Group Discussion Questions “Harrison Bergeron”
Identify the protagonist of the story. Who is the antagonist? What is the conflict in this story? The protagonist is Harrison Bergeron The antagonist is the society The conflict is man Vs society Harrison Bergeron disagrees with society and the policy of forcing everyone to be equal by law. Diana Moon Glampers (the handicapper general) represents society
Where does the climax of the story take place? Defend your answer. • The climax in the story takes place in the studio when Harrison Bergeron breaks into the studio, declares himself Emperor, and removes his handicaps. • The climax of the story is when the HG comes into the studio with a shotgun because we know what is going to happen in the end of the story
What is the tone of the story? Find at least two quotes to support your answer. Why do you think the author has chosen to write in this tone?
Sarcastic • We know this is the tone because it is extremely exaggerated, but told seriously. • “The year was 2081 and everybody was finally equal” (58). • “The studio ceiling was thirty feet high, but each leap brought the dancers nearer to it. It became their obvious intention to kiss the ceiling” (64). • He flung away his rubber-ball nose, revealed a man that would have awed Thor, the god of thunder” (63). • The author used this tone to communicate how ridiculous the idea of this society is. How can everyone be equal? The sarcasm conveys the author’s message.
Explain the meaning of the following symbols i Harrison Bergeron ii The handicaps
Harrison Bergeron • What humans used to be like • Revolution and individualism • Independence • Heroism/Heroes • The handicaps • The controlling government, the law • Authority • Unjust punishment • False equality • Inequality in society • conformity
Describe the setting of the story. Give quotes as evidence. • The story takes place in the future • “The year was 2081” (58). • The society attempts equality/perfection • “everybody was finally equal” (58). • “Some things about living weren’t quite right though. April for instance, still drove people crazy by not being springtime” (58). • “Nobody was smarter than anyone else”(58).
Find two similes in the story. Explain their meaning. Why does the author use them?
“His thoughts fled in panic, like bandits from a burglar alarm” (59). • His thoughts vanish with each loud noise. • This simile associates thoughts with crime/illegality. It shows both the effectiveness of the device and the association of free thought and punishment in this society. • “Harrison looked like a walking junkyard” • Harrison is so great that his handicaps must also be immense. • The author uses this to show his power and beauty, and how cruel his handicaps are.
“They leaped like deer on the moon”. • This explains that Harrison and the ballerina are both very talented and graceful. • The author uses this to show how great they can be without handicaps. It shows their potential • This is a ridiculous comparison. Deer on the moon? This exaggeration lends itself to the sarcastic tone of the story and the criticism of this society/the idea of absolute equality.
What is ironic about this story? What point does the author make using irony? • The society is created so that everyone is equal, but the handicapper general has power over everyone. • The handicaps are supposed to make everyone equal so that life can be fair, but it is not fair to take away talent and individuality. • The handicaps are supposed to be good for society, but they actually take away many good things: free thought, art, beauty, talent, intelligence. • The author’s point is that society cannot be equal in the way that is described. We can be equal without being the same.