Narrative Structure Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 18 February 2017

Narrative Structure

The simple folksy dialogue between the two younger siblings hazel and George is very effective in downplaying their intelligence. With lines such as “that was doozy” or when George explains the sound he heard by saying “ sounded like somebody hitting a milk bottle with a ball peen hammer” George being so above average in intelligence has a mental handicap radio in his ear that beeps every 20 seconds in order to prevent him from taking unfair advantage of his thoughts. These conversations are simple and believable despite the absurd 20 second beeping George must experience, Vonnegut does not have to say this is absurd as it is interpreted by readers through dialogue.

The story follows diachronic order, Harrison is taken away from his family, then escapes jail and declares himself emperor, is shot down by Diana Moon Glampers and the story ends with the Bergerons watching this all on TV yet displaying not emotions to their death of their own son with the exception of Hazel’s tears although she herself has no idea why she is crying. Synchronic order is not common as the story aims to focus Narrative Structure

See more: what is narrative writing

The simple folksy dialogue between the two younger siblings hazel and George is very effective in downplaying their intelligence. With lines such as “that was doozy” or when George explains the sound he heard by saying “ sounded like somebody hitting a milk bottle with a ball peen hammer” George being so above average in intelligence has a mental handicap radio in his ear that beeps every 20 seconds in order to prevent him from taking unfair advantage of his thoughts. These conversations are simple and believable despite the absurd 20 second beeping George must experience, Vonnegut does not have to say this is absurd as it is interpreted by readers through dialogue.

The story follows diachronic order, Harrison is taken away from his family, then escapes jail and declares himself emperor, is shot down by Diana Moon Glampers and the story ends with the Bergerons watching this all on TV yet displaying not emotions to their death of their own son with the exception of Hazel’s tears although she herself has no idea why she is crying. Synchronic order is not common as the story aims to focus Kurt Vonnegut’s short story “Harrison Bergeron” both mimics and satirizes the way Americans came to see the enemy – socialism/communism and, specifically the Soviet Union during the cold war, which peaked at its height of distrust and fear in the late 1950-60’s during which this story was written.

It explores the theory of “tall poppy syndrome”, when people of brilliance or exceptional ability are brought down, criticized or cut due to the idea humans are unable to accept someone else being placed on a higher pedestal. As the story’s main concept is enforcing equality among all human beings by giving those with better traits handicaps in order to create a balanced level of intelligence and beauty among all.

The short story draws upon a controversial speech made by Newton Minow titled “The Vast Wasteland” in it he explained that instead of challenging people to think, television programming was making it easier for people to avoid serious thought. Within the story of Harrison Bergeron television is used as a time filler, a method of preventing average people from thinking, similar to Minow’s description.

Kurt Vonnegut’s short story “Harrison Bergeron” both mimics and satirizes the way Americans came to see the enemy – socialism/communism and, specifically the Soviet Union during the cold war, which peaked at its height of distrust and fear in the late 1950-60’s during which this story was written. It explores the theory of “tall poppy syndrome”, when people of brilliance or exceptional ability are brought down, criticized or cut due to the idea humans are unable to accept someone else being placed on a higher pedestal.

As the story’s main concept is enforcing equality among all human beings by giving those with better traits handicaps in order to create a balanced level of intelligence and beauty among all. The short story draws upon a controversial speech made by Newton Minow titled “The Vast Wasteland” in it he explained that instead of challenging people to think, television programming was making it easier for people to avoid serious thought. Within the story of Harrison Bergeron television is used as a time filler, a method of preventing average people from thinking, similar to Minow’s description.

Due to the amount of speech within the narrative analepsis is rarely used, however prolepsis is seen at the beginning of the story in the introduction where it reads “ THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal” and through the line “some things about the living still weren’t quite right though”/ As both these lines have significant meaning to the conflict that is about to arise. Both of these being “proleptic” details. The story follows a diagetic sequence and has lineal progression. The narrator begins the story with informing readers that the human race has come to live in equality yet then reveals how this equality leads to the conflict created by Harrison Bergeron and so on leads to his escape and murder one event following the other.

Due to the amount of speech within the narrative analepsis is rarely used, however prolepsis is seen at the beginning of the story in the introduction where it reads “ THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal” and through the line “some things about the living still weren’t quite right though”/ As both these lines have significant meaning to the conflict that is about to arise. Both of these being “proleptic” details. The story follows a diagetic sequence and has lineal progression.

The narrator begins the story with informing readers that the human race has come to live in equality yet then reveals how this equality leads to the conflict created by Harrison Bergeron and so on leads to his escape and murder one event following the other. on the achievement of equality among all in the current year 2081 and not reflect on the past where social order and class were present. Aspects that had previously “ruined” society.

We are introduced to the primary narrative through the line “ THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal”. Providing readers with the concept that equality has been achieved, the secondary narrative embedded within the story would be the tale of Harrison Bergeron, who strives to change the perspective that all humans must live accordingly by escaping jail and declaring that he is to be emperor, placing himself upon a pedestal above others. The narrative is single ended as we finish on a conversation between Hazel and George rather than re-visiting the beginning of the narrative and further explaining how equality had come to be achieved.

on the achievement of equality among all in the current year 2081 and not reflect on the past where social order and class were present. Aspects that had previously “ruined” society.

We are introduced to the primary narrative through the line “ THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal”. Providing readers with the concept that equality has been achieved, the secondary narrative embedded within the story would be the tale of Harrison Bergeron, who strives to change the perspective that all humans must live accordingly by escaping jail and declaring that he is to be emperor, placing himself upon a pedestal above others. The narrative is single ended as we finish on a conversation between Hazel and George rather than re-visiting the beginning of the narrative and further explaining how equality had come to be achieved.

* Harrison Bergeron: possess intelligence so immense that at the beginning of the story the Handicapper General has him arrested on suspicion of “plotting to overthrow the government”. Harrison’s actions suggest an ironic theme: corruptive power. Following his escape Harrison repeats government errors by establishing himself as emperor. Had his death not occurred these acts of rebellion would send society back to the “dark ages” of social and individual competition.

* George Bergeron: Harrisons father bears a number of handicaps that suppress his above average intelligence. He refuses to remove any of them abiding by the law as he believes any attempt to alter life as it is will cause civilization to regress back to times of war and argument due to difference between human beings.

* Hazel Bergeron- Harrisons mother does not wear any handicaps, as she possesses “normal” intelligence, appearance and strength. In this story however “normal” means one is incompetent or unable to fathom anything beyond that which is superficial. Her dialogue with her husband makes reference towards the comedic team of George Burns and Gracie Allen a comedy show from which Vonnegut was said to have learnt all his social and political idealisms from.

* Diana Moon Glampers- The United States handicapper kills Harrison Bergeron by shotgun as he threatens to disrupt civilization. She ruthlessly maintains law and order without due process.

A lot of the story takes place in what is unsaid and can be read between the lines and subtle dialogues of the main characters. When Hazel Bergeron said, “I think I’d make a good Handicapper General ,” her husband replied, “Good as anybody else.” The reader will surmise that meant it quite literally because in the story everyone is equal, so the idea of being better than anyone else, of competition, was nonexistent. This is an example of Explict characterization.

* Harrison Bergeron: possess intelligence so immense that at the beginning of the story the Handicapper General has him arrested on suspicion of “plotting to overthrow the government”. Harrison’s actions suggest an ironic theme: corruptive power. Following his escape Harrison repeats government errors by establishing himself as emperor. Had his death not occurred these acts of rebellion would send society back to the “dark ages” of social and individual competition.

* George Bergeron: Harrisons father bears a number of handicaps that suppress his above average intelligence. He refuses to remove any of them abiding by the law as he believes any attempt to alter life as it is will cause civilization to regress back to times of war and argument due to difference between human beings.

* Hazel Bergeron- Harrisons mother does not wear any handicaps, as she possesses “normal” intelligence, appearance and strength. In this story however “normal” means one is incompetent or unable to fathom anything beyond that which is superficial. Her dialogue with her husband makes reference towards the comedic team of George Burns and Gracie Allen a comedy show from which Vonnegut was said to have learnt all his social and political idealisms from.

* Diana Moon Glampers- The United States handicapper kills Harrison Bergeron by shotgun as he threatens to disrupt civilization. She ruthlessly maintains law and order without due process.

A lot of the story takes place in what is unsaid and can be read between the lines and subtle dialogues of the main characters. When Hazel Bergeron said, “I think I’d make a good Handicapper General ,” her husband replied, “Good as anybody else.” The reader will surmise that meant it quite literally because in the story everyone is equal, so the idea of being better than anyone else, of competition, was nonexistent. This is an example of Explict characterization.

Characterization
Characterization

Story is told in third-person limited point of view, the narrator is not a character within the story but is privy to the thoughts of one character. He is a “covert” narrator, un-identified yet still able to narrate the thoughts and feelings of characters. The narrator does not draw conclusion, make decisions or make judgments about the events. The objectivity of the narrator suggests a distancing from the hostile world of the story.

The narration is heterodiegtic, an omniscient narrator meaning he has a detailed overview of what is happening in the story at the present time as well as an insight into the thoughts and feelings of other characters. Internal and External focalization are both present throughout the narrative. Internal focalization is seen through George: “ he tried to think a little about the ballerinas. They weren’t really any better than anyone else would have been anyway”. External focalization is seen through the television announcer: “and she had to apologize for her voice at once, which was a very unfair voice for a women to use. Her voice was a warm luminous timeless melody”.

This short story is both mimetic and diegetic, an example of diegesis would be “ TH YEARS WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal”. As it summarizes the events leading to the major concept of equality. An example of mimesis would be “nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else.

The narrator is reliable third person, omniscient.

Story is told in third-person limited point of view, the narrator is not a character within the story but is privy to the thoughts of one character. He is a “covert” narrator, un-identified yet still able to narrate the thoughts and feelings of characters. The narrator does not draw conclusion, make decisions or make judgments about the events. The objectivity of the narrator suggests a distancing from the hostile world of the story.

The narration is heterodiegtic, an omniscient narrator meaning he has a detailed overview of what is happening in the story at the present time as well as an insight into the thoughts and feelings of other characters. Internal and External focalization are both present throughout the narrative. Internal focalization is seen through George: “ he tried to think a little about the ballerinas. They weren’t really any better than anyone else would have been anyway”. External focalization is seen through the television announcer: “and she had to apologize for her voice at once, which was a very unfair voice for a women to use. Her voice was a warm luminous timeless melody”.

This short story is both mimetic and diegetic, an example of diegesis would be “ TH YEARS WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal”. As it summarizes the events leading to the major concept of equality. An example of mimesis would be “nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else.

Strength, talent, brains and beauty to a common standard. It seems today everyone wishes to be like someone else, everyone wants to be accepted and people will go to extremities to do this. One common factor is working out. Gyms are continually advertised everywhere, owning your own gym equipment is affordable and physical education is a required subject throughout school. We are attracted to strength because it is needed to survive. Yet it is not because we need strength that we are attracted to it vanity plays a large part.

TV shows such as “Biggest Loser” and “Survivour” reward those who help you reach your standard of beauty , and although we do not place handicaps on those who are stronger we have created the desire for everyone to beequal in the area. It might not be the same as weighting everybody down to be equally “bad,” but enhancing everybody to make them equally “good” is still removing diversity; it is still conformity, only, perhaps, in a more pleasing way. Strength, talent, brains and beauty to a common standard.

It seems today everyone wishes to be like someone else, everyone wants to be accepted and people will go to extremities to do this. One common factor is working out. Gyms are continually advertised everywhere, owning your own gym equipment is affordable and physical education is a required subject throughout school. We are attracted to strength because it is needed to survive. Yet it is not because we need strength that we are attracted to it vanity plays a large part.

TV shows such as “Biggest Loser” and “Survivour” reward those who help you reach your standard of beauty , and although we do not place handicaps on those who are stronger we have created the desire for everyone to beequal in the area. It might not be the same as weighting everybody down to be equally “bad,” but enhancing everybody to make them equally “good” is still removing diversity; it is still conformity, only, perhaps, in a more pleasing way.

Values and Morals

The values and morals expressed in Harrison Bergeron are those that surround us daily. For example some schools play down the dumbest in order to pass the most, and in the process neglect the brightest, denying them the full advantages of their education and compromising their future.

Society nowadays is conforming our strength

Values and Morals

The values and morals expressed in Harrison Bergeron are those that surround us daily. For example some schools play down the dumbest in order to pass the most, and in the process neglect the brightest, denying them the full advantages of their education and compromising their future.

Society nowadays is conforming our strength

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