Can someone list some figurative language in "Harrison Bergeron"?Kurt Vonnegut

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In Kurt Vonnegut's satire, "Harrison Bergeron," there are, among others, the following elements of figurative language:


The entire first paragraph is satiric as Vonnegut writes that in the year 2081 "everybody was finally equal."  People are "equal" in intelligence, physical appearance, and athletic abilty:

All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.

This satire continues into the next paragraph in which the author writes that "it was tragic."

Of course, the satiric language and tone continues throughout the story.


It is clear in the first paragraph of the story that Vonnegut is using the words equal and equality ironically.


In describing the metaphor, the narrator states,

Her voice was a warm, luminous, timeless melody.

But, after apologizing [satire], she made her voice "uncompetitive": "Harrison Bergeron, age fourteen," she said in a grackle squawk....

In the race of life, Harrison carried three hundred pounds.

Screams and barking cries of consternation came from the television set.



but Harrison looked like a walking junkyard.

Harrison tore the straps of his handicap harness like wet tissue paper,...

The bar snapped like celery

They leaped like deer on the moon.


Within the example above on metaphor, there is understatement, as well:

...and she began again, making her voice absolutely uncompetitive.


The photograph of Harrison Bergeron on the screen jumped again and again,....

...for many was the time his own home had danced to the same crashing tune [figurative language]


He flung away his rubber-ball nose, revealed a man that would have awed Thor, the god of thunder


He flung away his rubber-ball nose, reavealed a man that would have awed Thor..... [obvious exaggeration=hyperbole]

They leaped like deer on the moon.