Vonnegut's story “Harrison Bergeron” discusses the theme equality of results, but through his satirical circumstances there is an ambiguous theme targeting Socialism and Capitalism that shines through. In the story “Harrison Bergeron”, both Socialism and Capitalism are made fun of through extended satirical references.
In the story, Vonnegut's future predicts a rise of Socialism in America. However this Socialism relates to the equality of results as appose to equality of results. Vonnegut paints this very ugly picture of Socialism despite his views against Capitalism because of the misconceptions of the American public at that time. Hence he does not really put down Socialism but more the misconceptions of Socialism in the story. His Socialist views however are obvious in the story, especially in the way the story itself plays out and the portrayal of some key characters in the story. Diana Moon Glampers, the Handicapper General as a symbol for Socialism. He makes the Handicapper General a strong leader, one that the general population respects and strives to imitate. This is evident when Hazel says, “I think I'd make a good Handicapper General.” This is Vonnegut's way of showing that Socialist leaders too are charismatic figures that people look up to and respect. Another aspect of the story that is satirized is the absurd handicaps people have to wear in order to be 'equal'. Vonnegut intentionally makes them seem ridiculous as a way of proving the point that the misconceptions of socialism are crazy and untrue. Although Vonnegut satirizes many aspects of Socialism, it is clear that the true target in the story is Capitalism, portrayed my none other than Harrison himself. Towards the end of the story Harrison is shot down by Ms. Glampers, an event that shows Socialism triumphant in the face of Capitalism. This goes to show that Vonnegut believed in the Socialist system and that he saw many flaws in Capitalist America at that time.
The only contrast we see...
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