Giver vs. Harrison Bergeren

Two great books.

Dystopian fiction is a genre of literature that is supposed to have creation of nightmare. There are two dystopian fictions called The Giver and Harrison Bergeron. The Giver, by Lois Lowry, has a setting which everything is same and has no differences between people. However, the main character Jonas feels different about his whole world and wants to change the sameness. Another story called Harrison Bergeron, by Kurt Vonnegut, has a similar setting: everyone is equal by using handicapped tools. The main character, Harrison takes an action of uprising against his society because of handicap tools that takes away people’s liberty. These two stories share relating characteristics between them such as themes and settings. Even though the stories are written by different authors, alike attributes can be found between them.

One similarity that can be found in both stories is that people die. In story The Giver, a baby gets released by getting a shot on top of its head. “He pushed the plunger very slowly injecting liquid into the scalp vein until the syringe was empty…. Then he went limp. His head fell to the side, his eyes half open. Then he was still” (pg150). The baby gets released by injecting the liquid to its head and it must have been a torture for the baby. It seems that the liquid is a dangerous chemical since it can kill a person just in few seconds. For the other story, Harrison Bergeron, Harrison and a ballerina gets kill by the handicapper general. “It was then that Diana Moon Glamper, the handicapper General, came into the studio with a double-barreled ten-gauge shotgun. She fired twice, and the emperor and the empress were dead before they hit the floor” (pg5). For the two people, they get killed by the general’s shotgun instead of getting released. By seeing the handicapper general killing people, she must be a strict person and have no mercy on people. Therefore, because of the killings that both stories involve, they can be considered similar. 

Not only killings are match but their reactions to the truth are also alike, too. For The Giver, When Jonas learns the true meaning of pain, he gets shocked. “Then, the first wave of pain. He gasped. It was if a hatchet lay lodged on his leg, slicing through each nerve with a hot blade…..Then suddenly, he was in the Annex room again. His face was wet with tears” (pg 109). This shows that this is Jonas’ first time feeling pain and gives him surprising shocks. Compared to the little scrapes he had experienced, the pain must have been unbearable enough to make him wet with tears. Similarly, in Harrison Bergeron, Harrison learns that without handicap masks, people look much better. “Harrison plucked the metal handicap from her ear, snapped of her physical handicaps with marvelous delicacy. Last of all, he removed her mask. She was blindly beautiful” (pg4). This shows that Harrison has never seen another one’s face before and is amazed by its beauty. All the people in Harrison’s world must have restricted freedom because they have so much handicap tools to carry around. Because of their reactions to truth, both Jonas and Harrison attempts to change their world.

Most importantly, both stories share a similar theme. In story, The Giver, a disaster happens to their world because of a girl. “The community lost a girl called Rosemary after five weeks and it was a disaster for them” (pg 49). The community lost a girl called rosemary and because of her special talent or some disease, everything went chaos. The girl must have been really important to the community because without her, the community had lots of trouble. In Harrison Bergeron, the announcer makes a mistake while saying a message. “The announcer tried to say, ‘ladies and gentleman….’ He finally gave up, and handed the bulletin to a ballerina to read” (pg 4). This shows that the announcer can’t either read or speak because of his small source of knowledge. The community of Harrison Bergeron must have had lack of education by seeing people neither reading nor speaking correctly. As a result, both stories can lead into having similar theme; nothing in the world can be perfect.
 The Giver and Harrison Bergeron are similar in many ways. They share the same theme, reaction, and even the setting. Amazingly, the theme that the stories share affects our lives in variety of ways. In the past, there were countries ruled over monarchy. In the monarchy, there were kings who were greedy and wanted to collect lots of taxes from the citizens. However, by understanding the theme, nothing can be perfect; the result turns out to be citizens rebelling against the kings. If the kings had known this theme, there wouldn’t have been people overthrowing the kings. These stories can change our lives completely different by just figuring out the message of the author.

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