Equality is the pentacle of any nation, and the more quality that a nation has the better quality of life for its people. Equality is extremely important to maintain balance in a modern community, and its people. For societies excessive inequality leads to conflict. It is not surprising that the main protagonists of revolution are often those who have the least and who are at the receiving end of inequality. The word ‘equality ‘ is often paired with ‘diversity ‘, which means ‘sameness ‘ and ‘difference ‘. Equality in a nation, is a paradox that shows how social life is often a matter of balance. If we all had to be totally equal, then there would be no progress. Diversity enables creativity and celebrates difference. Yet within this equality in certain areas is important for sufficient social harmony to promote collaboration and avoid conflict. Evidence of our natural inequality towards others, while still knowing that it is fair, can be seen in the laws that have been implemented to enforce equality. There are many laws that directly address the inner conflicts of selfish vs social motives and where a basic motive is to enable people to live together in relative harmony. One can simply look at the United States in the 1960s, and see how far people are will to go to gain there equality rights. In the 3 fiction story’s “Harrison Bergeron”, Perfect Stanger, and The Ones that walked away, equality is explained in a different matter, the stories explain the true cost of what it would to have an equal society.
In the story “Harrison Bergeron” is about how a society defines “equality”. To the government and its citizens, “equality” means to make everyone the same. In the modern American culture equality is defined as guaranteeing the same rights for all people, and that includes allowing someone to be an individual. However, the society in which George, Hazel, and Harrison live in the government handicaps its people in order to ensure that no one is better than anyone else in anything. If you’re smart like George, you have loud noises pumped into your ears through small ear buds that cut off all thought. For Harrison who is young, handsome, tall, and strong, he is weighed down by 300 lbs of metal, has ear buds, and wears thick eyeglasses. The society does not believe in the values of equality like free speech and personal freedom. Instead they view equality as making everyone identical with no one having unique abilities or gifts to become superior. The irony lies in the way Vonnegut portrays the society’s definition of “equality”. The restrictions that the government applied to its citizens ironically forced inequality rather than the equality that the government wanted (Hattenhauer 387). An example of this would be the mask the government makes it attractive citizens wear. The more attractive that a person is, the more hideous there mask. Which completely defies what the purpose if the mask, because it makes an inequality. If a person wants to know if another person very attractive they just have to judge them on the mask that they wear. Another form of this defective system of equality is that weights that the government forces Harrison to wear. The government make his wear the weights so that he will become weaker, but in reality the weight make him stronger and stronger. The cost equality in this story is what make people unique, the citizens do not have the ability to be individuals. They are not allowed to express who they are, and if they do the will more than likely be murdered. The can be proven when Harrison takes off his handicaps and starts to dance with one of the baerinians on live television. Moments later Diana Moon Glampers (The Handicapper General) comes into the studio and kills Harrison and the empress with a shotgun.
Just like Harrison bersion the short story perfect Stanger take place in the in the future. In this story a married couple are having a baby. As the pregnancy progresses, the couple finds out that their child will be born with a heart dysfunction. As any parent would be the couple was very concerned with the well Bing of their child. So to solve the problem the couple finds a doctor that will do a DNA input in the baby’s heart that will fix its heart. A few months later the baby was born with no problem and was perfectly heathy, and this where the problems begin. The mother became obsessed with altering her child, every way. She did not give her child the child the chance to be an individual. As the boy matures the mother begins to notice other thing that where “wrong” with him that need to be changed. So instead of allowing nature to take it course the mother get her child as many procedures done as possible until she thinks her son is perfect. The cost of equality in this story was the individuality of the boy. We wasn’t given the opportunity to grow in a natural way, everything that he is came from a shot. What the mother did to her son can be compared to an athlete using steroids to break a record. Because the athlete did not work to break the record, they took the easy way out, and it wasn’t really them that performed well it was the drugs. The boy was perfect in every way, but he did not get there naturally. The shot change him from a chubby brown haired kid to a fit blue eyed man.
The fiction story “The ones that walked away “, took place in a perfect city called Omelas (Le Guin). In this city people lead lives that are happy, in the best sense of the word. Omelas is a joyful city inhabited by mature, intelligent, passionate adults. Their lives are not wretched, nor are they puritanical, but there happiness comes at a cost. One child is chosen from the population to serve as a sacrifice that will allow the rest of the city to live in peace and plenty. The child is placed in a small, windowless room without any amenities and is completely cut off from the rest of society except for the short visits from those who come to view the child. The people of Omelas battle with the knowledge of the child, who suffers for them, and the guilt they feel as a result of their knowledge. However, most of them eventually overcome their guilt. Some leave when they first learn of the child’s existence and some leave after a long battle with their guilt. But they all leave on solitary journeys as they make their way through the city and the surrounding fields and out into the unknown. These people disappear and never return. Their fate and their paths are unknown. The cost of happiness and synergy in the city can only be achieved, by allowing one of their own to suffer. Omelas, as seen from the outside, is a perfect world, but beneath the unspoiled exterior is a world built on the misery of a single person. Though the people of the city can justify the pain inflicted on the child, such a thing does not make it right. It is human nature to be compassionate that why some people left Omelas, but most stayed. They stayed they did not want to ruin the perfect lives that they lived. Where is the equality in that? For true equality to thrive everyone must feel happy, treated the same way at all time. “The ones that walked away”, only shows the selfish qualities of human and how greedy we can be.
In conclusion there is a paradox with this need, in that while people tend to seek superiority over others, they also seek fairness. This highlights a social conflict where needs such as for status and control lead us towards inequality with ourselves having more than others. Yet within this, we fear the balance of inequality tilting in the other direction, such that others become superior to us. A balance point is needed to agree achieve true equality. The stories that I provide shows equality in happyness in the rawness form, and the negivires sides for having total equality. It is human nature to be unique. Humans cannot be the same, we cannot live in a world where we are all the same, and there would not be any progress. When we were all born we were all given our set of skills and abilities. That way we need to stop asking for so much and be happy with what we have.
Hattenhauer, Darryl. “The Politics Of Kurt Vonnegut ‘s “Harrison Bergeron.” Studies In Short Fiction 35.4 (1998): 387. MasterFILE Elite. Web. 5 May 2016
Le Guin, Ursula K. “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas (Variations On A Theme By William James).” Utopian Studies 2.1/2 (1991): 1. Literary Reference Center. Web. 5 May 2016.
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