Harrison Bergeron Questions and Answers
by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

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What is one quote that stands out to you as significant? This might lead to a deeper meaning, or perhaps hint at the theme.

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He tried to think a little about the ballerinas. They weren't really very good-no better than anybody else would have been, anyway. They were burdened with sashweights and bags of birdshot, and their faces were masked, so that no one, seeing a free and graceful gesture or a pretty face, would feel like something the cat drug in.

This quotation brings out several of the themes of "Harrison Bergeron." First, George is trying to think, always difficult given the continual barrage of noises to which he is subjected. The handicaps mean that no one can ever think clearly and it is about the handicaps that he is trying to think. Is it really a good idea that no one is better at anything than anyone else? Why should anyone watch dancers on television when the dancers are "no better than anybody else would have been?"

This quotation is unusual, however, in suggesting a motive for all this equality. It is not clear whether the thought comes from George or is added by the author, but the quotation ends with the idea that the sight of "a free and graceful gesture or a pretty face" would make the observer feel "like something the cat drug in." This means that the policy of handicapping is motivated not by some abstract desire for universal equality but by envy and feelings of inadequacy. Equality sounds like a grand aim but Vonnegut suggests that those who aim at it may have mean and spiteful motives.

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