Seniors – Thursday classwork homework

Great speeches today! If you didn’t read your speech today then we’ll hear you tomorrow.

Today in class we read the short story “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. Here’s the text: Harrison Bergeron

Now, answer these two questions:
1) How does this short story connect thematically to Animal Farm?
2) The term “Orwellian” (as in based on George Orwell’s ideas) get thrown around modern day society a lot. Based on the themes of Animal Farm and the very Orwellian “Harrison Bergeron”, come up with your own definition of what “Orwellian” means.
(You probably got all this done in class.)

Post your answers in the comments section below, or write them up and give them to me in class tomorrow.

Also for tomorrow make sure you read chapter 6.

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5 thoughts on “Seniors – Thursday classwork homework

  1. The short story Harrison Bergeron connects with Animal Farm through the deeper idea of equality and having a society that is equal. In animal farm we see that the animals are sick of the fact that they are doing more work than the people in control of them, this makes them want to rebel and rise above humans. Harrison Bergeron is a dystopia where everyone is equal. If someone was smart, they would be dumb down to normal people’s intelligence. If they were strong they would carry heavy weights around, and if they were beautiful they would wear an ugly mask. However, in Harrison Bergeron two people decide to rise above the system who were Harrison and a ballerina dancer. So these two idea are tied together through a group of people trying to rise above, become rebellious.
    Using the common themes between Animal Farm and Harrison Bergeron I would guess that Orwellian is a term used for viewing society in a different point of view. By that I mean creating stories or things like dystopias that make us reflect back onto our own society. So when you say “… and the very Orwellian ‘“Harrison Bergeron”’ I infer that it is Orwellian because after reading about this whole different world, I decided that it is good thing that everyone is not equal. Or at least there is a better way of doing so than how they did it in Harrison Bergeron.

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    • Vinh, I like the idea that Orwellian means “dystopias that make us reflect back on our own society” as Orwell’s work certainly do. Did you see anything about how language is being used to manipulate people in both stories?

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  2. “Harrison Bergeron” describes a dystopian future of the United States in 2081 that shows us what it would be like if equality has to be enforced in order to create a better society. This story shows what would happen if the United States had added amendments to the Constitution to enforce that everyone must be equal by taking away every advantage that people are born with, in order to make sure that no one can overcome someone else because of their talents. We see similar aspects with “Animal Farm” because both societies may have eliminated inequalities based on natural born talents, but there is also the inequality of power, since Napoleon rules Animal Farm with an iron fist and the Handicapper General also enforces the laws to make sure no one is better. These two stories have someone enforcing the rules of society, which make them more powerful than anyone else, because if equality treats everyone the same, than why should there be a revolt?
    “Orwellian” is a term that refers to how language can be manipulated to form an idea into someone’s thoughts that would have a different impact than what the word really means. The new language that it creates is used as propaganda to manufacture ways to make people think that whatever they are doing seem either right or wrong.

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    • Nice comment: “These two stories have someone enforcing the rules of society, which make them more powerful than anyone else, because if equality treats everyone the same, than why should there be a revolt?” There’s some inherent hypocrisy here, huh? Great connection of “Orwellian” to the use of language to manipulate!

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  3. 1) Both stories connect thematically through their use of subordination to achieve equality. In Animal Farm, the animals are lower ranked than humans. In order to balance the playing field they desire to lead a rebellion to subordinate the humans and secede from their sovereignty. In Harrison Bergeron, individuals with augmented characteristics like intelligence, physicality, and beauty are deliberately hindered from expressing that characteristic. This takes many forms. For example, one who is very strong will be forced to carry weights. In this society, those with these augmented characteristics are subordinated to achieve equality with those who are less beautiful, strong, or intelligent.
    2) I would define Orwellian as the manifestation of an eventuality of a society. Harrison Bergeron describes the future of the U.S. This future was eventual by the use of amendments, and was Orwellian because it described what will eventually happen in the future if we attempt to continuously maintain equality. This definition even extrapolates to an extent to Macbeth where the Witches provide a pseudo-Orwellian future. Orwellianism accesses a society, and its impending future, based on its apparent present.

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