The Differences between Harrison Bergeron verses 2081
“The year was 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren’t only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else.”(Kurt Vonnegut Jr.) This is a quote from both the story “Harrison Bergeron”, and the film 2081, which greatly describe the theme that both these stories share equality. However, these two stories can be set apart by a few differences including plot, characters and character roles, and dialogue.
Firstly the short story Harrison Bergeron and the film 2081 are very similar but there are a few minor differences that set the two apart. These two plots both have the same general storyline such as Harrison gets taken away from his home, breaks out of jail, and appears on stage at the live-streamed ballet. The first major difference in the plot that I discovered was the film adaptation where George is looking down the hall towards Harrison’s former bedroom where he was taken out of, but he has trouble remembering because of his handicaps that are maybe causing him to forget that Harrison was even their son. The biggest difference would be the film addition to the plot which is the bomb. In the film, Harrison threatens the audience not to move with the detonator to the bomb that is apparently below the stage. The handicap general then has to send in a team to disable the bomb before they can shoot Harrison. After we find out that the detonator turned back on the live stream after they turned it off so the people watching wouldn’t see Harrison getting shot. The short story had no mention of the bomb whatsoever. A few other small changes in the plot would be how they announced Harrison’s breakout of prison. In the film, a news report interrupted the ballet who was a guy who had a very poor speaking voice, and then another guy came into his place and read the report normally. While in the story, the man with the bad speaking voice came on the stage of the ballet but was overtaken by one of the ballerinas who was said to have a beautiful voice. The last small difference would be the handicaps themselves. In the story they were described as a canvas bag with many led balls inside, however, in the film, they seem to be futuristic devices strapped to their bodies.
Secondly, the characters between the story and the film are the same, but the roles that the characters play are a bit different. Both the film and the short story start with Hazel and George sitting in the living room watching the tv. In the story it is George that gets u and leaves to the kitchen, however in the film, it is Hazel who leaves to wash the dishes while George stays to watch the TV. This is significant because in the film it was George who watched the whole broadcast of everything that happened at the ballet, including their son Harrison getting shot and killed. In the book, Hazel can’t remember her son’s death due to the fact that the live stream cut off. However, in the film, Harrison turned the live stream back on but George couldn’t remember we are guessing to do his handicaps. This difference in the film makes you question if this does happen often but nobody would remember because everybody could be brainwashed to forget from the handicaps. Another example of this would be earlier when George was getting flashbacks about Harrison being taken away but couldn’t quite remember. A difference in the character roles also ties in with the plot which is when they announce the news report of Harrisons escapes from jail. In the short story, a ballerina takes over the report on the stage after the news reporter could’ speak properly. However, in the film, it was another guy who looked to be a producer or stage manager who took over at the news station instead of at the ballet. The next difference that I found in the characters was Harrison. Harrison was the same all around except for his appearance in the film which was different from the story. The short story explained that Harrison was a fourteen-year-old, seven-foot giant when he was taken from his home and also escaped from jail that same year, however in the film it explains that Harrison was taken at fourteen and escapes six years later, and you can also clearly tell that he is not 7 feet tall. Another difference to Harrison would be that he is made less ugly in the film, as in the story he has a clown nose, shaved eyebrows, glasses, and fake teeth. In addition, I would prefer the short story better in this aspect because being fourteen, and basically a superhuman symbolizes him more than the film would.
The final difference would be dialogue. There are only a few small differences in the dialogue since the film follows the exact narration that the short story does. The first key difference was when Hazel and George were talking about George resting his handicaps. In the story, Hazel tells George to rest his handicaps because of how tired he has been, and goes on to say that she wouldn’t mind if that meant that they weren’t equal, and then George goes on to say that he doesn’t want to take them off because he would get accustomed to not having them on. In addition, up to this point, the plot, dialogue, and narration have stayed fairly the same, however, the difference n dialogue would be what Harrison says when he gets on stage at the ballet. Firstly, there he had nothing to say about the bomb under the stage because it was non-existent in the story unlike in the film, where it made more of a bigger deal. As well as that, the whole statement about Harrison being the emperor and him choosing his empress was also non-existent in the film.
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