“Harrison Bergeron” Summary
Lesson Plan Reference
Grade Level 9-10
Difficulty Level 2 (Reinforcing / Developing)
Type of Assignment Individual or Group
Type of Activity: Plot Diagrams and Narrative ArcsCommon Core Standards
- [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/2] Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text
- [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/3] Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme
- [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/5] Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time (e.g., pacing, flashbacks) create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise
A common use for Storyboard That is to help students create a plot diagram of the events from a story. Not only is this a great way to teach the parts of the plot, but it reinforces major events and helps students develop greater understanding of literary structures.
Students can create a storyboard capturing the narrative arc in a work with a six-cell storyboard containing the major parts of the plot diagram. For each cell, have students create a scene that follows the story in sequence using: Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.
Example “Harrison Bergeron” Plot Diagram
In the year 2081, true equality has finally been achieved: no one is more intelligent, better looking, or stronger than anyone else. This equality is imposed and maintained by use of handicaps, or items that citizens wear to create physical obstacles to make them equal to others, and enforced by the United States Handicapper General.
In April 2081, agents for the Handicapper General took Hazel and George Bergeron’s teenage son Harrison away to jail for suspicion of trying to overthrow the government. The Bergerons are sporadically sad because they can’t think about it for very long. George’s thoughts are routinely interrupted by a transmitter in his ear that emits loud noises every 20 seconds; Hazel’s intelligence limits her mind to short bursts of thought.
Hazel and George are watching a ballet performance on television. The ballerinas are handicapped by weights and wear masks to equalize their looks. George wears a 47-pound bag of birdshot around his neck. A bulletin comes on the screen and announces that Harrison Bergeron has escaped from prison. At 14, he is 7 feet tall and has outgrown most of the handicaps the H-G agents have assigned to him. He is incredibly strong and good-looking, and poses a threat to the government’s equality ideal.
In the middle of the bulletin, Harrison bursts into the TV studio, ripping the door off of its hinges. He begins screaming, “I am the Emperor!” and tears off his handicaps. He calls for an Empress and a beautiful ballerina rises and joins him. Harrison removes her handicaps and those of the musicians and commands them to play music. He and the ballerina begin to dance, leap, and twirl around the set.
In the middle of the dance, Diana Moon Glampers, the Handicapper General, arrives with a shotgun and shoots the ballerina and Harrison, killing them both. At that moment, the television goes out at the Bergerons’.
George has gone to the kitchen for a beer and seems to have missed his son’s murder. Hazel is concerned about the television blackout. George notices that she’s been crying, but she doesn’t remember why – just that there was something sad on TV. She can unscramble the thoughts in her mind, and George is unable to make sense of anything because at that moment, the audio transmitter blasts the sound of a riveting gun into his head.
(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)
Create a visual plot diagram of “Harrison Bergeron”.
- Separate the story into the Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.
- Create an image that represents an important moment or set of events for each of the story components.
- Write a description of each of the steps in the plot diagram.
(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)