Harrison Bergeron Short Summary
The book by Kurt Vonnegut is written in a future setting (2081) in the US. There is a constitutional amendment to bring equality. However, the approach is controversial. The laws target people who are perceived to be intelligent, strong, and beautiful. Since they are seen to be making others feel inferior, the directive is that they should do things that can make them equal to the others.
A Quick View of the Plot
For instance, those who are beautiful/handsome are forced to wear marks on their faces so that no one can notice their good looks. Those who possess great strength are forced to carry huge luggage everywhere so that they can reduce their strength. On the other hand, those who are intelligent are to wear headsets with loud and annoying music. In the process, every citizen can feel equal.
The one with the responsibility to ensure that law is adhered to is called Diana Moon Glampers. The directive is that anyone who tries to get rest from the law is killed. If you can overcome the handicap like Harrison Bergeron, you are given a bigger load or executed.
People feel oppressed by these laws, but no one can question them. Anyone who is seen to question the state of affairs is taken to the available mental institutions and shot. The opposers are viewed as people who are against the smooth running of society. It can be seen that these rules are retrogressive and prevent society from making any meaningful progress. The people who can steer the society to the right direction are mistreated and even killed. The people who can be on television are prevented from speaking their minds, musicians become deaf, and the community is in disarray.
Harrison Bergeron manages to escape from where he was held. At 14, he was tall, handsome, and viewed as someone who could set a coup against the government. Bergeron is intelligent and insists that people should be left to exploit their potential.
However, Harrison’s approach is different. Instead of planning on how to overthrow the government, he forces his way to a television station and disrupts a show. He picks the most beautiful dancer and dances with her after removing masks from all of them. There is a sign of freedom as the couple dance. The two are shot dead while being broadcasted live on television. Harrison’s parents witness all the happenings on television.