Who is Harrison Bergeron in conflict with?

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Harrison, the young protagonist in the short story, “Harrison Bergeron ” is in conflict with the government in the dystopian society in which he lives.  The government and the Handicapper General, Diana Moon Glampers, have oppressed the individual rights of its citizens by making everyone “equal.”  They do this...

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Harrison, the young protagonist in the short story, “Harrison Bergeron” is in conflict with the government in the dystopian society in which he lives.  The government and the Handicapper General, Diana Moon Glampers, have oppressed the individual rights of its citizens by making everyone “equal.”  They do this by handicapping people and suppressing their talents and abilities.  In Harrison’s case, he is weighed down by pieces of scrap metal weighing over 300 pounds. In addition, he has to wear earphones that block his thinking with loud noises and glasses that don’t allow him to see clearly.  The government does this because Harrison is young, tall, and smart.  His talents show that he is better than other people, so he is given handicaps to make him equal. 

At the end of the story when Harrison strips off his handicaps and soars to the ceiling with the most beautiful ballerina, he is rebelling against the government who thinks equality means making everyone the same.  Equality means giving everyone the same rights while not suppressing one’s inner or outer strengths.

 

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