“Harrison Bergeron” Post

The story of “Harrison Bergeron” is more impactful when told through text than film because the text’s use of literary devices leaves more up to the imagination. This makes for more effective storytelling. When looking at the text’s use of literary devices, the expanded moment when Harrison dances with the ballerina is particularly impactful because of it’s use of figurative language and it’s elongation of time. When Harrison and the ballerina “reeled, whirled, swiveled, flounced, capered, gamboled, and spun” and when “they leaped like deer on the moon” the whimsical tone of the story enraptures readers with a sense of wonder. Compare this to the movie, where the focus is placed on the United States Handicapper General, and the military plot to supress Harrison Bergeron.  The imagery adds to the plot because it is in sharp contrast with what happens next, as “Diana Moon Glampers, 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. ” This juxtaposition of contrasting ideas shocks the audience; in the movie 2081, one sees that Diana Moon Glampers is going to enter the theater with the shotgun, there is no shock, no quick shift of gears. One can infer what is going to happen, even without watching the ending. This divergence in plot makes the short story superior, as it’s jarring effect on the reader gives the story more impact; the shock that the audience experiences leads them to think about what just happened. Secondly, the text “Harrison Bergeron” is a more effective medium because it leaves more of the narrative up to one’s imagination. For example, the story says that Harrison and the ballerina abandon “the law of gravity and the laws of motion.” Whereas in the movie, their feet remain firmly on the ground. The film fails to capture the tone of this segment, the whimsy, the imagination, to the detriment of the story. In addition, the movie features Harrison giving a long monologue about his time spent in captivity and the necessity of freedom, the book shows Harrison declaring himself emperor. I found that the monologue in the movie really didn’t add anything to the story, and took away the fictional, dreamlike feel that the book magnificently captured. In conclusion, the short story’s use of literary devices and intentional vagueness contributes to a more impactful tale than the one depicted in the film.

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