Equality is the best option. What is the difference between believing that all people are equal under the law and believing that all people are the same, as presented in "Harrison Bergeron"?

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stolperia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To believe that all people are the same would mean that you thought all people had equal degrees of ability or talent in various areas, that all people were capable of the same actions, that all people would react in the same way in a given situation, that all people look the same and weigh the same amount and have the same skin color.

In "Harrison Bergeron," all people were the same because they were forcibly made "equal under the law." The Constitution of the United States required equality "every which way," based on the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments, as enforced by the Handicapper General and her office. Thanks to those agents, persons who were different from the standard of "same" established for the society were assigned handicapping devices which nullified the variances.

George's "way above normal" intelligence was brought back to the level established as being acceptable for every citizen by the placement of his "mental handicap radio." The function of the radio was to interfere with his thought process "to keep people like George from taking unfair advantage of their brains."

The television announcer "had a serious speech impediment" which prevented him from being able to read the news bulletin. However, that level of performance was apparently considered as being acceptable for all announcers. The ballerina who took over reading the announcement had to read with "a grackle squawk" in order to make her voice "absolutely uncompetitive" by being more appealing than the announcer's.

Harrison's handicapping devices, meant to counteract his brilliant mind, superior athleticism, and extreme good looks, were the heaviest and most hideous collection of weights and devices and disguises the Handicapper General's office could devise.


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Harrison Bergeron

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