Kurt Vonnegut’s Harrison Bergeron is best appreciated through the written text, rather than its film adaptation, because it leaves a greater impact on the readers. Both mediums of the story tell the same story of a world in which everybody is equal and gifted individuals are handicapped by the government and the Handicapper General, or HG. However, the written version is much more exaggerated and unrealistic, such as when we discover that Harrison is a 7ft 14-year-old, which leaves a sort of eerie feeling upon the story’s completion. This unrealistic presentation of the fictional word amplifies certain details using writing techniques, such as when “Diana Moon Glampers, the Handicapper General, came in to the studio with a double barreled ten-gauge shotgun” and shoots both Harrison and the ballerina in two shots (5). This all happens in two sentences, whereas the dancing section had almost ten times the amount. This makes use of the expanded moment technique and shows the HG’s actions as very quick, forceful, and powerful; the HG accomplishes this task alone and very quickly. Whereas in the film, the HG is joined by a number of the special police and takes a long time to get into the studio. This removes the scare of one person holding all the power. The written book was also able to give us the story from George and Hazel’s perspective. George explains the sounds on the mental disabler and Hazel explains the way “Harrison and the ballerina jump around like deer on the moon” (4). But on the film, the sounds on the mental disabler are the same, there is no description of what George thinks about the situation on the television, or how special Harrison is except for how loud he can yell, stomp, and break wood and chains. It’s impressive, but not like the sky jumping, padlock crushing, door breaking 14-year-old we read in the short story. The exaggeration here shows that, again, Diana Moon Glampers can end this boy’s life instantly without hesitation. This is scary and gets us thinking about people we put into power. But in the film, she doesn’t get in the studio alone, time slows down as she shoots, and she looks like she regrets doing it when seen on the television. This doesn’t give us the same effect as the reading where we contemplate how scary and powerful one with absolute power can become. In conclusion, the written version of Kurt Vonnegut’s Harrison Bergeron is better than the film adaptation because it tells a more exaggerated story which leaves a more frightening message.
Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless, and add what is specifically yours.
Lee Jun-fan, more commonly known as Bruce Lee, was an American / Hong Kong philosopher, director, actor, martial artist, martial art instructor, founder of martial art Jeet Kune Do, and fighter. Lee was one of the first to popularize the eastern Chinese culture and put martial arts on a global stage using the influence of his films. Many, to this day, still regard Lee as one of the best fighters to ever have lived and he has become a figurehead for martial arts. I am specifically drawn to Bruce Lee because of these achievements and his philosophy of life. I chose Lee over others in the same field of study because nobody was able to leave a mark quite like him. Ask anyone, there’s a good chance they will know who he was and what he did 50 years ago and maybe even another 50 from today. I believe that he is worth researching and sharing because of the story his life tells. As a young boy being raised in Hong Kong, Lee got mixed up in a few street fights. Wanting to fight back and stand for himself, he started learning Wing Chun from Ip Man (or Yip Man), a master Wing Chun teacher. Even then, other students avoided Lee because of his mixed ancestry. But despite his start, Lee rose up and became a person renowned for his martial abilities and skills. I believe this story delivers a message of how anyone can become the best at what they do, but only a few works towards their potential. Although the culture of where we were raised may be considered as similar, there are many differences that I must overcome to understand Bruce Lee. For example, Lee was a child actor, and he was raised in a similar culture, not the same. But setting these differences aside for the speech will be easier if the research is done thoroughly and I put a little bit more effort or I could try to avoid things that are too different. Throughout eminent, I would like to learn about Lee’s philosophy of life and martial arts and “absorb what is useful, discard what is useless, and add what is specifically [mine]”.
For the next step in eminent, I aim to finish all my research by the end of this month. Learning about Lee’s achievements, life, and personality with depth so I can begin to work on my speech and learning center by the start of November.
How might we begin to “reject the single stor[ies]” in our lives?
Single stories are, and will stay, everywhere. It is intimidating to consider attempting to reject something that seems so intrinsic to a society brimming with individuals who possess vastly different experiences and views. But just as when Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie says “I must quickly add that I too am just as guilty in the question of the single story” we are all subject to the single story and must all work to avoid it. We can begin rejecting the effects of the single story by acknowledging and accepting that we do not know everything. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie says that “They (the single stories) make one story become the only story”; once we accept that we don’t know everything – even when we think we do – and communicate with that goal in mind, we will have an easier time walking away from the single story stereotype. However, this is a hard task. Nobody is perfect and that is why the single story still exists. But when we acknowledge that we are all under some influence of the single story then we will be on our way to removing it from our lives.