Discussion 6 : Harrison Bergeron, TV, and Surveillance.
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The following questions are modified from the NEH discussion of Harrison Bergeron.
- With whom do you think Vonnegut sympathizes in the story? Does he present Harrison as a hero, or is the story heroless? Why?
- What do you admire about Harrison? Are there aspects of his behavior that concern you?
- What role does television play in this America? Do you think it is far from our current relationship to media? (Consider phones/computers in addition to television.)
- What does it mean when we say that “all men are created equal” or that they are all “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights”? Is the possession of a right to pursue happiness hollow if we lack the ability to exercise it?
- What do we owe those of our fellow citizens who are worse off through no fault of their own? What would be an example of this in our current society?
- Is it a good thing for people to believe that no one is better than anyone else? Would it be a good thing if, in fact, no person were better than any other person?What happens to the American Dream if it should turn out that God-given or natural talents are profoundly unequal in their allotment?
- Which should society reward and respect most: personal effort or actual accomplishment?