Harrison Bergeron Questions and Answers
by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Harrison Bergeron book cover
Start Your Free Trial

How does Kurt Vonnegut use literary devices to convey the theme of "Harrison Bergeron"?

Expert Answers info

Scott David eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2018

write1,123 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

Ultimately, "Harrison Bergeron" is a criticism of egalitarianism (as well as society's tendency to advance social progress through government action). Vonnegut advances this criticism by creating a dystopia in which everyone has been made equal through the use of coercive force. In characterizing this dystopia, Vonnegut makes heavy use of irony and exaggeration, in order to convey the irrationality and madness of this world he is depicting.

First, note that "Harrison Bergeron" is a dystopian story: it provides a picture of the future, set in 2081, in which people have been made equal through constitutional amendment. This has been achieved through the use of handicaps and is backed by threat of force. As is often the case with dystopian stories, Vonnegut uses this vision of the future to provide a warning to his own society, depicting these egalitarian ideals as potentially dangerous and dehumanizing.

Probably the one literary device that ties this story together more than...

(The entire section contains 484 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial