What is the purpose of the handicaps?

Expert Answers

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

The purpose of the handicaps is to make everyone equal. All of us are born with natural skills and abilities that other people don't have. Some people may be good at sports, others may have superior academic abilities. But in the dystopian nightmare world of "Harrison Bergeron," natural differences between people are considered completely unacceptable.

The Handicapper-General, Diana Moon Glampers, is determined to make sure that no one gains a special advantage over anyone else because of their natural abilities. This is where handicaps come in. Harrison—a tall, athletic young man—is forced to wear heavy weights that slow him down. Harrison's father George is a highly intelligent man. But no one must be allowed to be smarter than anyone else in this society, so he's handicapped by a radio device that emits loud noises into his ears at regular intervals, which prevent him from being able to think.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial