The story 2081 showcases a world in which everyone is perfectly equal, right down to their athletic abilities and intelligence. Everyone is required by law to wear handicaps in order to have the same amount of abilities as everyone around them. After both reading the story and viewing the film, I believe that the most effective way to tell the narrative ‘Harrison Bergeron’ is in the film format. Personally, I learn better by seeing something play out in front of me rather than reading about it, so films are generally my preferred learning material. However, there are many other contributing factors that lead to the conclusion that the film is the more effective medium for telling this story.
First of all, in the film, George has flashbacks to the day when Harrison was taken away. In the book, the only mention of Harrison before he shows up on the television is when the narrator sets the scene at the start of the story. After explaining how this new form of society runs, it is mentioned that “some things about living still weren’t quite right, [… such as when] the H-G men took George and Hazel Bergeron’s fourteen year old son, Harrison, away.” (1) The film portrays George as a more complex character, who remembers his son and even misses him. This adds to the overall understanding of the story, as well as making the viewer feel more compassion towards George, Hazel, and Harrison.
Secondly, in the book, Harrison is referred to as a fourteen year old. However, he is also described as “a genius and an athlete”, “seven feet tall”, and the news bulletin states that “nobody had ever born heavier handicaps.” (3) It is said that “Harrison carried three hundred pounds [in handicaps].” (3). A fourteen year old with these abilities isn’t very realistic. In the film, Harrison is presented as an older man, and it is stated that time passed between when he was taken form his home to when he was killed. This is much more realistic, as a twenty-something with those proportions would be much more accurate.
Finally, the music that is played throughout the film is extremely helpful for setting the scenes. During the attack when Harrison and the ballerina are killed onstage, classical music is playing while steadily becoming faster and faster. This builds up suspension to the climax, the moment when the two are killed. Another example is when George has flashbacks of Harrison being taken away. The music playing during those scenes is similar to the music that plays during the attack, but it is louder and keeps a steady bet instead of speeding up. This insinuates that George feels the same type of distress when his son is killed as when he is taken away, which shows how much George cares for Harrison.
In conclusion, I believe that the film 2081 gives a better presentation overall of the story, and is a lot clearer for the reader than the book.
Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn’t be done. -Amelia Earhart
Amelia Earhart is an extremely influential and inspiring person. She tackled many obstacles in her life, and she is looked up to by many. I am drawn to her because we share a lot of the same strengths and weaknesses as gifted learners, and our wants and fears are also similar. For example, we are both independent, stubborn, ambitious and determined. I aspire to emulate her levels of resilience and bravery. We are also similar in terms of upbringing. She had a good home life, and her parents were always right beside her to support her decisions. Although my passions are not the same as Amelia’s, I am inspired by the choices she made in her life and the impact she has left on the world. Amelia exemplifies my own goals as a TALONS learner. She is extremely ambitious, creative and determined. She’s known what she’s wanted from a young age, and she is prepared to do anything to achieve that goal while also maintaining a strong leadership position and being a good role model. There are some barriers between Amelia and I, such as the where and when she grew up, and the standards and norms at the time. However, these impediments are not so big that there would be no way for me to put myself in her shoes. Amelia has contributed greatly to both aviation and women’s rights movements. She was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic and the USA, which was a huge accomplishment. She also created a clothing line for women that sold clothes deemed as ‘men’s wear’ at the time, such as pants and baggy shirts. She will be remembered in hundreds of years because of all of the records she set, but also the incredible influence she had on young girls with big dreams. Amelia faced many obstacles on her rise to eminence, such as being looked down upon because of who she wanted to be and how she portrayed herself. She cut her hair short and wore pants often, which tackled many stereotypes in place at the time. She was told she couldn’t do all of these things, such as dressing ‘unladylike’ and flying a plane, but that only made her want to do them more. Amelia is worth learning about, as her passion can inspire others to follow their dreams. From learning about her, some wisdom we can gain is to always follow your dreams, no matter how big or small. Amelia once said “the most effective way do it, is to do it.” This shows a little bit about her beliefs, and it is also something we should take away from learning about her. Amelia is one of a kind and very unique. There were only a few other female pilots in the world alive at the same time as her, but none of them were able to accomplish what she did. She is someone that I wish to be able to emulate in the future, and I believe that others should take note and emulate her passion as well.
People are influenced everyday by their experiences, whether that means the people they’re surrounded by, the country they live in, or the societal norms and standards. As a child, you are constantly surrounded by your parents, which can cause their values and beliefs to be projected onto you. So, from a young age, we tend to believe in solely what we have been taught by others, such as Santa Clause or the Easter Bunny. But at what point does that change? As you are growing up, you become curious about everything. Why is the sky blue? Why do the leaves change in the fall? Why is my skin lighter than my best friend’s? These questions are answered by individuals, such as your parents or your teachers. But because everyone has their own values and beliefs, the answers you receive from each different person can vary. To be able to get a complete answer, and not a single story, you need to know how to view things from different perspectives. Obviously, you can’t obtain everyone’s life experiences. However, you can put yourself in other people’s shoes, and try to see life through their tinted glasses. This would be an ideal situation. But unfortunately, a lot of people are too stubborn to consider that their perspectives are anything except ‘the right way of thinking’. This is why stereotypes and biases are formed; because people are too stubborn to consider other ideas, beliefs and values. “Show people as one thing, as only one thing, over and over again, and that is what they become.” To begin to reject this idea of a single story, and that people can simply fit into boxes, we need to have an open mind. We need to share our perspectives without imposing them on others, and we need to be able to look at points of views that seem completely opposite to ours. We can never obtain every perspective. But in order to embrace our differences, we need to see the most complete story we can get.
In The Handsmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, while Offred and Ofglen are out shopping, they are approached by a group of tourists from Japan. One of the tourists asks the pair if they are happy. Offred responds by murmuring ‘yes, we are very happy.’ (37) Offred impressed me in this scene because inside, she is longing to tell the truth; to tell the intrigued tourists about all of the suffering they’re going through. But instead, she decides to lie, and Ofglen says nothing at all. This shows that Offred prioritizes maintaining a certain reputation in her community over the chance to educate the rest of the world about the hardships they go through every single day. However, maintaining a certain image is not Offred’s only motivation; her safety could have been jeopardized had she told the truth. This shows that Offred is extremely strong and resilient, and even though she wants something really bad, she knows that it is in her best interest to keep quiet. Offred is facing many internal and external conflicts in this scene. Two of the external conflicts she’s facing are the customs of the society she’s living in and the Japanese tourists/ interpreters. The tourists are trying to force Offred and Ofglen to talk and pose for pictures, which is against the rules. The people enforcing the rules are the Eyes, and ‘most of the interpreters are Eyes, or so it’s said.’ (36) The internal conflict Offred is facing is wether or not she should tell the truth in the hopes of freeing herself and the other Handsmaids. If she tells the truth, it could benefit her and everyone living in this society in the future. But at the same time, it could compromise her safety and the safety of Ofglen. This is one of Offred’s biggest fears in this scene. Over the course of the first third of the novel, Offred’s character development is very realistic. She has started to do certain things that are forbidden, such as “dating” Nick, one of the Guardians, and sneaking out of her room at night. However, she still has not mustered up enough strength to challenge the system or make a change in any way, and her fears of being caught are holding her back from her relationship with Nick. Although I believe that Offred ‘s character has acted well so far, I don’t think she is someone we should look up to. Although she has a good mindset and she wants to make a change, the only thing she has done to challenge authority so far is to get into an illegal relationship. There are many different things she could do to demonstrate her disagreement with the way things are working currently, some of which would most likely be more effective. Instead of breaking the law, she could gather a group of people who want to make a difference and get them all to revolt. More change is going to come from a community protesting than a couple illicitly making out in the hallway late at night. I have faced conflicts similar to Offred’s, though not nearly as dangerous and life threatening. For example, there are times when I have a couple hours worth of homework I have to complete. However, my dance teachers are expecting me to attend dance class for four hours, and my parents are expecting me to help with chores around the house and get a minimum of nine hours of sleep. All of these expectations can be contradictory, which is similar to the situation Offred is in. Offred handles the situation by doing what she believes will benefit her the most overall, which is to keep quiet and conform to societies expectations. I believe that if I were in her place, I would do the same thing. I would probably be too scared to make a commotion, and I would fear that the consequences of my actions would be too much to handle. However, I would probably tart to gather others who seem to want to change the system in the hopes of gathering an army strong enough to overthrow the current governmental system, controlled by the Commander.