How does "Harrison Bergeron" relate to current society?

Expert Answers info

Michael Del Muro eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2008

write316 answers

starTop subjects are Literature and History

Kurt Vonnegut wrote "Harrison Bergeron" in 1961, which was in the midst of the Cold War and just after the end of the Joseph McCarthy-era of anti-Communist witch hunts by the U.S. Congress. While this story has been used by many different political groups to mean many different things, conservative groups have latched on to this story's anti-equality message. Conservative groups have read this story as a warning that the equality required by socialism and communism require conformity and reduces society to its lowest-common denominator instead of requiring the competition that is inherent to capitalism.

They take George Bergeron's warning to his wife as a warning of what would happen if equality was enforced by the U.S. government:

"If I tried to get away with it ... then other people'd get away with it-and pretty soon we'd be right back to the dark ages again, with everybody competing against everybody else. You wouldn't like that, would you?"

This idea has been applied to many other...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 830 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

mwestwood eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2006

write16,149 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial