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.
I think the most effective medium for telling Kurt Vonnegut’s Harrison Bergeron is by viewing the film. Unlike most stories where most audiences would say films can’t beat the book, Harrison Bergeron is a short story that has a limited space to express imagery. The story is set in the far future, a setting that none of humanity had experienced yet, therefore I think imagery and descriptive language is crucial for readers to fully engage in the story. Vonnegut has done an excellent job of making the text flow; engaging indeed. Yet something felt a little out of place when I finished reading the book because I did not have a clear image of what the thought – impairing noises, the marvellous dancing, how exactly physical handicaps would equalize people of different shapes and size, and mostly, what “ugly” was. When I viewed the film, I heard horrible squeaks and piercing noises that I heard with the characters experiencing. I wanted it to stop as much as anyone else in the classroom viewing the film. Last year, my In-depth mentor told me that people will only care and react to something if 1. They relate or 2. It was a surprise to them.
When someone tells me that there are heavyweights hanging off of everyone in the world to equalize weight, annoying sounds that completely block you from thinking, and masks that make you ugly in 50 years from now, I would be compelled and want to know more. I sure was enthralled by the way Vonnegut painted the story, but I never got to know more.
With the film, I could see the faces, the pain, the unpleasant sounds the machines gave. Not only I was relating to it, but I was also experiencing and watching it before my own eyes. How suffocating the weights were, how detrimental the machines had on memories, and many more.
I think it is similar to the “Easy said than done” idea. I read about something that I cannot picture clearly; all in a haze. Then I was given visual evidence to the text. To see clearly.
Thank you for the eyes, Mr. Kurt Vonnegut. But I’m going to need glasses.