Harrison Bergeron Questions and Answers
by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Harrison Bergeron book cover
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In Harrison Bergeron, why is everyone finally equal in 2081?

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In Vonnegut's future dystopian America, every citizen is completely equal in all facets of life due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution. In addition to the three significant amendments that champion complete equality and uniformity, the agents of the United States Handicapper General strictly enforce the law by requiring talented, intelligent, and physically gifted citizens to wear cumbersome, intrusive handicaps that limit their abilities. In the story, the United States government is depicted as a totalitarian regime, where government agents oppress citizens and use violent tactics to ensure their obedience.

Vonnegut suggests that the government fears intelligent, skilled individuals and requires equality in all facets of life to ensure political stability. The government's fears are realized when Harrison Bergeron escapes from prison and attempts to usurp power by declaring himself Emperor of the United States. However, the Handicapper General, Diana Moon Glampers, shoots and kills Harrison on national television.

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