3. [T]hey remained suspended in air . . . and they kissed each other for a long, long time.
. . . . Diana Moon Glampers . . . 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.
Harrison’s midair dance with his empress near the end of the story is the only moment of unadulterated beauty in “Harrison Bergeron,” and its brutal conclusion suggests the beginning of still darker days for America. Harrison is as amazing as the rest of the world is dull. In a narrative full of stupidity, mediocrity, and terror, Harrison brings strength and beauty into the story by removing his and the empress’s weights and disguisess. Whereas his parents are so compromised that they can hardly put two logical sentences together and merely sit in front of the TV like automatons, Harrison is a whirlwind of activity. He bursts into the studio, takes control, and forces the musicians to play lovely music instead of hackneyed tripe. His physical vigor is superhuman: defying the laws of gravity, he manages to suspend himself and his empress thirty feet above the ground. The long kiss he exchanges with her also provides the only moment of sensual pleasure in the story. But Diana Moon Glampers interrupts Harrison’s dance almost as soon as it has begun. The spare, unflinching language with which Vonnegut narrates her murder of the emperor and empress mirrors the cold, inhuman nature of the deed. It is clear that for all his braggadocio, Harrison never had a chance at unseating the government for good.