Harrison Bergeron Questions and Answers
by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Harrison Bergeron book cover
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What details in "Harrison Bergeron" establish a sense of place?

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The science fiction short story "Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. is a dark dystopian comedy in which everyone is "equal every which way." To accomplish this, a branch of the government led by the United States Handicapper General forces citizens to wear heavy weights, headphones that emit headache-inducing noises, masks, and other impediments to ensure that no one is stronger, smarter, or better-looking than anyone else. The story's main characters are a couple named George and Hazel, their son Harrison, who is a prodigy of strength and intelligence, and Diana Moon Glampers, the Handicapper General. There are also ballerinas, musicians, and announcers in the TV studio where the ending of the story takes place.

A sense of place in literature involves the time period, locations, and other aspects of environment in which the story occurs. In "Harrison Bergeron," Vonnegut takes a minimalist approach to the setting. He says only what is absolutely necessary to help readers imagine...

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