Harrison Bergeron: the Power of Conformity

9 September 2016

The Power of Conformity In society we long to obtain the perception of a utopia, a visionary system of political or social perfection. A utopia is an ideology that consists of a perfect society that runs by perfect regulations, and because of this, our society tries to place rules on us as individuals as to what is acceptable and what is not in order to achieve this sense of equilibrium. We are then left with deciding for ourselves whether to conform to such a social decorum. In Harrison Bergeron, we encounter a society that has finally reached complete equality in the eyes of the author.

However, throughout the text, we learn that our expectations that are imposed by society could result in chaos and that there is an extent of danger that total equality presents with it. We live in a society where competition is valued, a certain amount of competition has always been good. From a health standpoint, competition makes us work harder and train to be better athletes, and thus healthier in general. From a business standpoint, it drives companies to improve their products, to streamline their production methods and develop the most effective methods of distributing wares.

Harrison Bergeron: the Power of Conformity Essay Example

Even in healthcare, when physicians compete to be the best in their fields, it drives them to develop new medical discoveries. Competition as an entirety brings our world forward, which is a definite advantage for us. In Harrison Bergeron, we are faced with our perception of what seems to be a utopia, to be accomplished. Strangely enough, when Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. writes, “They were burdened with sash weights and bags of birdshot, and their faces were masked, so that no one, seeing a free and graceful gesture or a pretty face, would feel like the cat drug in. (Harrison Bergeron, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. ), he reveals the drastic measures that were needed to take place in order for our goal of a utopian society to exist. The dancers on the television screen were given such extreme handicaps that few fell to the ground, this measure was created so that they would not appear to be superior to anyone else, so that everyone would be the same. In the real world however, this theory seems unrealistic to many, as although everyone is finally treated the same, they are entirely, exactly what it is, the same.

In this world, human nature would be suppressed through this lack of free will you are proposing and many of us wish to pursue an exciting life, life full of thrills and passion. This is not possible without a rush of blood, which usually comes from the wrong things, and without these factors which do not exist in a utopian society, our world would slowly crumble. Secondly, when Vonnegut Jr. writes Hazel’s line, “Reckon it’d fall all apart, society. ” (Harrison Bergeron, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. , Vonnegut is demonstrating the meandering, nonsensical interactions that have become standard in this fictional society. During this conversation, George is able to formulate an idea that society would disintegrate if people were to disregard the laws and to pose that idea as a hypothetical question, but because he is interrupted by the noise in his handicap, he loses track of his conversation. Even though Hazel is able to following his reasoning, he is unable to remember what he was talking about and she was not bright enough to bring up the topic again.

The disturbing reality in this is that the law of equality goes unchallenged not because citizens believed in them deeply but because they are too bewildered to figure out what they think of the laws in the first place. If George were able to think in peace for a few hours, he might come to believe that the laws he defends are absurd. However, these laws, against which he would likely protest if he could, are the ones that prevent him from thinking for more than a few seconds at a stretch.

In reality, this again relays back to our imperfect utopian society, if we were to fully create this world of complete equality, there will those who will be unable to think properly which defeats the purpose of making everyone equal. It doesn’t allow people a chance to completely make most of what has been given to them. Lastly, a large advantage of not conforming to every expectation given by society, is that people will see us, perhaps for the first time, without a mask. We will be true to ourselves and others will see who we truly are on the inside. They will see our talents, imperfections, and preferences.

They will have the opportunity to accept us on our own terms. Despite the theory behind this, this wasn’t the case for where the text, Harrison Bergeron, took place. When Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. writes, “Harrison tore the straps of his handicap harness like wet tissue paper, tore straps guaranteed to support five thousand pounds. ” (Harrison Bergeron, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. ), He is presenting us with how Harrison represents the spark of defiance and individuality that still exists. He has none of the passivity or fearfulness that the others portrayed, but rather he is an exaggerated alpha male who hungers for power.

When Harrison rips off his steel restraints and handicaps, the physical strength and beauty he reveals reminds some readers that underneath their own restraints and handicaps, they too are still talented or lovely. In today’s generation, we have been taught to live by the rules that have been played in front of us, with very few daring to break them, but the reality is, there are places where we can step outside of that box, places which allow us to become individuals with open minds, places where we can truly be ourselves without conforming to any expectations imposed by society, because that is, the truth behind the power of conformity.

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