Kurt Vonnegut's Short Stories

Harrison Bergeron

what parts of the story are most exaggerated? what do you think was the author's purpose in using exaggeration so extensively?

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The tone of the omniscient narrator is often ironic and exaggerated drawing attention to the absurdity of the future Vonnegut paints here. For instance, when the ballerina reads the announcement on television, "she had to apologize at once for her voice, which was a very unfair voice for a woman to use. Her voice was a warm, luminous, timeless melody. 'Excuse me-' she said, and she began again, making her voice absolutely uncompetitive" (10). By seemingly taking for granted that the ballerina's natural voice is "unfair," and by seeming to prefer the "uncompetitive" voice, the narrator implies that the reader should question this situation. In other words, Vonnegut leaves it to us to question the world, since his acceptance of it is so absurd. This exaggeration helps to put this very short story into some type of plain context so the reader can begin to interpret the themes.