Questions about “Harrison Bergeron”:
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- Obviously, Vonnegut’s story isn’t meant to be realistic. He uses hyperbole (a kind of literary exaggeration) to make a point about the absurdity of the notion that everyone in a society can be equal in every way. Do you believe that the sort of equality that Vonnegut describes is what most people have in mind when they demand equal treatment under the law?
- If it were even possible, would absolute equality be desirable? Before you answer, consider a world without the following people: Albert Einstein, Michael Jordan, Leonardo Da Vinci, Gwyneth Paltrow, Eudora Welty, and Aretha Franklin. Would such a world be utopian or dystopian?
Questions about “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”:
- Who are the heroic/most admirable people in “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”? Why are they heroic? Is their heroism ambiguous (in other words, are they really heroic)?
- (This question is paraphrased from Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov.) If you were the ultimate ruler of the world and could guarantee the everlasting peace and happiness of all your subjects, but in order to do so would have to allow one innocent person to live in degradation and misery, would you be willing to do so?
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Click on this link to reach an online version of the story.