What is the shredding of Harrison's handicaps symbolic of?

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Harrison's shredding of the handicaps in Kurt Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron" is symbolic of his removal of society's limits on human achievement.

Throughout the story, the positive idea of equality has been defined as making citizens equally bad at everything. The citizens in this society, illustrated by George...

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Harrison's shredding of the handicaps in Kurt Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron" is symbolic of his removal of society's limits on human achievement.

Throughout the story, the positive idea of equality has been defined as making citizens equally bad at everything. The citizens in this society, illustrated by George Bergeron, are more than willing to wear handicaps to make themselves equally bad at all things. Early in the story, George's wife, Hazel, suggests he take off his handicaps to "rest the bag for a little while." However, George, who has been innundated by loud noises in his ears to prevent him from thinking and had to carry around 47 pounds of birdshot in a bag to bring his strength down to the average person's, vehemently defends the handicaps saying that if he tried to get away with it "then other people'd get away with it-and pretty soon we'd be right back to the dark ages again, with everybody competing against everybody else."

However, Harrison does not believe in these restrictions. Already, at 14 years old, Harrison has forced the handicappers to come up with new handicaps because he keeps improving in all categories. Among the things Harrison had to wear were a pair of eyeglasses with "thick wavy lenses" that would "give him whanging headaches," three hundred pounds of physical handicaps, and a "tremendous pair of earphones" instead of the small transmitters George wears. But again, these handicaps aren't enough to keep Harrison from growing. When he escaps and enters the studio, he shouts, "[W]atch me become what I can become!" That's when he ripped off the padlock, which "snapped like celery," and then "tore the straps of his handicap harness like wet tissue paper, tore straps guaranteed to support five thousand pounds." 

Harrison's removal of these handicaps allowed him to leap "like deer on the moon" and kiss the 30-foot-high studio ceiling. Symbolically, Vonnegut is suggesting that once people rip off their self-installed or socially installed handicaps, they can leap like Harrison "neutraling gravity with love and pure will."

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