SurprisingSimilarities in “The Lottery” and “Harrison Bergeron”
Furthermore, Vonnegut`s story shows that conformity breeds mediocrityand kills happiness. When Harrison escapes from prison and breaksinto the studio, he attains a momentary level of joy and satisfactionwith his empress. He demands good music from the musicians so that hecan enjoy together with his Empress and even show people how to havefun. He says to her chosen mate, "Now, shall we show the peoplethe meaning of the word dance?" (Vonnegut para. 64). However,Glampers, the Handicapper General, kills the two for flouting thelaws on conformity. Thus, the dance is representative of the joy thatconformity denies the people.
"The Lottery" also highlights the dangers of followingtradition and superstitions blindly. The story shows that thevillagers accepted the ritualistic murders every year withoutquestion. Although culture plays an essential role in uniting people,it can lead to unwanted outcomes such as the needless killings in thestory. For some villagers such as Old Man Warner, the draw ritual iscritical to the livelihood of the people. He says that there "usedto be a saying about `Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon.` Firstthing you know, we`d all be eating stewed chickweed and acorns"(Jackson 4). Thus, the people believed that that the murders were asacrifice that would guarantee better crop harvests and abundance.
A similar approach to tradition and superstition is seen in "HarrisonBergeron." The people discussed in the story are comfortablewith a tradition imposed on them by the system that discouragesintelligence and thinking. The newscaster and the ballerina accept anenforced culture that hinders their natural talents of a beautifulvoice and dancing skills respectively. Also, George agrees to bedumbed down as he refuses to remove some of the weights from his bagout of fear. In fact, when Hazel suggests that they get rid of someballs, George reminds her of the repercussions being "Two yearsin prison and two thousand dollars fine for every ball I took out. Idon`t call that a bargain" (Vonnegut, para. 27). The system hascreated a tradition of fear that forces people to accept oppressionand prevent them from fighting for their rights as human beings.
Based on the discussion above, one can conclude that Vonnegut`s"Harrison Bergeron" and Jackson`s "The Lottery"share their criticism of conformity, tradition, and superstitions.The two stories highlight different adverse effects resulting fromconforming and following traditions and superstitions blindly. Thus,the authors could be advocating for authenticity in life to nurturecreativity.
Jackson, Shirley.“The Lottery.” Middlebury,
https://sites.middlebury.edu/individualandthesociety/files/2010/09/jackson_lottery.pdfAccessed 3rd Apr. 2017.
Vonnegut, Kurt,“Harrison Bergeron.” Tnellen,http://www.tnellen.com/cybereng/harrison.html
Accessed 3rd Apr.2017
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