Which statement shows how irony is used in this passage?

The year was 2081, and everybody 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. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.

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Verbal irony occurs when a writer says the opposite of what he or she means. It is hard at work in this passage from Vonnegut's short story "Harrison Bergeron." The part of the passage quoted here is ironic:

They weren't only equal before God and the law. They...

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Verbal irony occurs when a writer says the opposite of what he or she means. It is hard at work in this passage from Vonnegut's short story "Harrison Bergeron." The part of the passage quoted here is ironic:

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.

The sentence below is what makes it clear that the above sentences are ironic. This sentence shows that people are only "equal" because the law orders that they must be:

All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.

That final sentence about enforced equality is the ironic clincher that shows all the preceding sentences mean the opposite of what they say. In fact, the people of this dystopian state are not equal before God, and they are only equal because of the law.

As the rest of the story goes on to show, some people are smarter than others, just as some are better looking, and some are stronger and quicker. The so-called equality this passage talks about is only possible because the state forces talented people to handicap themselves so that they can't excel over other people.

For example, George, Harrison's father, has higher-than-average intelligence. For that reason he is forced to wear a transmitter in his ear that sends out noises every twenty seconds to keep him from having sustained thoughts and therefore taking advantage of his superior brainpower.

Harrison is so intelligent and talented that he has to wear heavy earphones and wavy glasses that not only make it difficult for him to see but give him headaches. He has to wear three hundred pounds of "junk" on his body to weigh him down. He is so good-looking that he has to wear a rubber ball on his nose and have his eyebrows shaved. Ballet dancers have to wear weights so that they don't dance well.

The story illustrates the absurdity of trying to make sure everyone in a society is "equal." As Vonnegut shows, all the enforced "equality" achieves is to make everyone miserable and unable to use their gifts. As we can see in the story, society as a whole suffers when people are restricted from using their gifts. Ironically, enforced equality becomes not the great moral and ethical leveler that people are taught it is, but a form of oppression that harms everyone.

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