Topic: Harrison Bergeron

Read Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut Jr., make notes on the story, then join the discussion that follows.

Review your notes on this short story. Try to score 30 points using the following as a guide.

Characters(5 points)
Your notes should include character names, short descriptions, a couple quotes for each to show a trait.

example:
Hazel - "Hazel had a perfectly average intelligence, which meant she couldn’t think about anything except in short bursts."


Vocabulary(1 points)
Note any new or challenging words you encountered in your reading of the story. Include them in a contextual quote.

Example
American Constitution - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Constitution
First Amendment - "Freedom of Speech" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution

Plot(5 points)
Note the order of events in the story, highlight the event that has the highest point of action or tension.

Example:
Hazel's tears spark early interest and question: "There were tears on Hazel’s cheeks, but she’d forgotten for the moment what they were about."

Setting(1 points)
Describe the time and place of the story.

Example:
"THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal"

Theme(5 points)
What is the underlying focus of the story? (Consider these Focus Questions as a guide).

Example
"What can we do if we feel our rights have been denied?" What does Harrison do when his rights are denied?

Conflict(1 points)
Discuss the struggles between opposing forces. human vs human, human vs nature, human vs self.

Literary Devices(2 points)
Draw attention to the author's use of imagery, symbols, archetypes as a way of developing an idea. Note interesting passages with simile, metaphor, hyperbole etc.

Connect to "Cultural Milieu"(10 points)
Consider questions on the "flip-side" of your reading log. Explore connections to your own interests, experiences, values. Explore connections to other texts -books, stories, films, songs, etc. Explore connections to your world - news, history, philosophy, religion, politics, sport, etc.


Extras
Consider other questions raised by yourself, classmates, teachers, research, etc. Consider this and this and this.

Re: Harrison Bergeron

Research the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Make a connection between this fictional story and the 30th anniversary of our Charter?

Re: Harrison Bergeron

Can you find something in the author's biography that connects to the themes we looked at while studying "The Atomic Café"?

Re: Harrison Bergeron

What year was this story first published? What technology of that time was Vonnegut making a statement about?

What technologies of today deserve the same caution?

Re: Harrison Bergeron

Can you connect themes in the story to bullying?

Re: Harrison Bergeron

What is a bystander according to Eva Olsson? What is Vonnegut saying about bystanders?

Re: Harrison Bergeron

"The minute people start cheating on laws, what do you think happens to society?"

Re: Harrison Bergeron

Discuss the concept of handicapping in sports and games

9

Re: Harrison Bergeron

Why would it be important to the government for everyone to be equal yet they can rise above the rest of its citizens?

10

Re: Harrison Bergeron

So that it shows that they have a power over them and so that the people fear them.

11 (edited by morgan 2012-03-19 09:08:46)

Re: Harrison Bergeron

kdieken wrote:

Why would it be important to the government for everyone to be equal yet they can rise above the rest of its citizens?

The government wanted all the power so they made everyone the same .

12 (edited by morgan 2012-03-19 09:08:07)

Re: Harrison Bergeron

What do you think life would be like if everyone was equal and there was no more competition ?

13

Re: Harrison Bergeron

It would be important because they want no differences between people and they want the people to be treated equally by one another.

14

Re: Harrison Bergeron

Why did they take Harrison Bergeron away from his family?

15

Re: Harrison Bergeron

Life would be better because there wouldn't be a single person that could pick out any differences in a different person. There also wouldn't be bullying or any of that stuff if everyone was equal.

16 (edited by spoliakiwski 2012-03-19 09:05:24)

Re: Harrison Bergeron

If everyone was equal and didn't care to fight over anything life would be very dull.

17

Re: Harrison Bergeron

There won't be any new developments because the people can't think for that long.

18 (edited by spoliakiwski 2012-03-19 09:04:40)

Re: Harrison Bergeron

They took harrison away because he was to superior he had better looks and was smarter.

19

Re: Harrison Bergeron

Also because he broke the law by not wearing his handicaps.

20

Re: Harrison Bergeron

What was your favorite part of the story Harrison Bergeron?

21

Re: Harrison Bergeron

I think they took him away because they felt threatened by him and needed to take him away so he wouldn't be such a big problem.

22 (edited by morgan 2012-03-19 09:07:21)

Re: Harrison Bergeron

kmcintyre wrote:

What was your favorite part of the story Harrison Bergeron?

I don't know if I really have a favorite part of the story. I wouldn't want to be living that life so I am going with no favorite part .

23

Re: Harrison Bergeron

What was the point of George's little mental handicap radio in his ear?

Re: Harrison Bergeron

kdieken wrote:

Why would it be important to the government for everyone to be equal yet they can rise above the rest of its citizens?

Good question. People do accept a government's arbitrary authority over seemingly trivial matters. Is Vonnegut suggesting some idea about all governments or just the most tyrannical? Does he have a warning about the rules in a "responsible government"?

Look at the following from George "If I tried to get away with it ... soon we'd be back to the dark ages again."

25 (edited by kdieken 2012-03-19 09:24:05)

Re: Harrison Bergeron

dsader wrote:

Can you connect themes in the story to bullying?

The theme in the story can be connected to bullying because of the actions the United States government took. Just like the concentration camp Eva Olsson described, the soldiers or government acted like they were above its citizens and harmed the welfare of it citizens. The Nazi's treated the Jews like they were less than dirt and didn't care who got killed or if all the Jews were gone. The United States government wanted everyone equal and didn't care how they did it. The loud mental handicaps the intelligent citizens had was very loud and prevented them from having any real kind of thought. The physical handicaps the stronger citizens had prevented their ability to do regular day things like running or lifting a heavy object. These handicaps were the ultimate type of bullying by the United States and even made it a law to have these handicaps.