THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else.
Hazel had a perfectly average intelligence, which meant she couldn't think about anything except in short bursts. And George, while his intelligence was way above normal, had a little mental handicap radio in his ear. He was required by law to wear it at all times. It was tuned to a government transmitter. Every twenty seconds or so, the transmitter would send out some sharp noise to keep people like George from taking unfair advantage of their brains.
George weighed the bag with his hands. I don't mind it, he said. I don't notice it any more. It's just a part of me.
All of a sudden you look so tired, said Hazel. Why don't you stretch out on the sofa, so's you can rest your handicap bag on the pillows, honeybunch. She was referring to the forty-seven pounds of birdshot in a canvas bag, which was padlocked around George's neck.
Harrison Bergeron, age fourteen, she said in a grackle squawk, has just escaped from jail, where he was held on suspicion of plotting to overthrow the government. He is a genius and an athlete, is under-handicapped, and should be regarded as extremely dangerous.
It was then that Diana Moon Glampers, the Handicapper General, came into the studio with a double-barreled ten-gauge shotgun.
In his story Harrison Bergeron, Kurt Vonnegut makes the point that by making everyone average it actually worsens society. It proves total equality isn't an ideal worth striving for because of the dangers it brings. The story's utopian society removes everyone's individuality and basic human rights. This equality comes at a hefty price to its citizens as they live tortured lives.