Would society have been better off with Harrison Bergeron in charge?

Society would have been better off with Harrison Bergeron in charge because he would allowed everyone to achieve to the best of their abilities.

Expert Answers

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

Society would have been better off with Harrison Bergeron in charge because he would have freed everyone of their debilitating artificial handicaps and allowed them to achieve to their highest level.

In his society, the idea of equality has been carried to an absurd level. To ensure that nobody's talent,...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

Society would have been better off with Harrison Bergeron in charge because he would have freed everyone of their debilitating artificial handicaps and allowed them to achieve to their highest level.

In his society, the idea of equality has been carried to an absurd level. To ensure that nobody's talent, beauty, or brains cause another person to feel inferior, those with superior abilities or gifts have to wear handicapping devices that interfere with their strengths. For example, George Bergeron, who is very intelligent, has to wear a device that blares loud noises every few seconds so that he cannot think coherently. Beautiful people have to wear ugly masks, while talented dancers are held down with weights.

Since societies can't advance or improve without the talents of the citizenry set free and supported, this is a stagnant society. Before he is killed, however, Harrison shows it a path to freedom in which everyone can rebel and tear off what is holding them back. This kind of liberation would unleash the energy that would allow this society to get going again.

The story, of course, uses physical handicaps like weights and loud noises as a metaphor for other societally imposed handicaps that can hold people down, such as lack of access to good education or health care or the financial capital they need to start a business. People, the story implies, can use what power they have, such as the vote, to open up opportunities for themselves.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team