In your opinion, what is the most effective medium for telling the “Harrison Bergeron” narrative: film or text? Explain your answer using specific details that relate to each version, as well as thoughtful reasoning.
Although the short-story Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. may have been the original, I strongly believe the film 2081 was the most effective medium for telling the narrative. I found the text rather insipid and fast-paced; whereas, the movie portrayed the characters, the rising action, as well the climax with detail and emotion. The short-story doesn’t seem to have described the setting very vividly which results in the readers being confused where the scene is taking place, especially at the beginning of the story. For example, when “George and Hazel were watching television. There were tears on Hazel’s cheeks, but she’d
forgotten for the moment what they were about.” (1). The story straight-away jumps into George and Hazel watching T.V., but it never specifies where or why they were watching. They could’ve been watching from a superstore, a restaurant, anywhere. Maybe Vonnegut didn’t reveal the setting on purpose; however, this personally blocked me from trying to picture the scene in my head. Furthermore, in the short-story, there seemed to be no emotion in characters at all; especially George. When Hazel mentioned about society falling apart, George responded blankly, “What would?” (3). This quote shows, in the short-story, George doesn’t seem to care about his surroundings and his answers are very “normal.” However, in the film, George shows more interest and he expresses his feelings a lot more. For instance, when he’s watching Harrison on television, he gives a sigh of relief when the cable is connected again and shows great concern when the announcer reports Harrison has escaped from prison.
Overall, I really enjoyed both versions of Harrison Bergeron and because I’ve always had bizarre thoughts and ideas about the future, the first sentence of the story really grasped my attention.