Paradoxical Postmodernism in Kurt Vonnegut’s "Harrison Bergeron"

  • Hayder M.Saadan M.Ridha Al-hasani, Thulfiqar Abdulameer Sulaiman Alhmdni


Written in 1961, "Harrison Bergeron" which is a predictive glimpse upon a future in which technology has absurdly progressed too far without human oversight. In this world, through the use of physical and mental handicaps people have become equal, and this equality is mandatory. This dissertation aims to analyze the absurdist short story of Kurt Vonnegut  “Harrison Bergeron.” According to “A Cyborg Manifesto” a chapter in Donna Horaway’s Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature, human beings are all chimeras, fake and theorized amalgamation of machine and organism, in other words, cyborgs.  In this story the fine line between human and machine is so much elucidated in a way that characters’ lives and consciousness mesh ontologically with different types of nonhuman entities. In our postmodern world, reality and meaning have given their place to symbols and signs, and we experience a simulation of reality; these are what Jean Baudrillard calls “Simulacra.” In our technological world signifiers reign supreme and any definite concept or signified is lost. The media, which has multiplied the signs in our world, is used to promulgate the unity, the equality or sameness of concepts with the use of brutality in this dystopian society. This study intends to show how art is imaginatively rebellious which is used to hamper socialism and the totalitarian government which brutally dictates absurd equality.