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Compare Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron" to Orwell’s 1984.

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Both the short story "Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut and George Orwell's 1984 posit dystopic future worlds.

In "Harrison Bergeron," everyone is "equal":

They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else.

In 1984, all of the outer party members are equal in the sense that complete orthodoxy in thought, word, and deed are required of everyone. Everyone lives in the same miserable conditions, and have barely enough material goods to survive.

In both these societies, the emphasis on absolute orthodoxy has created a dystopia.

In both societies, the needs of the individual have been subordinated to other priorities that quench the human spirit. The people in control stay in power by making it impossible for intelligent and talented members of the society to have a voice.

In 1984, O'Brien openly tells Winston as he is torturing him that the goal of the state is to have complete power over people. A part of how they plan to do this is by simplifying the language so that people have too few words to formulate anything except for very basic thoughts.

In "Harrison Bergeron" the state's desire to have control by keeping people from being able to think is not stated explicitly, but it is implied by the loud noises that keep Harrison's intelligent father from being able to string together two thoughts. At the end, too, the Diana Moon Glampers, the Handicapper General, is willing to cold-bloodedly shoot Harrison and the ballerina rather than let them have the power to express themselves.

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