In the first paragraph, Vonnegut uses the words "unceasing vigilance." What does these words mean? What implications do they have in the text?
In Harrison Bergeron, the phrase "unceasing vigilance" describes the work ethic of the Handicapper General agents. The word "unceasing" means "constant," and "vigilance" refers to careful watchfulness, so the phrase is meant to suggest that the agents of the Handicapper General are always keeping track of the handicaps placed upon people. It implies that the society of Harrison Bergeron is a totalitarian surveillance state in which citizens are constantly watched by their government to ensure that they are always handicapped. This vigilance is confirmed at the end of the story, when Harrison's brief rebellion against his government results very quickly in his death. Harrison only has time to remove his handicaps, and those of the ballerina he declares his Empress, and dance briefly with her before the Handicapper General herself, Dianna Moon Glampers, appears and shoots both of them. The vigilance of her workers ensures that Harrison's rebellion only lasted minutes, and that his actions are met with immediate capital punishment.