Compare and Contrast Harrison bergeron to There will come soft rains Essay

Compare And Contrast Harrison Bergeron To There Will Come Soft Rains Essay

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Harrison Bergeron and There Will Come Soft Rains, by Kurt Vonnegut Jr., and Ray Bradbury, respectively, are both renowned short stories written in the science fiction genre. Neither story fits it’s genre’s tendency towards fantasy reading at the expense of message. Indeed, because of their eerie predictions for the future, both cast a feeling of apprehensive foreboding over the reader. Even though the both stories have different messages, there are important similarities between how they are conveyed, as well as their relevance. Setting is an important component in illustrating both stories’ central message. It can be used to radically alter the mood, or merely to complement the characters. Likewise, the characters of a story (or lack thereof) are an important component in fully conveying each story’s underlying message. Both Harrison Bergeron and There Will Come Soft Rains are written around a central message intended to be relevant to the reader. As such, they both necessarily depict what, the authors worry, may become of us in the future. In Harrison Bergeron, Vonnegut tells of an intellectually sterile America in the year 2081, when “everybody was finally equal.” The bleak and uniform ambience of Vonnegut’s twenty-first century America can be seen in the fact that the sum and total of family interaction in a typical family (which they all are) boils down to watching television and making inane conversation. That can be compared favorably, however, to the terrible emptiness of the idyllic suburban neighborhood of the future – blanketed in nuclear winter – that is depicted in There Will Come Soft Rains. That both stories describe in chilling detail disastrous future scenarios for our civilization indicate that the author is, in each case, making a point about what we should and should not do as a society. The authors’ messages are not merely hypothetical ;rather, they are of importance and relevance today. Vonnegut’s story, set in a society where equality is absolute and individualism is absolutely minimized, seems to warn us against overly stressing equality while forgetting to teach the strength of the individual (Thoreau would be proud). Applying his message to current-day trends, Vonnegut’s writing warns us against starting down the slippery slope of censorship ;it would likewise frown upon much of the public education dogma so often accused of “cookie-cutter” instruction. The scenario depicted in Ray Bradbury’s story is one of complete (not merely intellectual) death – nuclear winter. The chilling message, underlined by the haunting irony of the lively robots, is that our society focuses its scientific and intellectual knowledge on all the wrong applications. This message is as relevant today, with various nuclear disarmament treaties pending ratification as it was when Bradbury wrote it in the 1950s. Clearly, the author intends for us to rhetorically consider whether our great technological advances should be applied towards applications such as weapons of mass destruction and goods to feed our society’s rabid materialism, or for peaceful uses that benefit the entire world. Even though their specific messages towards our society are different in content, they share a common theme of foreboding. Despite the differences between the two stories’ basic messages, there are important similarities in how they are told. The setting, an important component in each story, is used similarly in both stories. Because both stories foretell bleak scenarios in our future, it is appropriate that they would feature correspondingly bleak and discouraging settings, thus illustratively strengthening the author’s basic message. Vonnegut set Harrison Bergeron in a late twenty-first century America. Everything that he described about the surroundings is bleak ;the April weather is wet and dreary ;the interior so plain as to not even warrant in-depth description, the television program
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