What is the effect of Harrison Bergeron's death on society? What are the differences between the handicaps of Harrison and those of his father George? Why?

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amarang9 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Given how effective the mental handicaps seem to be, Harrison's death will have little effect on this particular society. George's and Hazel's television burns out immediately after they see their son killed on television. It seems likely that the powers in association with the Handicapper General have shorted out their television. And it is likely that the same authorities probably shut off many or all televisions everywhere. Mental handicaps everywhere are turned on and all those viewers who had just witnessed Harrison's death become distracted and soon forget what they have seen. Hazel forgets almost immediately. George's mental handicap is engaged and he also soon forgets. These mental handicaps are so effective that it only takes a few moments for George and Hazel to forget the death of their son. Harrison's death won't have a large, or any, impact on society if his own parents are unaffected. Perhaps if he had used his strength and intelligence to inspire a revolution, some social change might have occurred. But Harrison uses this moment to proclaim his superiority. 

Harrison's handicaps are the strongest the Handicapper General can come up with. He is seven feet tall and is incredibly gifted, mentally and physically: 

Instead of a little ear radio for a mental handicap, he wore a tremendous pair of earphones, and spectacles with thick wavy lenses. The spectacles were intended to make him not only half blind, but to give him whanging headaches besides. 

Harrison is burdened with three hundred pounds of scrap metal, making him look like a "walking junkyard." He is also very good looking, so the H-G men have given him things like a clown nose to make him look less attractive. 

George's handicaps are not as oppressive as Harrison's because George is not as physically and mentally gifted. But George is physically and mentally above average. So, he does have a transmitter in his ear to distract his mind if and when he has intelligent thoughts. George is also burdened with a forty-seven pound bag locked around his neck. George says it has become a part of him and that he doesn't even notice it anymore. This shows the extent to which people in this society have become used to and accepted their handicaps and this way of life.