Kurt Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron” tells a story about a fourteen year old “child” who is somewhat of a prodigy. In a world where people are held back because of their talents, and their intelligence is marred by the social rules of all people being the same, Harrison refuses to succumb to the pressure and wants to break free (Gelder, 2009).
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The main character can be greatly compared to my cousin who is almost 20 years old. He is also a very talented person and likes music. His ear is very well adjusted to sounds and melodies, so when he hears some song or is creating some of his own, he is able to understand what is needed to fill in the gaps or make the melody more beautiful (Werlock, 2009). Another similarity between Kurt Vonnegut’s character and my cousin Phil is that they are both very analytical.
Very often, I find Phil sitting behind his desk and writing out his thoughts. He seems to be eager to figure out what the world is, why people have lives and understanding. I find it his talent to have a “feeling” towards something. When he thinks about a problem, he does not use logic first. He comprehends the situation and listens to himself letting his inner self to tell him how he feels about a subject.
It is interesting to note that he is not quite aware how this process takes place, but it is for certain that he is able to distinguish between useless and important information which later becomes key to a the problem at hand. He is also very knowledgeable of people’s psychology and inner desires, so when he thinks about someone he is able to discern the real behavior from fake one. I think that he has a gift of predicting certain things because all the problems that he encounters, he solves.
As Harrison felt pushed down by the government, and prevented from reaching his goals and dreams, so does Phil. Sometimes, he engages in conversations with my father where they discuss why the government is so unwilling to allow people to reach their heights and become everything they can be.
Often, they talk about conspiracies in educational institutions and work places, citing the fact that the information that is presented is purposefully faulty, and people are “dumbed down”, so that they show no resistance to the authority of the government. Phil always feels emotional and wants to change something. This is another similarity between Phil and Harrison Bergeron because they are both trying to change the world (Farrell, 2009).
Phil is thinking about publishing a book, but it would be extremely difficult because the things that he wants to write are very controversial and challenging. He is sure that his greater purpose in life is to make the world better. His thoughts always revolve around making people realize that whatever the governments or media say is not what is most valuable in life. He wants to bring people down to a more “natural” existence where there is greater interaction between people and the world.
The parallel between the two people, one fictional and one real is very obvious because both seem to function on a higher level. Nature is still a very mysterious thing, and it shows its power and secrets through people.
Farrell, S. (2009). Critical Companion to Kurt Vonnegut. New York, NY: Infobase Publishing.
Gelder, G. (2009). The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction: Sixtieth Anniversary Anthology. San Francisco, CA: Tachyon Publications.
Werlock, A. (2009). Companion to Literature: Facts on File Companion to the American Short Story. New York, NY: Infobase Publishing.