Harrison Bergeron Topics for Discussion
by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Harrison Bergeron book cover
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Topics for Discussion

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. What is equality? Can you come up with various definitions?

2. Reread the moment of the transcendent kiss between Harrison and the dancer. What would this scene be like from the viewpoint of one of the musicians? How would he or she react to the sudden arrival of the Handicapper General? Rewrite this scene from the musician's viewpoint, including emotional reactions for the characters as well as their physical actions.

3. Describe a beautiful human being. Can you come up with various definitions?

4. How do the Handicapper General and her agents "equalize" citizens?

5. Are there any positive results to the Equality Laws they enforce?

6. What is a transcendent experience? What effect does one person's transcendent experience have on others?

7. What sort of leader do the people of 2081 need?

8. What sort of leader does Harrison Bergeron set himself up to be?

9. As the Handicapper General is an appointed figure, not an elected one, she does not need to worry about being reelected. What does she have to fear instead?

10. What sort of justice is the Handicapper General dealing out in the America of 2081?