In Kurt Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron," what is the Handicapper General, and what does her job entail?

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In Kurt Vonnegut’s short story “Harrison Bergeron ,” the Handicapper General is akin to the real-life Surgeon General or Postmaster General, two high level government positions that began out of a military tradition. As the Surgeon General and Postmaster General are heads of government agencies, one can infer...

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In Kurt Vonnegut’s short story “Harrison Bergeron,” the Handicapper General is akin to the real-life Surgeon General or Postmaster General, two high level government positions that began out of a military tradition. As the Surgeon General and Postmaster General are heads of government agencies, one can infer that the Handicapper General leads the agency that deals with handicapping Americans whose abilities or beauty are greater than average.

The reader learns little about the Handicapper General’s exact job description, but what is revealed is that Diana Moon Glampers, the current Handicapper General, takes an active role in suppressing anyone who attempts to subvert the government. Acting as judge, jury, and executioner, she kills Harrison and his ‘Empress’ with a shotgun. Her job likely gives her this authority, a clear sign that the America Vonnegut depicts has cast aside rule of law and due process in order to enforce equality among its citizens.

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