In "Harrison Bergeron," everyone is forced to be the same. What is one place today where people are forced to be the same?

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Although not everyone in high school is forced to conform as such, there's still a great deal of peer pressure that students have to deal with. In "Harrison Bergeron " so-called handicaps are imposed by a dictatorial government; in high school, they're self-imposed by students as part of their...

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Although not everyone in high school is forced to conform as such, there's still a great deal of peer pressure that students have to deal with. In "Harrison Bergeron" so-called handicaps are imposed by a dictatorial government; in high school, they're self-imposed by students as part of their natural desire to fit in. In such a conformist environment, it's considered unacceptable to be a little different from everyone else, to stand out from the crowd.

In general, students tend to resent those who knuckle down and get on with their work, those who try their hardest to get good grades. This hostile attitude towards the "smart kids" in school can often lead to bullying. In response, the brighter students will often play down their intelligence as a way of fitting in with everyone else, to make life a little easier for themselves. I would argue that this is analogous to the handicaps that smart people like George Bergeron are forced to wear in the story, as playing down their intelligence reduces bright students to the same level as their less intellectually gifted schoolmates. The main difference is that, as well as being self-imposed, such handicaps can always be removed. Though in a high school environment, with all that constant pressure to conform, that's easier said than done.

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There are two things that immediately come to mind when I think of this question. The first one is the way in which in some schools (I went to one) students have to wear uniforms that make them appear the same, and you are not allowed to choose your own clothing to wear to school. This of course means that you are not free to express yourself through your dress and ensures a basic sameness that permeates the entire school.

My second thought concerns cultures which stress the value of conformity and following the group over following your individual desires and wishes. A culture such as the collective culture of China, for example, places a high value on sameness and the importance of community, even if that means suppressing your own desires and wishes. Either of these could be used as a modern day parallel for this excellent short story that presents us with a world where political correctness has gone wild.

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