Discussion 6 : Harrison Bergeron, TV, and Surveillance

Discussion 6 : Harrison Bergeron, TV, and Surveillance.

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The following questions are modified from the NEH discussion of Harrison Bergeron.

  1. With whom do you think Vonnegut sympathizes in the story? Does he present Harrison as a hero, or is the story heroless? Why?
  2. What do you admire about Harrison? Are there aspects of his behavior that concern you?
  3. 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.)
  4. 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?
  5. 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?
  6. 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?
  7. Which should society reward and respect most: personal effort or actual accomplishment?

Discussion 6 : Harrison Bergeron, TV, and Surveillance