeron" shows, it is not right for the government to control the thoughts and actions of its citizens. Equality of opportunity is an important precondition for freedom, but equality and freedom are not the same thing. Vonnegut uses comic exaggeration to illustrate the dangers of the government legislating a distorted version of equality. This kind of "equality," which reduces people to the lowest common denominator, is depicted as a form of tyranny.

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As noted, the world of this story offers no freedom and no individuality. It also depicts a distorted concept of equality that reduces everyone to the same lowest common denominator.

Equality, in terms of equal opportunity, can help people to achieve freedom, but freedom and equality are two different concepts. Freedom allows for people to break away from the norm and excel or be who they are. In "Harrison Bergeron ," people have neither option. In this story, equality has become a form of...

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