What is the main conflict in Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron," and how is it resolved? How does the story's ending make it successful?

The conflict in Kurt Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron" is that of man against society. It is resolved when Diana Moon Glampers shoots Harrison. The story succeeds through the death of Harrison, who must be a tragic and ultimately unsuccessful figure for Vonnegut's social satire to be clear.

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The central conflict in "Harrison Bergeron" exists between Harrison and his society. His society has attempted to make everyone equal by making everyone exactly the same. In order to accomplish this, they have forced handicaps on those who are smarter, faster, or more beautiful than the general population. Harrison's father, for instance, must be fairly intelligent; every time he has a thought which the government finds too intuitive, he receives buzzing sounds and other distractions which force him to cease considering such ideas.

Harrison, a naturally strong man, has already been arrested for "plotting to overthrow the government." As his photo is flashed on his parents' television screen, he is described as both a "genius and an athlete." He is forced to endure more handicaps than anyone else in his society, and the result looks like a Halloween costume.

Harrison certainly understands the costs of appearing on a television set, live before the populace, and ripping his handicaps from his body. Yet this is his destiny; he wants to finally "become what [he] can become."

The self-proclaimed Emperor enjoys a brief moment of glory, free from all of the burdens that his society has placed upon him, before he is shot by Diana Moon Glampers. This resolves the conflict and completes the goals of the story. Harrison cannot exist in this society without fully conforming to its ideals and restrictions, and he is unwilling to continue to sacrifice his ability to become his complete and true self.

Thus, the ending of the conflict is central to Vonnegut's message, which presents a clear distinction between desiring equality for a populace and trying to make everyone the same in order to achieve that goal.

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The main conflict of "Harrison Bergeron" is that of man against society. The story is an exceptionally clear, perhaps definitive, example of the genre. Everything Harrison says, does, and is opposes the society in which he lives in every possible way. Unlike, say, Winston Smith in 1984, Harrison Bergeron is the archetype of the person who must not exist as part of a society in which "everybody was finally equal."

The conflict, therefore, can only be a fight to the death. It is resolved when Diana Moon Glampers shoots Harrison and his Empress, abruptly ending his dreams of empire. There is an irony here, of course, since the Handicapper General herself, far from being handicapped, is able to use a gun, which is the ultimate artificial enhancement to one's fighting ability and a contrast to all the handicaps Harrison has been forced to wear.

To achieve its satirical purpose, the story had to end with Harrison's destruction. As the proponent of radical inequality, Harrison himself is an extremist and a divisive figure. There are obvious problems with the type of society he proposes. If Harrison were to emerge triumphant at the end of the story, this would create so many new difficulties and questions that the object of Vonnegut's satire would no longer be clear. For the story to succeed, its protagonist must fail.

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The conflict in Kurt Vonnegut's short story "Harrison Bergeron" stems from society's desire to be equal. The story is set in the year 2081, and there have been amendments added to the Constitution of the United States that mandate that no one can be smarter, more attractive, stronger, or more talented than anyone else. 

Harrison Bergeron, the title character, is the most handicapped member of society. The Handicapper General's office assign handicaps, such as ear transmitters that emit screeching noises anytime someone has a thought. Harrison's father is equipped with a pair of these. Harrison's mother is not very intelligent or good looking, so she does not have handicaps. 

Harrison was fourteen when he was taken by the Handicapper General's office. Hazel and George, Harrison's parents, are watching ballerinas dance on TV when the show is interrupted by a news bulletin.

"'Harrison Bergeron, age fourteen, she said in a grackle squawk, "has just escaped from jail, where he was held on suspicion of plotting to overthrow the government. He is a genius and an athlete, is under-handicapped, and should be regarded as extremely dangerous.'"

The next paragraphs describe a monsterHarrison is "all Halloween and hardware," outfitted with more handicaps than anyone in history. He is seven feet tall, extremely good looking, strong, smart, and talented. He tears three hundred pounds of scrap metal handicaps off himself as his parents watch him on TV and then declares himself the Emperor. He takes a ballerina and declares her his empress. Diana Moon Glampers, the Handicapper General, shoots them both dead and threatens the other dancers if they do not immediately resume their handicaps. Neither Hazel nor George can remember that they just saw their son die on TV.  

Kurt Vonnegut wrote this story in 1961. This a cautionary tale about what will happen to society if we stop celebrating differences and demand equality for all. Everything that makes a society interesting, pleasurable, and challenging will disappear, and it will be a sad existence of governmental control in which no one is truly happy. The ending is successful because of its ability to make readers consider what that type of society would be like, and what would be lost.  

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The conflict in Kurt Vonnegut's short story Harrison Bergeron is the use of restrictive handicapping devices on the intelligent, talented, strong, or otherwise gifted, in order to ensure total equality in society. For example, the titular character, Harrison, is so talented and strong that he must wear several devices to limit his natural gifts. He is weighed down by heavy hindrances, deafened by large earphones blaring static, and near-blinded by a pair of glasses. Harrison illustrates the conflict between government-mandated limitations and the people burdened with them, because he resists his handicaps on live television. He removes his handicaps and those of a dancer, declaring himself the Emperor and her his Empress, and the two dance around the room.

The story ends with a government official, the Handicapper General, shooting Harrison and his "Empress" on live television. Harrison's parents are watching at home, and the final dialogue in the story adds poignant emphasis to the extent of the limitations placed upon people. Harrison's mother is naturally unintelligent, and his father has been limited by deafening earphones to the point of matching her level of ignorance. The two forget that they have watched their son die on television immediately after witnessing it.

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