What emotions did Hazel and George feel in Kurt Vonnegut's story, "Harrison Bergeron"?

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kathik | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

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Though both Hazel and George in "Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut, feel emotion, they cannot remember it once it has passed. Hazel, being perfectly average (which must be much lower than our average of today!), gets teary over Harrison's predicament as she and George watch it on television, but as soon as it's over, and George asks her, "You been crying?" she replies, "Yup," but then when he asks her what she's been crying about, she says, "I forget. Something real sad on television." She also feels compassion for the television announcer as he tries to read the bulletin about Harrison,

"That's all right--Hazel said of the announcer, "he tried. That's the big thing. He tried to do the best he could with what God gave him. He should get a nice raise for trying so hard." (Vonnegut 4)

George, on the other hand, can feel even less. He gets passionate at one point when he hears the noise on television, "My God--"said George, "that must be Harrison!"  But George is constantly bombarded with loud noises in his head through the mental handicap he must wear. He's highly intelligent, but the noises do not let him think; therefore, he quickly forgets what he is feeling about Harrison and everything else.

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