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Harrison Bergeron

Kurt Vonnegut

Character List

Plot Overview

Analysis of Major Characters

Harrison Bergeron -  The son of George and Hazel Bergeron. Fourteen years old and seven feet tall, Harrison seems to be the most advanced model the human species can produce. He is a genius who is also absurdly strong, a dancer who can also break out of prison, and a self-proclaimed emperor. If Harrison can’t succeed in overthrowing the government, Vonnegut suggests, no one can. Harrison’s assassination on live television means that the last, best hope of Americans has failed and there is no longer any chance of escaping the laws of equality.

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George Bergeron -  Harrison’s father and Hazel’s husband. To counteract his physical strength, George must wear weights around his neck. George, an intelligent man, must also wear a radio that prohibits him from thinking deeply. The noises broadcast at twenty-second intervals by this radio interfere with George’s natural tendency toward intense thought. Despite his pensive nature, George is not bold. He believes in obeying the law and avoiding risks. He is also emotionally barren, urging his wife to forget her sadness and reacting to his son’s televised adventure by going to the kitchen for a beer.

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Hazel Bergeron -  Harrison’s mother and George’s wife. Scatterbrained, dumb, and helpless, Hazel is also sweet and well intentioned. For every nonsensical comment she makes about the wonderful work the Handicapper General is doing or the commendable effort made by the incompetents on television, she makes a kind remark to George or sheds a few tears for her son’s plight. Hazel is characterized as an average American.

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Diana Moon Glampers -  The Handicapper General of the United States. Diana Moon Glampers is in charge of dumbing down and disabling those who are above average. It is her minions who enforce the handicap laws and create new hindrances for superior beings such as Harrison. A woman much like Hazel, Diana Moon Glampers kills Harrison and his empress and threatens to murder the musicians if they don’t put on their handicaps.
The Ballerina-Turned-Announcer -  A dancer. George and Hazel can see that she is the best ballerina because she wears an immense amount of weight. She also wears a terrible mask to cover up what must be extreme beauty. When the announcer gives her the news to read, she speaks briefly in a beautiful voice before apologizing and making her voice ugly.
The Empress -  A dancer, possibly the same character as the ballerina-turned-announcer. This dancer becomes Harrison’s empress after he says the first woman to stand will be his mate. After Harrison removes her mental handicap, weights, and mask, she performs a lovely dance with him before being killed by Diana Moon Glampers.
The Announcer -  A newscaster. The announcer has a severe speech impediment, as do all announcers, and cannot manage to read the news about Harrison’s jailbreak.

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