April 15, 2007


And so I thought I'd never read any Kurt Vonnegut. I was wrong!

I got an email today from TGOO with a link to one of his short stories. Harrison Bergeron.

I remember I was in 7th grade and I had a book of short stories. I have no idea where it came from, but one evening, I just sat down and read every story. Harrison Bergeron was one. I read it twice.

But I never remembered the name of the story, nor the author for that matter, although the story stuck with me. For years I have wondered, "Who wrote that story about the couple sitting in front of the TV unable to remember the odd ballet they were watching as the equality police did their thing..."

It has truly haunted me through the years... the visuals of this story in my mind. And today when TGOO sent me the link... I read the very first paragraph and instantly knew, THIS IS IT!

Odd. How odd.

Posted by Boudicca at April 15, 2007 09:58 PM | TrackBack

The book was Welcome To The Monkey House, and "Harrison Bergeron" was a standout amongst the stories therein. It was the first Vonnegut book I ever read.

Posted by: Elisson at April 16, 2007 05:51 AM

Ellison- Your mind is like a steel trap. I think you scare me! Was this standard fare reading for middle school kids? That is what I am wondering... how did I end up with this book?

Posted by: Bou at April 16, 2007 06:09 AM

Ack! I looked it up. I think that wasn't it. I don't remember reading stories like that... in particular dealing with sex. Heh, later in life... but not at 12. I was kind of naive. I think it was a collection of short stories and this one happened to be added to it.

Now this is going to bug me...

Posted by: Bou at April 16, 2007 06:11 AM

Thank you for posting that link.
I didn't think I'd read any Kurt Vonnegut either, but I read this story in middle school, too! And parachial school at that.

And, yeah, it sticks with you.
Just your mention of ballet and "equality police", and boom, I remembered.

Posted by: Roses at April 16, 2007 07:14 AM

I read that in 9th grade, and had not remembered the author.

That story sticks with a person. Every now and then it will pop into my head. That and the Ray Bradbury short story about the little girl who was locked in a closet during the few minutes the sun shone on some distant planet.

Posted by: wRitErsbLock at April 16, 2007 07:42 AM

Bergeron - good.

The rest of Vonnegut - eh.

Little too cynical for me.

Posted by: Harvey at April 16, 2007 02:19 PM

Oh - well then you're all good then. No need to read Slaughterhouse 5. :-)

Posted by: Richmond at April 16, 2007 03:54 PM

I read it in 6th. I can still quote lines from it. Boy, talk about thinking outside the box. Harrison Bergeron was a real eye opener for 12 year old me.

Posted by: caltechgirl at April 16, 2007 06:14 PM

I'm with Harvey.

My Vonnegut "tribute" post after his death last week was a recommendation to read HB. "No Child Gets Ahead" (disingenuously called "NCLB" by lying politicians and Mass Media Podpeople) writ large... *sigh*

HB is a particularly good read, because in this case, at least, Vonnegut seems to have been channeling a prophetic voice. As Harvey said, though, the rest of Vonnegut? Not so good (although Deadeye Dick had its moment *heh*).

Posted by: David at April 16, 2007 07:42 PM

After the earlier blog I decided I am going to read Hocus Pocus.

I enjoyed his work back in my hemp indulgent years.

Guess I'm not as "cultured" as some.

In fact, I don't even like Gray Poupon..



Posted by: P'Cola Titan at April 16, 2007 08:19 PM