In "Harrison Bergeron" how do Hazel and George react to the televised murder of their son?

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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George and Hazel struggle to appreciate the dancing ballerinas that they are watching on the television and fail to comprehend their son's rebellious act. George, who is extremely intelligent, is forced to wear headphones that make loud noises every twenty seconds in order to interrupt his thoughts. George's wife, Hazel, can only think of things in short bursts, which means she cannot truly understand or comprehend the significance of her son on the television screen.

When Harrison's picture is initially shown on the screen, George recognizes his son but immediately forgets what he is watching...

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a3j1s2 | Student

During the climax of Ray Bradbury's short story "Harrison Bergeron", the titular character and a ballet dancer are murdered by Diana Moon Glampers (the Handicapper General) as punishment for removing their handicaps (heavy weights and hideous masks). Their deaths are televised and Harrison's mother, Hazel, is watching the news report as the events unfold.

Initially, Hazel is deeply troubled by her son's death, as is evidenced by the tears that George sees in her eyes upon returning to the room after grabbing a drink. When asked why she has been crying, Hazel responds by pointing out "Something real sad on television," but she does not go into specifics as to what she saw. Instead of pressing her for details, George tells her to "Forget sad things," before being handicapped by having the the sound of a riveting gun played into his ear. 

Distracted by her husband's reaction to his handicap, Hazel forgets about Harrison's death and the short story ends with neither of Harrison's parents recognizing the fact that their son has just been murdered on live television.