Harrison Bergeron Questions and Answers
by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Harrison Bergeron book cover
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What tendencies in present-day American society is Vonnegut satirizing in "Harrison Bergeron"? Does the story argue for anything? How would you sum up its theme?

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Kurt Vonnegut begins "Harrison Bergeron" by remarking that in the year 2081, everyone was finally equal:

They weren't only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else.

The satire here is directed not at equality, but at a misunderstanding and misapplication of the concept. There are two ways in which Vonnegut thinks many of his contemporaries misunderstand equality. The first mistake is suggested in the initial sentence of the...

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