How are George and Hazel alike in "Harrison Bergeron"?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hazel and George Bergeron are only alike because of the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments. "The year was 2081, and everybody was finally equal."

In the society of the year 2081, agents of the Handicapper General are vigilant in the enforcement of equality. With this forced equality, in which the highly intelligent such as George Bergeron must be burdened with "handicaps," such as a forty-seven pound bag of birdshot around his neck and sirens that go off in his head that impede intelligent and significant thought, those who are the paragons of mediocrity, such as Diana Moon Glampers, who need not wear any handicap, can move into positions of authority and feel the equal of anyone else. Similarly, the average Hazel Bergeron, whose genetic make-up is her handicap, finds herself the equal of her husband George without wearing any handicaps at all.

Kurt Vonnegut's story of handicaps upon the strong, athletic, and intelligent illustrates how damaging and ineffectual attempts to make everyone equal can be. For, the weaker can not be made stronger without weakening those who are strong. There is no true "equality" in life.

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Harrison Bergeron

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