“Harrison Bergeron” – Responsibility

“Harrison Bergeron”, by Kurt Vonnegut, is a dystopian story that I like to use to address questioning authority. In the short story, the title character Harrison Bergeron defies the “Handicapper General” and pays the price with his life. Though it ends abruptly, the reader can infer that Harrison’s death opens Americans’ eyes to the injustice of their situation. I would use the Benjamin Franklin conversation about responsibility as a discussion starter throughout my dystopian fiction unit, allowing students to consider what these authors are warning us against with their unsettling works.

Level:  Elementary English/Language Arts

Subject Area:  American Literature

Author:  Tiffany Heitman



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