What details reveal George's character in "Harrison Bergeron"?

1 Answer | Add Yours

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The tremendous influence of technology is easily apparent to readers as the entire plot centers upon what Harrison Bergeron's parents, George and Hazel Bergeron, perceive on the television. In fact, their names are reminiscent of a very successful television program of the 1960s about a very successful corporate lawyer. George Baxter, and his maid, Hazel. This medium of television is desensitizing and thought-shifting rather than thought-provoking, and certainly, it has an effect upon George Bergeron.

  • When his son Harrison is taken away by the police"on suspicion of plotting to overthrow the government," George has offered no resistance. Later when George tries to think of him, a "twenty-one gun salute " in his head prevents him from doing so.
  • When his wife suggests that he remove his handicaps that cause him such pain, George refuses, saying, "I don't notice it any more. It's just a part of me." He is submissive to this government.
  • In fact, he is  convinced that his discomfiture is appropriate.

"If I tried to get away with it...then other people'd get away with it--and pretty soon we'd be right back to the dark ages again, with everybody competing against everybody else. You wouldn't like that, would you?"

  • George has been so influenced by the new society he lives in that he tells his wife that society falls apart if people cheat on the laws. But, with all the noise going on in his head, George loses track of where he is and what he was thinking.
  • When his son comes on the television screen, George identifies his son on the television screen, but experiences more pain in his head until the television tube burns out. George simply goes to the kitchen for a can of beer.
  • As he returns, George tells his wife to "Forget sad things" when she mentions the sight of Harrison's shooting that they have just witnessed on the television. Then, he again shudders under his submission to pain of his mental shocks. 

 George Bergeron, a naturally intelligent man, is greatly repressed by his society, a repression to which he now offers little residence.

We’ve answered 318,993 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question