How does a fourteen year old like Harrison in "Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., become so radical?

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kathik | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

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What readers must realize about Harrison in "Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., is that he is highly gifted intellectually. Even with all of the handicaps he is forced to wear, he still thinks.  He sees the injustices of his world, where everyone is supposed to be equal, but nobody really is. He sees the oppression surrounding him and put upon him personally. In research on gifted children, one thing that stands out is that they feel more deeply and often have more empathy for others than someone of average intelligence. Intellectually gifted children want to use their gifts to make a difference in the world. Harrison has probably realized from the time he was very young that something is seriously wrong in his world. He may only be 14 when the story takes place, but his mind is that of a much older adult. In the end, he would rather die than conform to the ridiculous standards of his society.

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