- When does the story take place?
- What is implied in the opening sentence? What has happened?
- What happened to George and Hazel Bergeron’s fourteen-year-old son?
- Describe George and Hazel. What kind of lives do they lead?
- Why is Hazel not as plagued by brain blasts as her husband George is?
- What handicap equipment as well as physical afflictions had the United States Handicapper General placed on George as well as other members of society? Why had this been done?
- What physical and mental effects did the handicapping measures have on the most gifted members of society mentioned in the text?
- What would happen to George if he tried to take the equipment off?
- What role does the United States government play in this story?
- Describe Harrison Bergeron, how old is he?
- How had Harrison Bergeron rebelled against society?
- Why was he considered such a dangerous threat to the government?
- What role does Diana Moon Glampers, the Handicapper General, play in the story?
- How do Hazel and George react to the murder of their son?
- According to Wikipedia satire is a device used in literature in which “human or individual vices, follies, abuses or shortcomings are held up to censure by means of ridicule…with the intent to bring improvement”. What is being satirized in the story? What needs to be improved?
- The story is often referred to as “dystopian”. What is meant by this?
- What are the basic themes?
- Vonnegut uses several symbols in the story, for example, Harrison’s and the ballerina’s flight-like dance and kissing. Explain what you think this represents. Can you find any other symbols in the story?
- What role do the media and TV play in George and Hazel’s lives?
- The character of Harrison Bergeron may be interpreted as a revolutionary trying to initiate change in society. What type of society and values are evoked when Harrison refers to himself as “Emperor”, the ballerina as “Empress” and tells the musicians that he will make them “barons”, “dukes” and “earls”?
Sit with a partner and discuss the following. The best way to ensure equality is by
- dumbing down the intelligent
- weakening the strong
- making the beautiful ugly
Choose one of the assignments and write a 5 paragraph essay
- The story was written in 1961 as a science fiction satire when the Cold War was at its height. Americans have always shunned too much interference by the government and have thus been very sceptical of the Soviet Union. How is this story still relevant today? Keywords: health, labor unions, gun control.
- Technology enables government surveillance of phone calls, credit card usage and movements. Where do you draw the line between the right to privacy and the government's need to know?
- Discuss this statement: Only when all members of a society are totally equal will there be peace and stability.
Immigration and PopulationKjernestoff
Waves of ImmigrationKjernestoff
Melting Pot and Salad BowlKjernestoff
On the Way to the Melting PotKjernestoff
Immigrants and RefugeesKjernestoff
Carl Sandburg: ChicagoKjernestoff
Native Americans TodayKjernestoff
Native Americans - Forced RemovalKjernestoff
Native Americans - The Trail of TearsKjernestoff
The Bean Trees (Novel Excerpt)Kjernestoff
The Last Leaf (Short Story)Kjernestoff
The Kite Runner (Novel Excerpt)Kjernestoff
Harrison Bergeron (Radio Play)Kjernestoff
Easy text - Immigration and PopulationTilleggsstoffTilleggsstoff
Easy text - The Melting PotTilleggsstoffTilleggsstoff
African Americans TodayTilleggsstoffTilleggsstoff
Easy text - Native AmericansTilleggsstoffTilleggsstoff
In Pursuit of a DreamTilleggsstoffTilleggsstoff
Task 1 - Immigration and PopulationKjernestoff
Task 2 - Immigration and PopulationKjernestoff
Task - Waves of ImmigrationKjernestoff
Task - The Melting PotKjernestoff
Task 1 - African Americans TodayKjernestoff
Task 2 - African Americans TodayKjernestoff
Task - Native Americans TodayKjernestoff
Task - Native Americans - Ancestral VoicesKjernestoff
Tasks - Tony's StoryKjernestoff
Sherman Alexie: Missed ConnectionsKjernestoff
Tasks - The Bean TreesKjernestoff
Multiple Choice task - The Bean TreesKjernestoff
Tasks - The Last LeafKjernestoff
Multiple choice task -The Last LeafKjernestoff
Multiple choice task - The Kite RunnerKjernestoff
Comprehension task - Harrison BergeronKjernestoff
Why the North Star Stands StillTilleggsstoffTilleggsstoff
Interview with Sherman AlexieTilleggsstoffTilleggsstoff