Friday, August 22, 2008

"It became their obvious intention to kiss the ceiling."

This post is entirely due to the awesome Mighty Girl, long may she blog.

As I was finishing my course outline (hah, revised it four times already and it's been less than a month of class), I decided to mosey on over to and see if there were any new posts. There were and the one that motivated this post is "Eight books that changed things for me." While I'm sure many (most of us) have more than eight books. Or maybe you even have less. But there has to be at least one book that made you change. And for me, one of those defining literary moments was Kurt Vonnegut's story "Harrison Bergeron."

If I am not mistaken, I was in second grade when I read this short story for the first time. I was a nerd and I possessed the habit of reading all my fall semester books during the summer, before classes started. And that's when I met Harrison.

Not only did I romanticize Harrison (I thought, this is what a boy needs to be!), but I was shocked when I realized that...even though it is not as obvious as the handicaps imposed upon the talented in Vonnegut's story, society did and does oppress you. It wants you to be like everybody else. It glorifies mediocrity and it will not tolerate that you, yes you! will attempt to be something more. For a second grader, that was a hardcore slap in the face delivered by reality, specially when the reader finds out what society, in the guise of the Handicapper General, does to Bergeron.

So here it goes. To you, Bergeron. To you, Vonnegut.

And you, dear reader, I'd like you to take a gander at Mr. Bergeron himself. You may think that the story reads simplistic nowadays, but I tell you. It changed my world. And I love it just as much as I did then.

Click here for "Harrison Bergeron."

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