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Short Fiction Essay

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Literature is often assessed to expose the social ills and conflicts that overtake our society. The role of literature can use a common theme to portray humanities flaws and needing change for a better society. Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Ray Bradbury, and Edgar A. Poe, use different literary devices, in their short stories, to illustrate a dystopian lifestyle. The three authors all expose social ills regarding society. In their works of short fiction, Vonnegut, Bradbury, and Poe use satire, personification, and symbolism, respectively in order to expose forcing equality, self-turmoil, and aversion to death as social ills.

Forced equality in order to maintain one's pride is satirized in Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron". In this futuristic dystopia, many traits that humanity value, are hindered to create an equal society. " She must have been extraordinarily beautiful, because the mask she wore was hideous. And it was easy to see that she was the strongest and most graceful of all the dancers," (Vonnegut 3). The beauty and strength this ballerina has been blessed with is hidden in order to make the less fortunate feel better about them and not be jealous. Downgrading the abilities or traits of blessed humans by, hiding what they have or weighing them down creates equality. The government of this futuristic dystopia, would also limit the potential ideas and skills of the citizens. George Bergeron's intelligence is restricted from proper functioning by headphones issued by the Handicap General. These headphones emit high-frequency sound waves that disrupt George's thoughts. Without critical thinking, their society is *dragged down to a common denominator of the weakest link, leaving no hope for the individual to strive to full potential. The idea of an equal life is satirized by forced approaches by a handicap general in Vonnegut's work of short fiction.

In today's world, people would most likely find it peculiar to apologize for possessing an admired characteristic. Equality is forced upon humanity, in order to keep flaws from being exposed by humans that possess beautiful attributes. "Her voice was a warm, luminous, timeless melody... and she began again, making her voice absolutely uncompetitive" (Vonnegut 3). This woman's admirable voice is considered unfair because it is "too beautiful" Her voice creates shame within other humans, because they find it unjust that they cannot have such a melodious voice like hers. Flaws are exposed by her voice, causing her to standout and be different. Such laws are unfair to the woman, because she cannot improve her talent and is restricted to lower standards. Forcing herself to forget how lovely her voice is, she apologizes for not being equal and begins reading in a nasty, unpleasant voice. In reaction to a handicapped ballerina dance, Hazel Bergeron says that that dance must have been beautiful. Above average talents used in



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