Harrison Bergeron

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.

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