What is the setting of "Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut?

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The first line of "Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut gives readers the most important details about the setting of this story:

The year was 2081, and everybody was finally equal.

Immediately we know that this story is set in the distant future, in a place where everyone is now equal. 

As the story continues, we have two specific settings. The first is Harrison Bergeron's house and the second is a television studio, and they are connected. Harrison is doomed for trouble because, even at the age of fourteen, he is far beyond others in most ways, and the government has run out of ways to try to equalize (lower) him to the same abilities and skills as everyone else.

As Harrison's parents are sitting and watching the television, they see a news bulletin that announces Harrison's break from jail. Soon the news shows Harrison breaking down the door to the television studio, which is the only other setting for the story. 

What the house and the television studio actually look like is unimportant; what is important is that both exist. Obviously the most significant aspect of setting for this story is not place but time and mood; the place is the future and the mood is a time when an oppressive government tries to make everyone equal. 

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