Scope[ edit ] Scholars have debated the scope of rhetoric since ancient times. Although some have limited rhetoric to the specific realm of political discourse, many modern scholars liberate it to encompass every aspect of culture. Contemporary studies of rhetoric address a much more diverse range of domains than was the case in ancient times. While classical rhetoric trained speakers to be effective persuaders in public forums and institutions such as courtrooms and assemblies, contemporary rhetoric investigates human discourse writ large.
Plot[ edit ] In the yearthe th, th, and th amendments to the Constitution dictate that all Americans are fully equal and not allowed to be smarter, better-looking, or more physically able than anyone else. One April, year-old Harrison Bergeron, an intelligent and athletic teenager, is taken away from his parents, George and Hazel Bergeron, by the government.
They are barely aware of the tragedy, as Hazel has "average" intelligence a euphemism for stupidityand George has a handicap radio installed by the government to regulate his above-average intelligence.
Hazel and George watch ballet on television. They comment on the dancers, who are weighed down to counteract their gracefulness and masked to hide their attractiveness. She suggests taking a few of the weights out of the bag, but George resists, aware of the illegality of such an action.
On television, a news reporter struggles to read the bulletin and hands it to the ballerina wearing the most grotesque mask and heaviest weights. She begins reading in her unacceptably natural, beautiful voice, then apologizes before switching to a more unpleasant voice.
George recognizes his son for a moment, before having the thought eliminated by his radio. Harrison himself then storms the television studio in an attempt to overthrow the government.
He calls himself the Emperor and rips off all of his handicaps, along with the handicaps of a ballerina, whom he proclaims his "Empress".
He orders the musicians to play, promising them nobility if they do their best. Unhappy with their initial attempt, Harrison takes control for a short while, and the music improves.
After listening and being moved by the music, Harrison and his Empress dance while flying to the ceiling, then pause in mid-air to kiss.
Diana Moon Glampers, the Handicapper General, enters the studio and kills Harrison and the Empress with a ten-gauge double-barreled shotgun.
She forces the musicians to put on their handicaps, and the television goes dark. George, unaware of the televised incident, returns from the kitchen and asks Hazel why she was crying, to which she replies that something sad happened on television that she cannot remember.
He comforts her and they return to their average lives. Characters[ edit ] Harrison Bergeron is the fourteen-year-old son, who is 7 feet 2.
He wants to live as an unimpeded human being and does not want to obey the laws of the government, which has taken on the responsibility of creating equality for the whole American society. To eliminate any "unfair advantages", the Handicapper General forces him to wear the most extreme handicaps reflecting his extraordinary attributes: When he escapes from jail, the government describes him as "a genius and an athlete" and tells people that he should be regarded as extremely dangerous.
When Harrison enters the television studio, he is convinced that he can overthrow the government and declares "I am the Emperor! I am the Emperor! Everybody must do what I say at once! In addition to this talent and egotism, he also possesses artistic and romantic characteristics.In “Harrison Bergeron”, Kurt Vonnegut explores the theme of forced equality in American society in the not so distant future.
Vonnegut creates a world in which all living people are equal in. 'Harrison Bergeron' is a mind-blowing satire on the literal notion of equality. In the short story Vonnegut envisions a world in which physical and mental defects are 'given' to everyone to make them equal to everyone else/5.
The struggle against a totalitarian government is unsurprisingly a frequent theme in dystopian literature.
Almost by definition the genre is set in a futuristic society characterized by extreme oppression and despondence. Malevolent autocrats at the helms of totalitarian governments have, throughout our history, been responsible for innumerable travesties.
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Use these book/movie pairings to discuss important themes in literature. The content of each text and film is briefly summarized and the main teaching points are highlighted.
Teachers can use clips from the films to highlight similarities and main points from the novels. Rhetoric is the art of using language to convince or persuade. Aristotle defines rhetoric as "the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion" and since mastery of the art was necessary for victory in a case at law or for passage of proposals in the assembly or for fame as a speaker in civic ceremonies, calls it "a combination of the science of logic and of the.