What is individuality in "Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Kurt Vonnegut portrays a society in which individuality is a serious threat to general social well-being. While people in this future society acknowledge that there are individuals, every difference from the norm is perceived as unfair and therefore threatening. Each person must be "handicapped"—modified appropriately to suppress their individual features.

Differences in individuality are shown in Hazel and George Bergeron, a married couple. Hazel is of average intelligence and requires no adjustment. George’s "intelligence was way above normal," so he "had a little mental handicap radio in his ear. He was required by law to wear it at all times." The transmitter sends out signals to mess with his brain, "to keep people like George from taking unfair advantage."

Individuality in the society is suppressed in artists as well. While performing, ballet dancers all wear handicaps to keep them equal so they cannot actually leap about. This is intended to keep others from feeling bad if they...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 775 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on