Raymond Bradbury seems to make the strongest and most logical argument for a future dystopian society. His story The Veldt brings out a somehow clear picture of a dystopian community. First, there is the humming of a stove preparing supper for four. Then there is the aspect of a Happy life Home that is soundproofed. The house estimated cost was thirty thousand dollars. It could feed, cloth, and rock them to sleep. The house could sing and be nice to the family. A sensitized switch had been installed which could detect their approach at a distance of about ten feet away (Eller et al., 20). The lights would go on and off softly and automatically as the family left. Their house would change to be on the African continent where the scene was full of dangerous wild animals. Miracles, especially for efficiency, were sold at a low price. It was recommended that each home was supposed to own a miracle of efficiency.
Their house was built using the crystal on the walls. The scene of the lions eating as they look at George and the smell of blood was dreadful. The situation was quite unusual because the things that a person thought more about were more likely to happen automatically. The children were never punished and turned out to be very disobedient. They could go in and out of their home whenever they wanted, and their parents would do nothing about it (Bain et al., 523). The room for the children was designed in such a way that it served them better than their parents would do. The structures like the nursery and the children’s’ room were alive and would die. The house then seemed to be full of mechanical dead bodies.
On the other hand, Vonnegut gives describes 2081, a year in which people were equal in all dimensions. The equality was as a result of constitutional amendments that had been implemented. George had a mental handicap radio which was placed in his ear. His wife, Hazel, was of average intelligence and could only think in bits. As the two were watching the television, Hazel, had tears dropping down her cheeks but she couldn’t recall the reason for her cry. Somehow, she was not even aware that she was crying (Eller et al., 25). The mental handicap radio in George’s ear was connected to a government transmitter which produced sharp sounds in bits of about twenty seconds. The ballerina dancers on television were also handicapped. George winced at the same time with the two handicapped dancers on television. Hazel, his wife, wished that she was the Handicapper General so that she could play chimes on Sundays to honor the religion. People were no longer competing against each other as they were equals and competition was never allowed anymore. The announcer on television was unable to speak clearly and instead handed over the announcement to the ballerina to read the bulletin.
Harrison, the fourteen-year-old son of George and Hazel, was announced in the bulletin to have escaped from prison. The bulletin stated that he was extremely dangerous and his picture was aired on television. He was a genius and an athlete and had been suspected of planning to overthrow the government. He had heavier handicaps than everybody else. Harrison appeared on the screen after a short while. All the people in the studio at that particular moment went on their knees dreading death. They thought that he would just kill them right there, but instead, he began shouting that he was the emperor (Vonnegut, 927). He ordered everyone to immediately obey his orders. He then removed his handicaps and ordered any lady who was ready to be his wife to show herself. One of the ballerinas’ offered herself, and he decided to play the music in the studio for a dance. The music continued to play until it was interrupted by Diana Moon Glampers who was the Handicapper General. She shot twice at Harrison and the ballerina and ordered every musician to put their handicaps back. Hazel was still crying at that moment, but she didn’t recall the cause of her crying. She could remember the incidents she had just seen on the TV.
The characters in the two narratives appear to change abruptly from one scene to the next. In the Veldt, at one point the George and Lydia are in a conversation then David McClean shows up. The children also get in and out of the house at whatever time they please. On the other hand, in the story of Harrison Bergeron, Harrison abruptly runs away from prison. The announcement of his escape is made on the television. As soon as the ballerina is through with the bulleting, he abruptly gets into the studio. Everyone in the studio immediately gets on their knees for fear of being murdered (Eller et al., 30). Contrary to their expectations, Harrison decides to his empress. He orders for music and they begin to dance. The musicians too join in the dance. The Handicapper General abruptly gets into the studio with a gun in her hand. She shoots Harrison and his Empress. They die even before hitting the floor.
Vonnegut applies theme conflict by first describing how both families in the two narratives were facing hard times due to the changes that had taken place. Some of the changes were technological while others were political (Eller et al., 33). In the Veldt narrative, the technological advancement seemed to be the source of all the trouble in George’s family. The house that would perform almost all the duties of the parents was seemingly replacing them before their children. In the Harrison Bergeron narrative, the government seemed to be the major source of conflicts through various constitutional amendments that had been made.
Works Cited
Bain, Paul G., et al. “Collective futures: How projections about the future of society are related to actions and attitudes supporting social change.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 39.4 (2013): 523-539.
Eller, Jonathan R., and William F. Touponce. Ray Bradbury: the life of fiction. Kent State University Press, 2004.
Vonnegut Jr, Kurt. “Harrison Bergeron.” Ark. L. Rev. 44 (1991): 927.