What is Harrison Bergeron fighting against in the story?

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In this story, Harrison Bergeron is fighting against the way the quest for equality has gone awry in his society. Equality of opportunity has been overtaken by a concept of leveling everyone to the lowest common denominator through the use of handicapping devices. Harrison, in contrast, wants people to have the chance to excel.

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Harrison is fighting against forced equality that is in their constitution. He is rebelling and ends up in jail. They--the gov.--think he is trying to overthrow the government. He acts in an extreme way and ends up making proposterous allegations about his supreme abilities and thus value. He becomes a...

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ruler, like a dictator, and ends up violating all that he formerly criticised. He is corrupted by power. His behavior resembles a dictators and, in this sense, Vonnegut is making a statement that power corrupts and that all dictatorships will result in failure. His suffering, in the end, speaks for Vonnegut's view on the fate of people who try to buck the system.

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Harrison Bergeron breaks out of jail where he is held on suspicion of wanting to overthrow the government in Kurt Vonnegut's story, "Harrison Bergeron."  His act is rebellion against this suppressive government and its forced equality authorized by the Amendments to the Constitution.

In his act of rebellion, however, Harrison overreacts as he declares himself emperor; as a superhuman, he says he will be "a greater ruler than any man who has ever lived." And, ironically, his attempt to overthrow the totalitarian government is totalitarian itself as he orders the musicians to remove their handicaps and play as he selects his Empress by grabbing the beautiful ballerina.  His rule is extremely short-lived like that of most dictators.  Thus, Vonnegut implies that power must always corrupt.  Tragically, too, Harrison's attempt to free others ends in death, leaving the futility of trying to move upward in society intact.

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What is Harrison Bergeron fighting against in the story?

Harrison Bergeron is fighting against a society that is so obsessed with equality that it won't let people of talent or ability express their gifts.

The story satirizes society's attempts to make sure that people who might be less talented or able feel good about themselves. It shows a society that has gone completely awry in trying to make sure nobody can feel superior to anyone else. Leveling everyone to the lowest common denominator has replaced equality of opportunity.

To maintain a false "equality," nobody is allowed to excel. Harrison's father, for example, has above average intelligence. So that this will not give him an unfair advantage in life, he has to wear a device that interrupts his thoughts about every twenty seconds with loud and disorienting noises. In this way, his mind is kept diverted and scrambled.

As we see as Harrison's parents watch television, ballerinas are likewise laden with heavy weights that make it impossible for them to leap and pirouette effectively. Attractive people have to wear ugly masks so that their good looks don't give them an unfair advantage in life.

Harrison is fighting for the right to excel and not be held back by a societal quest for mediocrity and conformity. He does this by ripping off his own handicapping devices and those of a ballerina in front of TV cameras, then dancing as a form of protest and declaring himself the Emperor.

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Who is Harrison Bergeron in conflict with?

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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