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Kurt Vonnegut

“Harrison Bergeron” is a short story by Kurt Vonnegut that was first published in 1961 .

Read our full plot summary of “Harrison Bergeron.”

See a complete list of the characters in “Harrison Bergeron” and in-depth analyses of Harrison, George, and Hazel Bergeron.

Literary Devices

Here's where you will find analysis of the key literary devices in “Harrison Bergeron.”

Find the quotes from “Harrison Bergeron” you need to support your essay or refresh your memory.

Deeper Study

Enhance your understanding of “Harrison Bergeron” by learning more about Kurt Vonnegut as well as about historical context and literary context for this short story.

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66 Harrison Bergeron Essay Topics & Examples

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Harrison Bergeron Essay

harrison bergeron essay hook

Harrison Bergeron : Similarities In 'Harrison Bergeron'

Harrison Bergeron In 2081 everyone was treated equally due to laws 211th, 212th, and 213th. Can you imagine a world where nobody could be smarter or stronger than anyone else? In “Harrison Bergeron” the law said that everyone was supposed to be equal in every way but everyone was not truly equal. Everyone in “ Harrison Bergeron” were being treated equally because they are being treated differently, they have leaders that are treating them poorly, and all of these problems could be because of laws

Harrison Bergeron : The Story Of Harrison Bergeron

The story of Harrison Bergeron is enticingly different than any other. It opened my mind to new ideas and changed the way I think about issues and situations. In the movie and short story, “Harrison Bergeron,” the characters live in a much different world than the one we live in. In Harrison Bergeron, the American government was overthrown for the purpose of removing competition. This means everybody is now paid the same, their grades need to be average, but most importantly, they are required to

Harrison Bergeron

“Harrison Bergeron” is a story about Big Government forcing equality on citizens by the use of handicaps; in doing so they hold everyone back from their fullest potential. The year 2081 is oppressive to say the least; people are punished for being above average in intelligence, beauty, physical abilities or any variety of capabilities. No one is supposed to be more attractive, stronger, more intelligent or quicker than anyone else. The quest for egalitarianism is faulty; people who are born gifted

Anthem And Harrison Bergeron : Anthem And Harrison Bergeron

Essay 1: Anthem & “Harrison Bergeron” The theme statement i have came up with for both Anthem and “Harrison Bergeron” is, even if you are more intelligent or feel different from others, speaking up about it will only get you into trouble in these societies. A quote from “Harrison Bergeron” that supports my theme statement is “She fired twice, and the emperor and empress were dead before they hit the floor”(Vonnegut,5). The quote from Anthem that best supports my theme statement is “We are one in

Comparison Of Harrison Bergeron And Harrison Bergeron

The story “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. and the short film 2081 directed by Chandler Tuttle have many similarities and differences. Both the story and the short film are about a boy named Harrison Bergeron who escaped from jail and ran off to a theater. He ended up in jail for tearing off his handicaps in public. In their community, people have handicaps in order to be equal in every way. In the short film, Hazel and George Bergeron, Harrison’s parents, switched roles. Harrison also put

“Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. is a story literally exaggerated to its limit by showing, in the near future, what it means to be equal in every way by having people not being able to show any form of intelligence or creativity whatsoever. When Harrison Bergeron breaks the chains of government oppression, he dies for his failed cause. He dies because he chooses not to conform to the rest of his oppressive society. His parents, George and

“Harrison Bergeron” and 2081: Variations of Different Caliber Would you rebel for something you believe in, but everyone else does not? Would you die for the cause of something good and helpful to the world? This is exactly what Harrison did. In Chandler Tuttle’ 2081 and Kurt Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron,” Harrison's appearances, beliefs, the equipment used on him, and the responses he receives and produces are important aspects to both medias. Though, the short story and film both have its own

Harrison Bergeron : Communism Vs. Harrison Bergeron

equal to their own ability accordingly. In Harrison Bergeron the people were equal accordingly to their own specific handicapping. In communistic societies there were no more social classes and all your rights were given up to the government and so you were told what to do. In Harrison Bergeron they were controlled by the government and so they could not have their own right to think or have an upper advantage than anybody else. Therefore Harrison Bergeron was a communistic society due to the fact

Characterization Of Harrison Bergeron In 2081 And Harrison Bergeron

Characterization of Harrison Bergeron in 2081 and “Harrison Bergeron” Comparing and contrasting Kurt Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron” and Chandler Tuttle’s 2081 in relation to their characterization of the short story’s namesake is an undertaking chock-full of potential. These two sources are very different in their representation of young Harrison and this serves to completely skew one’s preconceived understanding of his person, motivations, and desires. Due to this subtle but significant

harrison bergeron

An Equal Society with a Strong Government In 2081, all of society is forced to be equal. In Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.’s short story, Harrison Bergeron, everyone is assigned “handicaps” that make them equal to everyone else. These handicaps included wearing weights around the neck, wearing a mask to cover beauty, and having a device in the ear so thinking could not be overdone. “Nobody was smarter than anyone else; nobody was better looking than anyone else; nobody was stronger or quicker than anyone

An impartial society: Utopia or Hell? What would happen to the world if the people were literally equal in every aspect of their lives? In the futuristic short story, “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut Jr., the world is finally living up to America’s first amendment of everyone being created equal. In this society, the gifted, strong, and beautiful are required to wear handicaps of earphones, heavy weights, and hideous masks, respectively. Thus, these constraints leave the world equal from

'Harrison Bergeron'

such perfection. Karl Marx inquired the structure of communism through the Manifesto to ensure equality to a large socially grouped people. According to Vonnegut, so did the U.S. government, in the year 2081. In the outrageous short story of "Harrison Bergeron", many historic achievements and ideas, like the Manifesto, can closely parallel with that of the future outlook described by Vonnegut. Vonnegut shows the ridiculousness of the outcome of this, at the time,

Harrison Bergeron : Symbolize Equality In Society In Harrison Bergeron

Fourteen year old Harrison Bergeron is a passionate character that symbolizes equality in society during the year of 2081. Harrison rebels against the government in a way that shows how everyone in “Harrison Bergeron” was not absolutely equal. This community and its citizens has lost its rights after the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution. Everyone was not actually equal in the story since people could not use their own intelligence, express their true beauty, and display their

Harrison Bergeron Analysis

was set off and they went backwards in time to living like cavemen and in tribes. This is similar to the story “Harrison Bergeron”, in this story Harrison was taken away from his mother and father from the FBI because he was breaking the law by not wearing his handicaps that make him the standard equality. In the story “Harrison Bergeron” the author tells the story. In “Harrison Bergeron” has something different in society, if you are to pretty or have more beauty than others, you have to wear a mask

Harrison Bergeron Summary

The story “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. is about a couple in the year 2081. In 2081 the government wants everyone to be equal so they hand out handicaps to people with good looks, vision, strength, brains, and other talents. The couple, Hazel and George Bergeron, are watching dancers on tv when an announcer comes on. He says a person named Harrison Bergeron has escaped prison. Then they hear a thud and see a figure matching Harrison’s description at the door. He goes up to the stage, rips

Essay on Harrison Bergeron

Harrison Bergeron, projected on a stage representing the conformity of a society with a system of Government based on equality for the weak, which are monitored and controlled by a dictatorial Government. This story is a literary sample that gives us a system of Government, where the law was created with the intention of limiting the individuals and turning them into beings with actuation equality, controlling them through the transmitters or obstacles in their body for that people could

Equality In Harrison Bergeron

In his story “Harrison Bergeron,” Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. ( 1961) proves that not all of mankind can be equal. Vonnegut sets his story in 2081, where everyone is equal. No one is smarter, more talented, stronger, or better looking. The government in his story controlled everyone and how they acted and thought with machines. Those who were smarter had a mental handicap radio’s in their ear that made a noise every so often throwing them off the train of thought. The stronger ones had to carry around weight

Essay On Harrison Bergeron

The story “Harrison Bergeron” written by Kurt VOnnegut Jr. explores the idea of a perfect society. A life where you are completely oppressed to be like everyone else. A young boy known as Harrison Bergeron seeks to have change in society and for everyone to be free. Harrison showed the idea of being free would bring harm to everyone and that is what he did he did not present himself as being a hero but being dangerous to everyone against him. Harrison Bergeron was just like everyone living according

Theme Of Harrison Bergeron

In the story harrison bergeron the government is forcing everyone to be equal. For example people who are better looking than everyone else has to wear a mask or if your stronger you have to carry weight all the time. So the people who are better than others have these handicaps. In the story there's this 14 year old boy harrison and he has the most handicaps out of anyone. Harrison is in jail for being suspected to overthrow the government. Harrison ends up escaping jail and is trying to get rid

Freedom In Harrison Bergeron

are also derived from being free. Kurt Vonnegut wrote a story named “Harrison Bergeron”(1962) which demonstrates the importance of freedom and being free. In the story it can be seen that government to protect the equality of human beings uses the technology. The story demonstrates how equality is one of the fundamental principles in the society. Although equality is essential for every society,

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“Kurt Vonnegut’s Harrison Bergeron is a satirical short story that deals with the themes of equality, media, and government control. It is a short, yet powerful piece that approaches the popular topics from an unpopular perspective and ultimately makes an unforgettable impression on the reader with its hidden warning. The themes explored by the author in this short story are equality as well as political and media control and manipulation. The ultimate message of the short story is that the goals of equality should be taken with caution and that no absolute equality is possible in the human society unless it is created and maintained through a cruel and jarring system of control such as described by Vonnegut.

In Vonnegut’s reality all people with any intelligence, talent, or other positive attributes are potential threats to the well-being of the society. As such, as soon as the characters start talking about breaking laws and changing society, George’s mental handicap is triggered, and the man is literally punished for thinking or speaking out of line. Similarly, Harrison Bergeron’s only crimes are that he is an athlete, and a genius, while the ballerina on TV the ballerina suffers more because she stands out against all others as more beautiful and more talented. Through these elements in his story, Vonnegut mocks the alternative side to the popular ideas of equality, the side that proclaims equality by asserting that everyone is the same.

As a result, people with a different intelligence, degree of education and effort are evaluated in the same fashion which eventually leads the society back to the past. As such, it is possible to interpret Vonnegut’s ironic criticism of forced equality as a reference to the ideology of socialism according to which all people have equal opportunity but at the same time must conform to a single government that supervises their lives and controls what they think, say, or do. In this case, the story might be pointing out that the ideas and goals of equality, enforced rather than encouraged, will be following similar political and social patterns to those in the communist societies of the 20th century. Even within the modern context of a society that challenges any attempts at removing personal freedom and controlling the private lives of individuals, Bergeron puts down a darker, less hopeful interpretation of equality. If taken to the extremes, the ideas of equal society can spiral into the already familiar socialist scenario where, disguised as equality, a totalitarian system rules with a strong grip on the society’s freedom, democracy, as well as a potential to develop and improve.

One of the leading themes in Harrison Bergeron is the theme of media, television, and media control. Apart from that, throughout the entire story, the main characters are sitting in front of the television and taking in all the information presented to them with complete acceptance. Any attempts to interpret the things that George sees or hears on the TV end up in punishment. The mental and physical handicaps used to make everyone equal serve as another instance of Vonnegut’s satirical irony. The traditional understanding of the word handicap is of something that complicates one’s chances of success or progress, yet here, in the ultimate “equal” society, it is supposed to be a tool to improve the people’s lives. In this respect, Vonnegut’s story is almost built on paradox. Interestingly, Hazel does not have a mental handicap, therefore able to express her thoughts more freely. However, the fact that her thoughts and ideas are not controlled does not say much about her intelligence, pointing probably to the fact that she is too ignorant and average to pose any real threat to the regime. This idea is proven in the very last line where Hazel takes a figurative expression literally. With those who do have a mental handicap, but still manage to break through the haze of forced ignorance, the government uses carefully thought-out scenarios with hidden meanings on television, such as Harrison’s riot and death by the Handicapper General, the figure supervising the regime.

A major point that attracts the attention of the reader is the ridiculous description of Harrison’s appearance on TV. The image of George and Hazel’s son is overly exaggerated – “all Halloween and hardware”, “a walking junkyard” (Vonnegut). A fourteen-year-old boy is shown to be seven feet tall among all other scary attributes: shaved off eyebrows, black caps on his teeth, and a red ball on his nose as a finishing touch to his extraordinary appearance. These descriptions are almost dripping with Vonnegut’s sarcasm to the point that it is impossible not to recognize it. Overall, the description of Harrison’s appearance is part of the overall theme of media and television and is a major jab at the famous media strategies of manipulation and hidden political agendas in media broadcasting. The strategies used here resemble the wartime propaganda that portrayed criminals and enemies of the state in an overly exaggerated and often dehumanizing manner to remove all pity, compassion, or understanding from the target audience’s minds and imbue them feelings of fear and hate instead.

Vonnegut’s story is full of irony and satire. The narration of the events is presented in a mocking tone that adds a humorous effect but at the same time reinforces the dark themes introduced in the story by the author. Part of Vonnegut’s blunt but impressive style is the way he writes in simple and short sentences. The narrator’s tone stays mocking and ironic until the very end of the narration, leaving it to the reader to recognize and interpret the themes. Apart from that, Vonnegut uses interesting and entertaining language that is more humorous than poetic.

At the same time, this down-to-earth, blunt manner of presentation manages to convey the story’s themes and messages with both clarity and dramatic effect. As such, at one point, Vonnegut compares George’s thoughts to burglars running from a burglar alarm, which is an accurate representation of how the government controls and chases away any even remotely radical thoughts and ideas. Another instance of ironically humorous language in Vonnegut’s short story is when he uses the slang word “doozy” to refer to such alarming things as George being “kept in check” by his mental handicap. Both George and Hazel react calmly to what sounds like enormous pain, thus giving Vonnegut’s presentation of equality an even more unsettling impression. In general, the language of the short story is quirky and hilarious while Vonnegut’s sharp humor takes the reader by surprise and makes them think deeper about the issues of equality as presented by the author. The narrator states that there was total equality now in human society, but then proceeds to add that “some things about living still weren’t quite right, though” (Vonnegut). As the story goes on, the reader realizes that this is a major understatement, and nothing is right with this kind of society. There are familiar themes of government and media control, propaganda and manipulation, as well as an unfamiliar but alarming interpretation of equality.

All in all, Vonnegut’s short story presents a shocking picture of a reality in which equality has been achieved by means of totalitarian control and fear. Although it is with humor and sarcasm that Vonnegut finishes his story when he presents a hilarious exchange between George and Hazel, the implications of the ending are far from optimistic. It has a sobering effect on the readers, making them wonder about their own reality and whether they are also being deceived and manipulated into believing in some things without even realizing it. Ultimately, Vonnegut’s unusual take on equality warns about how reaching absolute equality may very well be an unrealistic as well as a potentially disastrous goal.

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harrison bergeron essay hook

What Is Harrison Bergeron Essay About Equality

Essay on harrison bergeron.

The short story “Harrison Bergeron” takes place in 2081 in the United States. Everyone and everything is now equal due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments of the US constitution. People are required to be equal people callee handicapper generals assign handicaps and manage them to make sure no one takes them off. The story is about a 14 year old boy named Harrison, and his parents Hazel and George. It was a bad month for George and Hazel there son Harrison was taken to jail. Harrison escapes jail one day and threatens the system by saying that he is the emperor and needs an empress and he ripped off his handicaps. After that he is shot down by a handicapper general. The author has the handicapper general kill

Harrison Bergeron Essay

Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. was published in 1961 and this sotry is a normal case of the author’s capability to blend science fiction and satire. It is the best useful story of regulation of absolute equality ever composed. In this paper, I will be highlighting the Harrison Bergeron as a picture of socialism and communism, considering the equality rule of the teachings to uncover the absurdity (Joodaki & Mahdiany). Harrison Bergeron tell the satire of the misconception of what equality involves. Vonnegut has written this story to tell that all people have strengths and weaknesses which make each of them uniquely individual (

Equality In Vonnegut's Harrison Bergeron

Throughout history America has seen its share of movements to bring forth equality. From the women’s suffrage movement, the civil rights movements of the 1960s, and finally and most prominently in current American news, gay rights equality. However, equality has arrived in the short story “Harrison Bergeron” in an egalitarian society. At what cost though? Where people are limited by the government; devices created to “handicap” society’s potential so that they are equal in the year 2081. No one is smarter, prettier, stronger, they are only average, and “equal before God and the law, they were equal every which way” (Gioia 232). Which severely handicaps its constituents to the point of just being average at the cost of individualism. Throughout

Single Paragraph Essay: Harrison Bergeron

strongly controlled by the government in the year 2081; the beautiful are forced tolook ugly, the physically skilled are required to wear weights. With these handicaps makingeveryone so equal, the world became very different, odd, and average. But the government hasno right or reason to push the whole world

Hyperbole In Harrison Bergeron

In the short story “Harrison Bergeron”, Vonnegut uses hyperbole to exaggerate this idea of equality, or a perfect society. Equality is the state of being equal in status, rights, and opportunities. The short story attempts to make all people equal by handicapping their special abilities. For example, if someone thinks more deeply than others they will stick a radio in their head so when their mind starts to wander, a loud noise will sound so they lose their train of thought. Is this idea of equality really achievable? If so, will it take extreme measures such as radios in the brain for people to finally feel content in life?

What Is The Cost Of Equality In Harrison Bergeron

The story “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut is about a couple, Hazel and George Bergeron, in the distant future when all people must be equal. This equality is reached in the form of handicaps. Weights are placed on the strong and athletic people in society, masks are forced upon the beautiful, and loud noises are constantly blasted into the ears of the intelligent to prevent them from thinking. While most equality is often thought of as good, the story shows a much darker side, using the government’s forceful equalization of the people. “Harrison Bergeron” uses multiple perspectives to highlight the costs of equality paralleled in today’s society.

Harrison Bergeron Movie Comparison

Equality means “the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities”(Merriam Webster). This can be a good thing in many ways, however having too much equality is a bad thing. Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut and 2081 are similar because Harrison is shot and killed in the story and the movie, however they are different by in the movie Harrison plants a bomb where in the story there is no bomb.

Examples Of Individualism In Harrison Bergeron

Hazel said to George, “ Take the handicapped off, it 's only here so that you can relax.” George said, “If that how it was, we 're all going back to judging and comparing.”

Satire In Harrison Bergeron

The people of the United States fight and strive for an absolute “equal” society, but is it what’s really wanted? “Harrison Bergeron,” a short story written by Kurt Vonnegut, uses satire to describe the deficiency in our idea of a truly “equal” society. Throughout the story, Vonnegut describes the torture and discomfort the government administers among the people, and though they were “equal,” they were not balanced. Vonnegut uses characterization and word choice to warn his readers of the potential drawbacks of a truly “equal” society. He warns normalcy would become the base of thought, and people would become incapable of emotion.

People Are Not Truly Equal In Harrison Bergeron

He was smarter than an average person, so he was obliged to wear a little mental handicap radio in his ear. If George took his radio out, he would be punished, probably executed. “ He was required by law to wear it at all times. It was tuned to a government transmitter. Every twenty seconds or so, the transmitter would send out a little sharp noise to keep people identical to George from taking unfair advantage of their brains.” This comment was made to give a description of why George had to wear a radio. When people weren’t equal they were forced to do baggage they didn’t want to. Why were they forced if everyone was

Persuasive Essay On Harrison Bergeron

The story, Harrison Bergeron really shows the importance of diversity and for every individual to have a right to be unique. The government trying to make every thing completely fair is actually unfair to people who can 't get any excitement in a world like this. Limiting peoples thinking will also strongly slow any advances in technology, maybe even to a stop, so they might never solve some of the very important problems they face. Same with strength, if someones is in danger to an animal or a malfunctioning machine they will need to be able to escape. So really a world thats completely fair is impossible to create.

Harrison Bergeron Literary Analysis Essay

One common afternoon in the year of 2081, when everyone was equal, Hazel and George Bergeron were in their lovely living room watching television. Suddenly, a news reporter with a severe speech impediment came on. After trying many times to say, “Good morning ladies and gentlemen,” he handed it off to a ballerina who read, “Harrison Bergeron, age 14, has just escaped from jail, where he was held on suspicion of plotting to overthrow the government. He is a genius and an athlete, is under-handicapped, and should be regarded as extremely dangerous.” However, in this short story “Harrison Bergeron”, Kurt Vonnegut uses irony, shift and mood, and allusion to illustrated haw society would be if everyone was under the law of equality.

Harrison Bergeron And Anthem: Equality's Equality

“Equality in pay has improved in the US since 1979 when women earned about 62 percent as much as men. In 2010, American women on average earned 81 percent of what their male counterparts earned” ( Highlights in the US). “Harrison Bergeron” and Anthem both are dystopian societies that tried to create equality, but end up with horrible corruption, no real equality, and incorrect portrayals of equality. In “Harrison Bergeron” the society leaders use handicaps to bring people down to the lowest level or the “average” of their society. There are similar concepts in Anthem, no one can be better than anyone, but they use shame and guilt to keep their people in line. Equality is when everyone is given the same opportunities

Examples Of Equality In Harrison Bergeron

In “Harrison Bergeron” people aren’t truly equal. In this short story, they took equality to the next level. Most people think that equality is everyone being treated with the same amount of respect. Appearance has nothing to do with equality in today’s society. Although looking the same and having the same level of intelligence may decrease jealousy, people shouldn’t force others to change because of this. In this short story, everything has to do with equality. No one can be more intelligent, stronger, or more attractive. Handicaps are making people unequal.

Harrison Bergeron Reflection

I feel the story, "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" relates to modern day in the form of the military. I touched on it in my discussion post. I related to the child in the story that is locked in the basement to the men and women who serve in the arm forces today. The military makes sacrifices for the people of the United States on a daily basis. I have friends who are in Afghanistan right now and other places overseas fighting for our country. It reminds me of the child in the basement. The men and woman are the child in the basement. They are sacrificing their life, safety, family, nourishment and everything they know and have known to make sure the people of America are safe and happy. It is no different for the parents of the

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  1. Harrison Bergeron: Study Guide

    Deeper Study. Enhance your understanding of “Harrison Bergeron” by learning more about Kurt Vonnegut as well as about historical context and literary context for this short story. Kurt Vonnegut & “Harrison Bergeron” Background. Historical Context: Vonnegut’s Political and Social Critique.

  2. Harrison Bergeron Essay + Example Hooks and Grabbers

    Harrison Bergeron Essay + Example Hooks and Grabbers. Today our goal is to finish annotating "Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut and begin writing your essay. FIRST, we will discuss the story. Please use the format that you used for your analysis of "The Lottery" - Your paper should be: MLA Format. MS Word.

  3. 66 Topics in Harrison Bergeron & Essay Samples

    Kurt Vonnegut’s Harrison Bergeron. In the context of the time when no one is eager to struggle with blatant violation of a right to be someone, not a philosophical zombie, the protagonist is an expression of freedom of choice. Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut Literature Analysis.

  4. Harrison Bergeron Essay

    “Harrison Bergeron” is a story about Big Government forcing equality on citizens by the use of handicaps; in doing so they hold everyone back from their fullest potential. The year 2081 is oppressive to say the least; people are punished for being above average in intelligence, beauty, physical abilities or any variety of capabilities.

  5. Essay about Kurt Vonnegut’s Harrison Bergeron

    "Kurt Vonnegut’s Harrison Bergeron is a satirical short story that deals with the themes of equality, media, and government control. It is a short, yet powerful piece that approaches the popular topics from an unpopular perspective and ultimately makes an unforgettable impression on the reader

  6. What Is Harrison Bergeron Essay About Equality

    The story “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut gives examples of how our government created a way to represent equality to be able to stay in power. The government forced equality through beauty, strength, and intelligence instead of using equality by dealing with race, religion, and sex.