Harrison Bergeron Questions and Answers
by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Harrison Bergeron book cover
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In Kurt Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron," why is the death of the title character significant?

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The first reason that Harrison’s death is significant is because it is the story's climax. The scenes in the Bergeron living room introduce the conflict between Harrison and the government. His takeover of the television studio constitutes the story’s rising action. The climax is incredibly brief, and arguably humorous, but nonetheless effective at shocking first time readers.

Another reason Harrison’s death is significant is that it teaches the reader a very important lesson about authoritarian governments: they do not tolerate dissent. Harrison is not the first rebel whose life was cut short by a firing squad. He is not the first person executed in order to scare others into obeying unjust laws. Though “Harrison Bergeron” may be far fetched in some of its plot points, Harrison’s fate is true to historical examples such as Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia.

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