Harrison Bergeron Questions and Answers
by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Harrison Bergeron book cover
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What line is the phrase "In the race of life, Harrison carried three hundred pounds" in the story?

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Vonnegut describes Harrison Bergeron as looking like a "walking junkyard" as his cumbersome handicaps hang from his body without their typical military neatness. In addition to the extraordinary amount of weight on his body, Harrison wears a "tremendous" pair of earphones and thick wavy glasses that impair his vision. Vonnegut then writes, "In the race of life, Harrison carried three hundred pounds" (3). Vonnegut is figuratively comparing life to a race and describing the total weight of Harrison Bergeron's handicaps, which weigh three hundred pounds. The oppressive government has forced Harrison Bergeron to wear three hundred pounds of cumbersome handicaps for the remainder of his life in order to make him completely equal with the rest of America's population. In Vonnegut's futuristic, dystopian American society, complete uniformity is required and enforced by the agents of the Handicapper General. Since Harrison is an impressive physical specimen, he is required to wear an extraordinary amount of weights to impair his above-average physical capabilities.

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