Thursday, April 5, 2018
English 9 Honors Harrison Bergeron Notes 04/05/18 • Today’s Assignment: o Check the notes below and flesh out your notes. o Mark the story to easily reference while writing. o Pre-write the essay (give yourself 60 minutes to see what you can and cannot write). o Bring the thesis statement and topic sentences outline to class tomorrow. • Advice: The irony in the story can be made into its own paragraph, or blended into the other paragraphs themselves. • Use plot sub devices by name (Ex. Protagonist, internal conflict question, denouement, etc.). • Remember the central theme of the story: Do not confuse equal ability with equal opportunity. • Important: Hazel has “perfectly average intelligence” and is the standard that all others are held to, and is an example of dramatic irony as Vonnegut does not really consider Hazel’s intelligence as a perfect average. • Vonnegut purposefully demonstrates Hazel’s mental incapacity through her grammatically incorrect dialogue. • Harrison does not find the compassion in himself to try to be a good leader to the musicians and other people in the society, and instead starts “commanding”, “slamming”, and “snatching” people. • Character: The characters bring others down, but also bring themselves down. • Harrison embodies the Homeric Pattern of arête, hubris, até, nemesis. Harrison loses his compassion towards others when he tries to become all that he can become. • Harrison is shot down by the society that needs him to improve, but also brings himself down by getting lost in his own individuality and separation from society. • What changes? Harrison Dies. • What makes it change? Harrison lets himself be consumed by his own hubris and transcends the bound of society and reality. “Watch me become what I can become” used for both this and arête in Homeric pattern, just explained differently. • In what way does it change? Diana shoots down Harrison for surpassing society and reality. • Why does the author have it change this way? Vonnegut has Harrison die by being shot down by society to show that individuals should try to surpass the bounds set for them, but that society will react with fear and ironically try to prevent individuals from improving the world. • Hazel and Diana look alike, and the two “store a strong resemblance” to each other. • Harrison being the son of Hazel is ironic because of Hazel’s lack of intelligence. • Hazel’s strong resemblance to Diana shows that Hazel would have been the one to kill Harrison. • Parents act as threshold guardians o Harrison is fourteen because he lacks a full understanding of just what boundaries he cannot break. o • Plot: o Society destroys the very people that they need to improve and flourish. o Society demonstrates crab-bucket mentality by bringing others down to the lowest common denominator. o The Story is set in the U.S., the land of the free, but society restricts the freedom of others. o The story’s setting in April of 2081, as it is the possible future of the U.S. if we allow the same mentality as the society’s story to bring down the individual. • April acts as a symbol of rebirth, of growth and a new beginning, and is called the cruelest month. o The protagonist is Harrison Bergeron o The external conflict antagonist is Diana, who tries to hold Harrison back due to the confusion of society towards the difference between equal ability and equal opportunity. o The exposition tells that, despite the existence of 213 amendments, “Things still weren’t quite right”. • Vonnegut gives this exposition to show that competition is an integral part of human nature that cannot be legislated out with any amount of legislation. o We are told by the narrator that Hazel’s perfectly average intelligence in which she can only think in twenty-second bursts. • Significant due to the use of “perfectly” as a form of dramatic irony. o Harrison is taken “away”, making it hard for him to become all that he can become. o Both Hazel and George want to conform. o Harrison is able to escape from capture, and we see that he is too full of himself to have any compassion for the people in the TV studio that he escapes to. o There is an absence of falling action, as the ending of the climax jumps straight into the denouement. o Harrison fails the external conflict resolution, and he and his partner are “dead before they hit the floor”. o The denouement’s depiction of how Hazel and George forget their own son’s death highlights the feeling of fear, anger, sadness, and confusion that we feel, further cementing the theme and making us question if the story’s society is one we truly want. o The tube burns out, and Hazel cries just as she did in the beginning of the story, hinting that Harrison’s fate may not have been the only example of an individual trying to break away from society and failing. o • Symbolism: o George’s going to get beer during Harrison’s outbreak symbolizes the concept of “ignorance is bliss” o Harrison’s age is symbolic of the inexperience and impulsiveness of a teenager wanting to break free and express their individuality, but remaining under the influence of the teenager’s parents. o The U.S.A. is symbolic o The burning-out of the TV symbolizes a potential finality of Harrison’s death, society’s control over us, and/or the forgetting of the events observed on the TV. o The handicaps are symbolic of society’s restrictions on the individual and the overall crab-bucket mentality held by society. o April is symbolic of the time when people compete and strive for excellence, therefore being the cruelest month of the year since everybody wants to be better than all the others around them. o TV symbolic of mind controlling and dumbing people down. o • Conclusions: o Explain the topics of herd mentality and crab-bucket mentality. o Society ironically voted on these 213 amendments, restricting us for the perceived benefit of everyone. We are our own worst enemy. o Everyone should have the equal opportunity to become what he or she can be as individuals. o Vonnegut also warns the gifted individuals of the dangers of having excessive pride and lacking compassion for those below them. o Compare to other stories you have previously read and expand to ideas that you have seen yourself in order to demonstrate big-picture thinking. o An example is that both Icarus and Harrison want to surpass the bounds set for them by the gods and society, but go too far out of pride. o Conformity and uniformity are truly the same thing, one of the biggest dangers of all. o You can write critically, and question the validity of Vonnegut’s messages about conformity. o We set our own bounds of what we cannot do. What bounds should or should not be broken?
Wednesday, April 4, 2018
Honors 9 English Harrison Bergeron Notes 04/04/18 • Today’s assignment: o Check the notes below and flesh out your own notes. o Re-read Harrison Bergeron to know the material well. o Prewrite the character analysis, plot, and conclusion paragraphs, as well as an irony paragraph. • The people in society are equally average how? o People can’t be different from each other in any way that has to do with ability. That’s because this society confuses equal ability with equal opportunity! • Plot (Must include in your essays): o Harrison is struggling to become what he can become = ext conflict o The story is set in the U.S.A. in April 2081. • Being in the U.S.A. is ironic because this country is supposed to be the land of the free. • April is a time of change and rebirth, but… o Society ironically brings down the individuals it needs in order to progress The internal conflict question for Harrison Bergeron is whether or not he can avoid having excessive pride. o The internal conflict resolution: Page 123 “… But Harrison snatched (diction!) two musicians from the chairs…” shows how Harrison is consumed by his own hubris. • The genre of the story is a dystopian satire. o Vonnegut targets society’s confusion of equality in ability with equality in opportunity o Dystopia is the opposite of a utopia (perfect society), created by trying to create a perfect society, which inevitably collapses into a hellish society. • Utopia is a Greek word that literally means nowhere, and does not truly exist. o A dystopian satire is making fun of or ridiculing some aspect of society and/or human behavior with the intent to improve. • What aspect of society is Vonnegut making fun of in Harrison Bergeron? Is Vonnegut ridiculing or making fun of that aspect? • Vonnegut both makes fun and ridicules • An integral tool of satire is irony, when the opposite of what is expected occurs. • Situational: When something we do not expect to happen occurs. • Verbal: when someone means the opposite of what they say. • Dramatic (in prose): When a character’s actions or beliefs are the opposite of the author’s intent. • Understatement and overstatement: • The existence of 213 amendments is an overstatement, highlighting that society has tried to create a perfect society, but are not successful. • Harrison being seven feet tall. • Society cannot make everyone equal except in inability. • Irony: o For the student with arête, you can integrate the story’s use of irony in the various paragraphs of your essay to make it more powerful. o Page 121: “… You wouldn’t like that, would you?” is an example of dramatic irony. o Hazel is perfect in the story’s society, having a perfectly average intelligence, while being the least intelligent person in society. • Symbolism: o The existence of 213 amendments to the constitution is a symbol of… o Harrison: symbolizes the individual o Diana: symbolizes society o The month of April is symbolic of life, of nature. We cannot get rid of human nature, which is to compete with others. o Harrison’s age • Point of view: o The point of view is third person omniscient. Why? • The point of view must be omniscient so that the reader can know the given information in the story is reliable. • Diction: o The two dancers “kiss” the ceiling, emulating the feeling of elation elicited from the dancer’s movements. • Society is composed of individuals, and needs individuals to self-surpass. • Theme: Do not confuse equal ability with equal opportunity, or we will be forced to restrict ourselves to the lowest common denominator. • Character analysis: o What changes? • Harrison dies by being shot by Diana. o In what way does it change? • George is the foil, willingly conforms to society’s handicaps, while Harrison refuses to let himself conform.
Tuesday, April 3, 2018
Honors 9 English Harrison Bergeron Notes 04/03/18 • Today’s assignment: Go over the notes below, re-read Harrison Bergeron, and pre-write the character analysis. • How we felt, a review: o Feel confused, upset, disturbed, frustrated, and angry at the society’s handicapping of society and the futility of Harrison’s revolt. o Sad that Harrison’s death was forgotten, the inability for even his parents to remember his death. • The plot and other literary devices: o Harrison is the protagonist, having the external conflict question of freedom from his handicaps and spreading the message of freedom. o Page 123: “Now watch me become what I can become” • Harrison must overcome Diana in order to fulfill his goal. o Diana external antagonist threatens the studio show an unequal power balance to the people watching and the television is cut to prevent the perception of inequality in viewers. Symbolism: o Diana symbolizes society’s urge to enforce and create an average, equal world o Harrison symbolizes the individual struggling against the societal norms imposed by everyone else. o Society is afraid of change, because they do not know what is going to happen when change begins. We hold a fear of the unknown. • Society prefers the safety of the known even at the cost of freedom, rather than the uncertainty of the unknown. • George opts for the belief that ignorance is bliss, demonstrated by “ignore sad things” on page 124. George wants to be happy rather than free of thought. o Unique individuals may surpass society and instigate the changes that society fears. o Diana wields a double-barrel 10-gauge shotgun because Vonnegut wants to demonstrate how scared society is of the individual, and how willing we are to destroy the challenging of the normal way of life. o Society does not want one person to be better than the other, creating a crab bucket mentality. o Harrison Bergeron is a Homeric hero much like Icarus • Arête: “What I can become” • Hubris: “I am the Emperor” • Ate: “Not only the laws of the land were abandoned, but the law of gravity…” “They were like deer on the moon” breaking the bounds made by society. • Nemesis: “They were dead before they hit the floor” o George symbolizes herd mentality because he willingly prevents himself from being an individual. George believes that his handicap is part of him, and has accepted his own handicaps. o We are our own worst enemies (like Oedipus, eh?), as society is naught but a collection of individuals. o Humans are herd animals and social beings, wanting to be liked. We conform to what we think others want and what others are in order to be liked by society. “It’s just a part of me.” o Society creates a crab bucket mentality and pulls down the individual trying to surpass society’s bounds out of jealousy and fear of the unknown.
Monday, April 2, 2018
Harrison Bergeron Notes 04/02/18 • How did the story make us feel? o Gives a new appreciation for our society because of the contrast made by the handicaps and the forced equality of the dystopian society in the story. o The inability to do anything special and being punished and dragged down by society for trying to improve made us feel a sense of unfairness. o A sense of pointlessness and hopelessness when no one person can go farther than another. o Hopeless feeling inspired by the execution of Harrison for expressing his desire to be something more o Angry and indignant at the inability of the individual to strive for anything when being better than others is punished by execution. o Perplexed at the unequal equality forced by the government. o Unsettled by the society’s trapping of all people and restriction of advancement in society We feel sad and disturbed because Harrison’s parents have forgotten their own son, and the witnessing of the execution. No one can learn or remember Harrison or his purpose. • Setting: April, 2081 in the United States of America o Set in spring because of the symbolic meaning of spring being a time of new creation. • Everyone had perfectly average intelligence, which meant they could only think about things in short bursts, of around every 20 seconds. o The handicaps help maintain order of society. o Minds can’t maintain a train of thought. o Hazel forgets the events on television naturally. • Harrison Bergeron wants to be an individual and to be free from the handicaps that society forces him into. Bergeron must overcome the government in order to successfully resolve the external conflict resolution. o “… They were dead before they hit the floor” is the unsuccessful external conflict resolution. Everything afterwards is the denouement.