Harrison Bergeron Questions and Answers
by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Harrison Bergeron book cover
Start Your Free Trial

The author repeatedly employs irony to make the point of how absurd this type of governmental interference is. In this society, one must be average (mediocre) to be just right. What kind of short story is this?

Expert Answers info

Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2015

write10,215 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

Kurt Vonnegut's celebrated short story "Harrison Bergeron" is considered a dystopian science fiction short story that is satirical in nature. In "Harrison Bergeron," Vonnegut creates a dystopian American society set in the year 2081, where the Constitution has been amended to ensure complete uniformity and equality in every facet of life. In order to create a completely uniform, mundane populace, the oppressive United States government forces talented individuals to wear cumbersome, debilitating handicaps that severely limit their capabilities.

Vonnegut's short story is considered a work of dystopian science fiction because the story is set in the future, incorporates technological innovations, and involves great suffering in the imagined state. Vonnegut's work is also considered a satire because it humorously takes aim at governments and politicians by taking egalitarianism to incredible extremes. Vonnegut's biting satire is depicted through his exaggeration of complete equality and the ludicrous laws, which force readers to question certain government policies and analyze the concept of equality.

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial