Harrison Bergeron Questions and Answers
by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Harrison Bergeron book cover
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How are the ballerinas handicapped in "Harrison Bergeron," and why are they handicapped in the ways they are?

The ballerinas in "Harrison Bergeron" are handicapped with weights to stop them from moving as gracefully as they otherwise might. They also have radio transmitters in their ears to stop them from thinking too freely.

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After watching the ballerinas on television, George comments that they dance "no better than anybody else." This is because they are handicapped, or weighed down, by "sashweights and bags of birdshot." They are handicapped in this way to inhibit their gracefulness so that nobody watching them will feel inferior or insufficient. The ballerinas are also forced to wear hideous masks over their faces, so nobody watching them will feel unattractive compared to the ballerinas. The handicaps applied to the ballerinas are adjusted according to their...

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