Harrison Bergeron Questions and Answers
by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

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What is an example of situational irony in "Harrison Bergeron"?

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In a work of literature, situational irony occurs when there's a discrepancy between what's expected and what actually happens. A prime example of this takes place in "Harrison Bergeron" when we're informed that "April still drove people crazy by not being springtime." This gives the reader the impression of normality, that apart from the weather, everything in this society is just fine. Yet our expectations are suddenly shattered when we discover that Harrison's been arrested for trying to overthrow the government. Straight away, we realize that this is no ordinary society.

Our initial impressions are confirmed by another piece of situational irony. Harrison's parents, George and Hazel, far from being devastated by their son's arrest, feel absolutely no emotion whatsoever. That's because George is forced to wear a handicap that prevents him from thinking, and Hazel is considered have low intelligence and so has a very limited attention span. Once again, our expectations are confounded. Parents are normally supposed to be concerned if their children are arrested, especially for a serious crime like overthrowing the government. But not George and Hazel, for the reasons just given.

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