I, as the oldest of three children, could tell you many stories of when things seemed unfair or unequal. I could also recount many examples of short stories, passages, or articles from school that showcased the ideal of inequality. Our most recent story, though, was unlike any other story I had witnessed or read in class. It was the short story Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. and it described a utopia turned dystopia where a fight for equality has been taken too far. Equality can be viewed in many different ways. However, what is equal to one person will most likely not be the perfect idea of equality to everyone.
In trying to make the world a place of perfect equality, this “utopian society” had to sacrifice the pure essence of life, in that being the ideas of individualism and diversity. Vonnegut writes “Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else.” This shows that, through the use of extensive “handicaps” (such as weights to make one weaker, or special hearing aids that emit painful noises to scramble the citizens thoughts), the so-called “utopian society” needed to eliminate any threat that might make one feel inferior to their counterparts, such as intelligence, physical appearance, or strength and ability. This does, however, take away what it truly means to be human, in that of being equipped with differences to make our personality type, ability and skills formated to fit best with who we are and who we want to be. This, one might believe, is the true meaning of diversity, in which Vonnegut illustrates is yet one more thing that had to be sacrificed in order to build this “perfect” society.
Diversity is among all of us, from that of religion, to that of nationality, and even our physical appearances,...