Someone in some way is suffering or being affected even though traditions are being followed and equality is being sought. In the short stories “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” by Ursula Le Guin, and “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, there are many similarities and differences. The lesson taught in Harrison Bergeron is losing something special to make everything equal. In The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas, the lesson is that people suffer sometimes for the betterment of others. The truth from The Lottery is that there are many cultural traditions that are followed, that many don’t understand.
The main topic discussed in Harrison Bergeron is the way that the government strives to make everyone equal both physically and mentally. In the story, people are given handicaps such as earpieces that omit loud noises when a person is thinking too hard or is more intelligent than someone else. If someone is strong, they are forced to wear scrap metal or weights around their necks. Everyone is made different and has different qualities, but by placing handicaps on people, that is removing the special qualities that makes every person unique. The government, known as “The Handicap General”, plays a big part in this story by placing fear in all the citizens. They have no problem killing anyone that doesn’t follow their laws. Equality is achieved in this story, but the governments’ means of achieving it are absurd and in many ways not even theoretically possible. Harrison became a victim and was killed because he went against the law, broke out of jail, and removed his handicaps in an attempt to overthrow the government and become the leader.
In The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas, the reader learns that people sometimes suffer for the betterment of others. It is believed and accepted by everyone who lives in this town, that happiness depends solely on the torture and suffering of an innocent child that is locked up in a basement. This is considered a “tradition” because the people know that this child is there suffering, but they are led to believe that it is alright due to the fact that he has always been locked up there. This shows that without some type of suffering happiness probably would not exist. In Omelas, it is believed that if you are strong you will stay and enjoy the happiness. If one learns about the child and leaves they will be considered weak and they will never be accepted back.
In The Lottery the author discusses traditions and cultural beliefs that are misunderstood but people continue doing these rituals anyway. The tradition in The Lottery is: someone is randomly chosen to be violently stoned to death once a year. The people of this village and other villages follow this tradition because it is what they know. They never questioned The Lottery because they did not know any better. Mr. summers the leader of The Lottery takes it very seriously. In the story the little black box is a symbol of tradition and they refuse to fix it or get a new one because it’s the same box that has always been used. A man in the town by the name of Old Man Warner shows this has been going on for a long time due to his age. He believes that if The Lottery is stopped it will destroy the town and everything would fall apart. Each year someone is chosen at random to be killed. Once the person’s name is drawn from the box family and friends quickly turn on them and kill them without question showing that morals are nonexistent. After The Lottery everyone goes on to live life normally.
After reading the story of The Ones Who Walk Away From Omleas, the truth found in this story is that people suffer for the betterment of others. This can be related to the truth of Philadelphia born rapper Robert” Meek Mill” Williams. Meek Mill was falsely accused of gun and drug charges. Because of these charges a vicious cycle consisting of 12 years of probation occurred as well as imprisonment. He suffered after these false charges, but it has caused him to work on prison reform and change the way Judicial system works. He has created a nationwide movement in response to the corrupt judicial system. This is relatable to me because I was once on probation falsely accused of something and I know exactly how horrible and confusing it is. Changes and Reforms need to be created to help those who have been falsely accused.
In conclusion Harrison Bergeron and The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas analysis shows that happiness does not exist without some type of suffering. It is not physically possible for everyone to be equal no matter how hard a government, person, or persons of higher standing try to control it. Traditions do exist and people continue to follow them whether they know the harm being caused or the reasoning behind them. People tend to disregard their morals if it involves something that they believe they could benefit from. Going against the norm or the law seems right sometimes but it will always come with consequences. Someone in some way is suffering or being affected even though traditions are being followed and equality is being sought.