George and Hazel, his wife, witness Why cannot George an Hazel remember they are sad after witnessing their son died on TV?

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Rebecca Owens eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hazel has a perfectly "normal" intelligence, which means she can only think in short bursts. George wears a radio device in his ear through which the government transmits noises to disrupt his thoughts so that he cannot take unfair advantage of people like Hazel by using his brain.

Hazel, who wears *no* handicaps can't recall what she has witnessed because she is "normal". In the government's attempt to create equality, every member of society has been reduced to the lowest common denominator. Normal people, therefore, are not very smart, strong, or agile.

George never witnesses Harrison's death. He was in the kitchen getting a can of beer, so he depends upon Hazel to tell him the news. She is so "normal" that she can't remember what happened just moments ago. However, even if George *had* witnessed Harrison being shot, his ear radio probably would have prevented him from thinking about it much, though he may have remembered the incident.

sagetrieb eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Revision: From the very beginning of the story George and Hazel lead lives that are passive and acquiescent, lacking emotional capacity. They speak in platitudes, which by definition lack emotional depth and commitment, such as such as when the television announcer cannot deliver a news bulletin because he—“like all announcers”—has a serious speech impediment, Hazel’s response is, “he tried. That’s the big thing.” If a person does not have a emotional response to a situation, she cannot remember it for there is nothing to attach the event to her memory. They forget the entire scene about Harrison almost as soon as they witnessed it because they no emotional response to it to begin with.

bmadnick eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The handicaps put on Harrison didn't work, but the handicaps used on his parents do work. Harrison's mother is not very bright, so it doesn't take much to control her thoughts. His father is smarter, so the government controls his thoughts with loud sounds that are so painful, the father can't remember why he's sad.

literature112 | Student

The question should be: Why can't George and his wife, Hazel, remember why they are sad after witnessing their son die on TV?

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Harrison Bergeron

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