Based upon the narrative of "Harrison Bergeron," what are some modern day "handicaps?"

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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In Kurt Vonnegut's short story Harrison Bergeron, Vonnegut makes certain allowances in order to make everyone equal. Some of the examples from his text are

weights to stunt speed and strength; masks, red rubber clown noses, or thick glasses to hide good looks and to make seeing difficult; and radio transmitters implanted in the ears of intelligent people, which emit sharp noises two or three times a minute to prevent sustained thought.

While Vonnegut offered simplistic "devices" to normalize humanity, one could examine the modern day to find similar "devices" which make people more equal (based upon their handicaps).

1. Prosthetic limbs- The use of prosthetic limbs provide those with physical handicaps (missing limbs) the ability to resume "normal" lives. People missing legs can use a prosthetic to walk and run (something which they could not do without it).

2. Make-up- Women use make-up to do one thing: make herself more attractive to others. Her handicap, according to her own understanding, is that she is more attractive with make-up than without. The use of make-up, therefore, brings the level of attractiveness of the woman up to that of her peers.

3. Hearing devices- People use hearing devices in order to raise their ability to hear other people (their handicap being hearing loss). These devices allow the wearer to hear the same way as those who do not require the device.

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