Harrison Bergeron

by: Kurt Vonnegut

George Bergeron

Characters George Bergeron

George is an everyman, a character most readers will understand and relate to. Smart and sensitive, George has been crippled by the government’s handicapping program. He makes intelligent remarks and thinks analytically about society, but his mind is stunted. Every twenty seconds, noises broadcast by the government interrupt his thoughts, preventing sustained concentration. In addition to being smart, George is also stronger than the average man and must wear forty-seven pounds around his neck to weigh himself down. Although George is mentally and physically gifted, he is spiritually unremarkable. When Hazel suggests that he remove a few of the lead balls from the bag that weighs him down, George refuses to entertain the idea, unwilling to risk jail. A law-abiding man, he believes that America in 2081 is a much better place than it was in the old days, when competition existed. George, a slightly above-average person with a healthy respect for the rules, stands in for the reader, who may be all too willing to go along with government regulations that thwart individual freedoms and uniqueness. By showing us the unhappiness of George’s existence, Vonnegut asks us to question our own passivity and perhaps even our support for the laws of the land.