What does Harrison's rebellion reveal about his character and his values?

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The reader knows he is exceptionally strong, intelligent, and good-looking based on his handicaps, at only fourteen years old.

In his television takeover, Harrison is almost a caricature. He removes all of the fortified handicaps as easily as one changes clothes. He also boldly declares himself the emperor and implores...

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The reader knows he is exceptionally strong, intelligent, and good-looking based on his handicaps, at only fourteen years old.

In his television takeover, Harrison is almost a caricature. He removes all of the fortified handicaps as easily as one changes clothes. He also boldly declares himself the emperor and implores “the first woman who dares to rise to her feet [to] claim her mate and her throne.” This quote is honestly ridiculous, even within the context of the story. Based on Harrison’s age, one might suggest that he is performing for the cameras in an over-the-top, nearly comical manner. The studio workers and performers’ fear, however, suggests they believe Harrison is a threatening presence.

As far as his values, one could argue that Harrison is certainly willing to risk his life to stand up for what he believes is right. He is actively protesting the handicapping system in the most public way he can. This bold choice reflects his emotional strength as well. Living in a totalitarian state, Harrison had to have known that his actions would have dire consequences. For Harrison, the reward of exposing the government is worth his life.

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In Vonnegut's short story Harrison Bergeron, the titular character rejects the handicaps placed on him by his society's oppressive government, declares himself Emperor, and exhibits his superhuman physical skill on live television. Harrison's actions primarily show his bravery; he very publicly denies the authority of a totalitarian government, breaking several laws by removing each of his handicaps as well as those limiting the ballerina and musicians. Additionally, Harrison is shown to be very confident and strong-willed when he declares himself Emperor, claiming that he is "a greater ruler than any man who ever lived," and begins issuing orders to those in the room with him. Harrison's intelligence and capability are established by the extent of the limitations on his vision and hearing, but further confirmed by his ability to resist even the strongest handicaps. Despite having his abilities restricted on every level, Harrison still manages to concoct a plan of resistance, something no one else in the story manages to do on their own.

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