Harrison Bergeron

In Kurt Vonnegut’s’ “Harrison Bergeron”, we are introduced to a dystopian future where everyone must be made to have handicaps, in order for everyone to be equal. In 2009, “2081” was released, a film adaptation of the same story. These two different mediums provide different insight into the world posed by Vonnegut. Out of the two versions, the book portrays the plot, story and world better than the film. The book uses exposition in the first paragraph in order to explain the premise that would direct the character’s later This doesn’t feel rushed or forced, as these beginning piece of knowledge is later expanded on and supported, such as when George winces at the same time as the ballerinas(showing they also have mental handicaps), and when he refuse to take out the lead balls due to fines and time in prison if caught and explaining that he does wish for everyone to be equal right after. In the film, neither of these scenes(or any of the other world building scenes through characters action) are present, except for the characterization of Harrison Bergeron. Even that served the plot more than it did world building, as it was toned down from the book(less handicapped and being older), and was more designed to show Harrison Bergeron’s actions. This resulted in the film feeling like it focused on the plot more, while the book focused on the world building in relation to the characters more. Neither of these approaches are “right”, however in the context of Vonnegut’s satirical world, it makes more sense to focus on world building and how that affects characters. The book was able to take a stance on the way we see equality and challenge that, while the film was twenty five minutes of fun entertainment.

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