Kurt Vonnegut Really Equal Analysis

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The late 1950s to 1960s were a time of great fear in both the United States and Soviet Union, as both countries had different economic ideals that clashed with the other. The United States had valued capitalism while, conflictingly, the Soviet Union was beginning to see communism as a more logical kind of economic system. These ideals clashed so much that the United States believed that what the USSR was promoting was dangerous and that it was important to try and stop Communism from spreading. This eventually led to a full-blown war in which each country tried to prove that they could be more powerful than the other under their preferred government – the Cold War. Writing as an American when the Cold War hit its peak, Kurt Vonnegut Jr. saw…show more content…
During the Cold War, supporters of communism believed that everyone should be economically equal to those around them. A very similar idea, that everyone should have the same benefits, is the most prominent aspect of the short story and is portrayed in such an extreme way that makes it obvious satire – “…everybody was finally equal. They weren’t only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way” (181). To make them equal in “every which way,” the characters are forced to wear impediments that hinder anything that may put them above others. For example, “George, while his intelligence was way above normal, had a little mental handicap radio in his ear” (181). These impediments clearly lead them to live a miserable life, the radio bursting random loud noises in George’s ear and giving him headaches, and other impediments giving him and those around him similar bodily pains (182). By showing the idea that “everyone should be equal” so severely, Vonnegut emphasizes the point of how wrong it is to think that everyone could be equal. One may wonder why a government would want take away talents that could be an advantage to not only the person who has them, but potentially society at large and that is the whole point. Vonnegut is commenting on how far- fetched Communism is by…show more content…
To all of the citizens in the story, Harrison is a threat and the reporter says of him, “He is a genius and an athlete, is under-handicapped, and should be regarded as extremely dangerous” (183). This is comparative to the way Russians were taught to see Americans – instead of seeing them as bringing freedom to the country, they were taught to fear them. Vonnegut also portrays Harrison to be stronger than all of the citizens – he is seven feet tall and is able to snap a padlock, one of his impediments, off of him easily. This is a clear American sentiment, especially at a time of war: the United States likes to believe that they are the most powerful and that they are capable of defeating anyone. However, while portraying a character that represents America in a relatively positive light, Vonnegut also criticizes the American’s need to control other countries. When Harrison starts to take control of the news set, he says, “’I am the Emperor! … Do you hear? I am the Emperor! Everybody must do what I say at once!’” (184). While bringing freedom to the citizens, Harrison wants to take control of the people and be the leader of everything, just as the United States had. Regardless of whether or not Vonnegut portrays Harrison in a more negative or positive way, it is clear that the character is used to represent

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