How do George and Hazel react to the televised murder of their son Harrison Bergeron?

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George and Hazel show an unnatural lack of concern regarding the televised murder of their son.

Because of his handicap, George is prevented from experiencing any emotions that are considered subversive in the dystopian world he lives in. In this world, all those who are considered of above average intelligence and beauty are required to wear "handicaps" to prevent them from taking undue advantage of these attributes. George is required to wear a mental handicap radio that is tuned to a government transmitter. The handicap ensures that any unacceptably intelligent or cogent thoughts are dispelled by the transmitter sending sharp jolts of noise to his brain.

Hazel is only of average intelligence and thus considered no threat to the existing order. She is not required to wear a mental handicap of any sort.

When their son is shot by Diana Moon Glampers, the Handicapper General, Hazel doesn't know what to think about it. She experiences confusion and sadness all at the same time, but she can't explain her feelings to George. Meanwhile, George is unable to feel pain, anger, or sadness after witnessing his son's televised execution; this is because the mental handicap he wears prevents him from doing so. Due to the government's machinations, neither Hazel nor George can muster up any normal feelings regarding their son's execution.

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

Like all people living in the future society of "Harrison Bergeron," Harrison's parents have substantial external handicaps on their bodies to prevent them from being exceptional in any way. Because of this, and because they are in fact quite intelligent, the handicaps are programmed to distract and disorient them, causing problems with their short-term memories. Both Hazel and George watch Harrison's rebellion on live TV, and then his death at the hands of the Handicapper General; sadly, they are unable to remember the event past a few seconds.

"You been crying" [George] said to Hazel.

"Yup," she said.

"What about?" he said.

"I forget," she said. "Something real sad on television."

"What was it?" he said.

"It's all kind of mixed up in my mind," said Hazel.

"Forget sad things," said George.

"I always do," said Hazel.
(Vonnegut, "Harrison Bergeron,"

Their reaction is typical of the people living in the future; they cannot change their stations in life, because of the handicap laws, and they can't even remember important events. Instead, they simply "forget sad things," and continue with their lives. This means that not only was Harrison's sacrifice in vain, but his parents no longer remember that he died, and so assume that he, like them, still lives a handicapped and average life.

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