Harrison Bergeron Symbolism
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In Harrison Bergeron, Kurt Vonnegut analyzes the manner in which the state exercised its authority over citizens and destroyed the most outstanding features of individuals. After several years, Joseph Alvarez presented “An Overview of Harrison Bergeron”, a kind of study of this book. He considered Vonnegut’s reliance on the television to be a method of demonstrating how influential technology can be. This is only one component, but Alvarez reasoned that it was the sole cause of Harrison’s effect. Brian Pearl likewise composed a critical piece on Harrison Bergeron and incorporated Alvarez’s views into it. Pearl concurred and concluded that “fighting for your freedom is not worth it when you live in an authoritative society”. Harrison demonstrates the potential to revolt against the government and the will to be free thanks to all the features hidden by his handicaps. Thanks to television, Bergeron’s message spread quicker, but the rebellion would have been no less convincing, and this can be revealed through figures and symbolism.
Vivid and relevant symbols of Harrison Bergeron
While the television allowed Harrison’s rejection of the handicap to appear incredibly meaningful, it would have carried even more weight if it had not been shown. Vonnegut skillfully details how Harrison and the gorgeous ballerina challenged the rules of gravity by taking to the air. “They reeled, whirled, swiveled, flounced, capered, gamboled, and spun. They leaped like deer on the moon”. In the course of the rebellion, everyone in the studio arrived to attend a ballet performance, but they observed two youthful teenagers with such substantial opportunities die. There were a lot of people in the hall: ballerinas, technicians, musicians, announcers. At some point, they would all start spreading rumors about the “recital,” and all residents would be appalled. Word of mouth is as influential as the power of television. Harrison’s ability to connect with people and construct an alternative identity (by proclaiming himself emperor) comes from his grip on television. Another dimension is that Harrison’s power derives from the manner in which he revolted against the state. He was able to spark a revolution by doing so. He grasped what he was committing to, but life with all the handicaps was not really like living.
In his summary, Pearl notes: “Harrison Bergeron shows that fighting for your freedom is not worth it when you live in an authoritative society”. An alternative interpretation of this is that if you don’t rebel, you can’t live fairly. Pearl’s claim is the same as arguing that all of Martin Luther King Jr.’s protests were not valuable because he was slaughtered. Martin Luther King Jr. desired equality for all, and so did Harrison. They realized that their bold actions could bear them negative consequences, but they chose to do so because they were not satisfied with the way they lived. Harrison couldn’t contemplate a sole topic for more than thirty seconds without being distracted by the constant noise. He had to shave off his eyebrows and wear a lot of weight because he was too capable and good-looking. The handicaps, in this case, embody the restricted freedom that is visible all over the world. All the handicaps can transform an individual into a complete other person. Pearl argues: “A citizen who lets their government take away their rights without a fight loses his or her soul in the process”. It was for this cause that Harrison struggled and gave his life in the hope that others would also rise up.
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In conclusion, most of the characters in Harrison Bergeron are familiar in the modern world. An instance is the influence of television. Television has become a commonplace for millions of people across the globe. It allows news to travel faster and cover more ground, but it is not the only method by which a message can be disseminated. Even one human being can have an impact. Pearl stated: “…Harrison’s death shows us… isn’t worth it because it takes more than one person to take down a whole government”. You can argue with that, because things have to begin with one individual. Nothing that matters can change in the blink of an eye.