In Vonnegut's dystopian future America, the Constitution has been amended to create a completely uniform society, where all citizens are equal in every facet of life. In order to ensure that the entire population is completely equal in each aspect of life, talented, intelligent, and beautiful individuals are required to wear handicaps that limit their abilities and alter their appearances to make them equal with everyone else. Citizens with advanced intelligence are required to wear tiny mental radios that disrupt their thoughts every twenty seconds while physically talented people are forced to wear cumbersome weights that limit their mobility. Harrison Bergeron is a physically imposing fourteen-year-old boy, who stands seven feet tall and wears three hundred pound handicaps. Vonnegut writes that the scraps of metal hang all over him without the typical "military neatness" of other handicaps. The fact that Harrison looks like "a walking junkyard" accurately describes his cumbersome, disproportionate handicaps that make him look ridiculous. Instead of being neatly attached to his body, the extensive weights are asymmetrical and randomly placed all over his body.
The simile that compares Harrison Bergeron to a "walking junkyard" illuminates the young man's physical appearance as he wears all of the handicaps forced upon him.
In the dystopian society of Kurt Vonneguts's science-fiction fantasy in which "everybody was finally equal," individuality is sacrificed for sameness, or "equality," as it is termed. Harrison, son of George and Hazel Bergeron, is a fourteen-year-old genius and athlete; because he is so talented, he is made to wear tremendous handicaps that limit his exceptionality. So, "in the race of life," Harrison carries three hundred pounds of handicaps:
He wears spectacles, intended to greatly hinder his eyesight, and headphones that sting him with sharp sounds intended to inflict headaches. Added to these, Harrison carries three hundred pounds, some which may be bags of birdshot. In order to prevent his being too handsome, there is so much paraphernalia that he must wear that he becomes ludricrous with all the weights around his neck, a red rubber ball on his nose, and black caps on his even white teeth to make them seem snaggle-toothed.