In "Harrison Bergeron," why is Harrison considered a threat to society?

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In Kurt Vonnegut's story "Harrison Bergeron," the title character is considered a threat to society because he cannot be contained by both the physical and symbolic handicaps this totalitarian society places on him. 

in "Harrison Bergeron," "The year was 2081 and everybody was finally equal." But this...

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equality has nothing to do with the possibilities of every individual having the freedom of reaching great heights, but rather has to do with the government reducing the exceptionalism of those with above average intelligence, physicality, athleticism and even beauty. These things seem to be desired by this society as even George Bergeron, who is weighed down by 47 pounds of birdshot because of his strength would rather keep his handicaps than return to the "dark ages" with "everybody competing against everybody else."

These methods of control are common in totalitarian regimes as original thought and excellence are often frowned upon. Harrison's handicaps symbolize this society's attempt at control by removing the possibility of excellence. 

Harrison, however, does not let his government-imposed handicaps slow him down. On TV, he rips up his mental handicaps like "tissue" paper and snaps his physical handicaps off "like celery," symbolicaly proving how easy it is to throw off these methods of control. In addition, His freedom from these handicaps liberates Harrison so much that he is able to leap up "30 feet high" to kiss the ceiling.

By ripping off these handicaps, Harrison becomes such a threat to the Handicapper General Diana Moon Glampers that she shoots him. She knows that once people rip off their handicaps, they become a threat to her ability to control the people.

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Give one reason why the handicapper general considers Harrison Bergeron a threat to society.

The main reason Harrison Bergeron is considered a threat in the eponymously titled short story is that he is able to rip off of his handicaps and make himself the self-proclaimed "Emperor," thereby removing control of the authoritarian regime that needs all of its citizens to weaken themselves and obey government  commands.

The people in 2081 America willingly give in to the government, which asks those who are "well-above average" to reduce themselves intellectually and physically by installing both mental and physical handicaps on them. Early in the story, George Bergeron scolds his wife after she suggested he "take out a few of them lead balls" that make up his physical handicap. He tells her, "If I 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."

But Harrison does more than "take out a few of them lead balls" to his handicaps. He "tore the straps of his handicap harness like wet tissue paper" and "snapped" his mental handicaps that fit over his ears "like celery." Both of these handicaps were "guaranteed to support five thousand pounds."

When Harrison declares himself emperor and names his empress, he begins to order those around him to defy the government. This is when Diana Moon Glampers, handicapper general, enters the room and shoots Harrison dead.

In a society that needs order, ignorance and control, a person who defies all three becomes the greatest threat. 

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Why is Harrison Bergeron such a threat to society?

A good question. First, let me refer you to the earlier answer by ask966. It makes good points about why Harrison Bergeron threatens his society so intensely.

I would add several other points, though. The first is a variation on the points ask966 made. Harrison is not just above the enforced equality that defines his society. He is in many ways impervious to the restrictions they society places on him. He is weighed down and disrupted, and he still rises above the restrictions, limits, and other handicaps. He literally rises above the handicapped state in the final dance scene.

Second, by demonstrating that he is not equal, he provides a living example of his society's limits. He's like an infection. Everyone who sees him dance will know in a vivid, dramatic, and beautiful fashion that people are not equal.

Because he is heroic, he will inspire others to rebel. He has died, yes, but who knows how many people will be inspired by the memory of his actions.

The memory will also show that the society was unable to anticipate his actions and capabilities. This shows there are limits to the government's power, something that should also nudge people to rebel.

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Why is Harrison Bergeron such a threat to society?

In his short story, “Harrison Bergeron,” by Kurt Vonnegut, the author has developed a society that has tried to make everyone and everything “equal.” At fourteen years of age, Harrison Bergeron is a threat to society because he is clearly above the sameness that the government is trying to enforce through the office of the Handicapper General which means he can question, and doubt, and seek changes that the government doesn’t want. Despite the enormous amount of handicap they have developed for him--huge earphones instead of small ones, glasses with thick distorted lenses that gave Harrison physical ailments like headaches, and huge amounts of metal and hardware hanging everywhere off of him, he is still considered smarter, stronger, more athletic, and etc., and when he escapes from jail the media asserts that he is “under handicapped, and should be regarded as extremely dangerous.”

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Why was Harrison Bergeron so intimidating?

Harrison Bergeron is intimidating because he is exceptionally above-average in every way. For starters, he is physically imposing – fourteen years old and seven feet tall, forced to carry around three hundred pounds in metal as a handicap to his incredible strength. This would be intimidating to anyone of average size in a society that celebrates differences; in a society such as the one he lives in, in which all individuals are equalized in every way by forced handicaps, those in charge would of course see him as a threat. You cannot mask height or strength as you can beauty. Harrison is exceptionally good-looking as well, and intelligent, having to wear thick headphones rather than a small earpiece to keep him from completing his intelligent thoughts.

Harrison, basically, is a representation of everything the government is fighting against – he is noteworthy, he is undeniably unique. And he has obviously been rebelling against the equalization policies, else the government wouldn’t have arrested him in the first place. And he’s a teenager, the most volatile and unpredictable of all creatures. “I am the Emperor!” he declares to the world after his escape from prison, and invites the public to “Now watch me become what I can become!” With this line it is clear that he protests the forced equality and suppression of skills and talents required by law, and yearns for the freedom to be who he is, and discover how great he can be.  It is this capacity for individual thought despite his handicaps, and his refusal to acquiesce to the mandates imposed by the government, coupled with his unmatchable strength, that make him so intimidating.

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