Harrison Bergeron Hyperbole

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 445 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Mar 20, 2024

Words: 445|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Mar 20, 2024

In Kurt Vonnegut's short story "Harrison Bergeron," hyperbole is used as a literary device to exaggerate and emphasize the absurdity of a society's pursuit of equality. The story is set in a dystopian future where the government enforces absolute equality by handicapping those who are naturally talented or intelligent. Vonnegut employs hyperbolic elements to portray the extreme measures taken to achieve equality, ultimately highlighting the detrimental effects of an oppressive and unrealistic pursuit of sameness.

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One of the most prominent uses of hyperbole in "Harrison Bergeron" is the portrayal of the Handicapper General, Diana Moon Glampers. Described as "a woman of extraordinary grace and strength," Glampers embodies the exaggerated authority and control of the government in enforcing equality. Her appearance and demeanor are hyperbolic, emphasizing the excessive measures taken to maintain societal uniformity. Additionally, Glampers's use of extreme measures, such as the use of a shotgun to enforce the handicap regulations, serves as a hyperbolic representation of the oppressive nature of the government's pursuit of equality.

The physical handicaps imposed on the characters in the story also serve as hyperbolic representations of the lengths to which the government will go to enforce equality. For example, Harrison Bergeron, the story's protagonist, is burdened with physical restraints that limit his strength and agility. The exaggerated nature of these handicaps, such as 300-pound weights and earpieces that emit debilitating noises, emphasizes the extreme measures taken to suppress individual abilities and talents in the name of equality. The hyperbolic nature of these handicaps serves to highlight the absurdity and impracticality of enforcing absolute equality in a society.

Furthermore, the portrayal of the media and public opinion in "Harrison Bergeron" is hyperbolic in its exaggeration of the conformity and lack of critical thinking within the society. The news anchor, for example, speaks in a monotone voice and fails to express any emotion or independent thought. This hyperbolic representation of the media underscores the suppression of individual expression and diversity of thought in the pursuit of equality. Similarly, the audience's reaction to Harrison's rebellion, where they quickly return to their mundane activities, serves as a hyperbolic portrayal of the society's apathy and complacency in the face of oppression.

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Throughout "Harrison Bergeron," Vonnegut uses hyperbole to critique the dangers of an oppressive pursuit of equality and the suppression of individuality. The exaggerated nature of the government's measures, the physical handicaps imposed on the characters, and the portrayal of the media and public opinion all serve to emphasize the absurdity and impracticality of absolute equality. By employing hyperbole, Vonnegut effectively highlights the detrimental effects of a society's unreasonable pursuit of sameness, ultimately cautioning against the dangers of sacrificing individual freedom and diversity in the name of equality.

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Harrison Bergeron Hyperbole. (2024, March 20). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 23, 2024, from
“Harrison Bergeron Hyperbole.” GradesFixer, 20 Mar. 2024,
Harrison Bergeron Hyperbole. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 23 Jun. 2024].
Harrison Bergeron Hyperbole [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 20 [cited 2024 Jun 23]. Available from:
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