Harrison Bergeron Questions and Answers
by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Harrison Bergeron book cover
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In "Harrison Bergeron," how is Vonnegut's description of the future not as unrealistic as we thought? I just need a jump start please. Thanks.

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Interesting question. In this great story, Vonnegut identifies a worrying tendency that is occurring in our society today and takes it to an extreme, illustrating what would happen if our world took equality to its logical conclusion. The first paragraph of this tale makes it clear what has happened in this world we are introduced to:

The year was 2081, and everyone was finally equal. They weren't only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else.

In our society today, talk of political correctness and equality illustrates this tendency. There is a danger that such a focus will attempt to erase differences rather than celebrate them in an effort not do discriminate. Although we are a far cry away from placing hindrances or weights on people to make them less agile or talented, or putting implants in their ears to reduce their intelligence, still one could argue that there are signs that society is moving towards this kind of equality.

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