Contrast and Comparison





Contrast and Comparison

            In the two works, “anyone lived in a pretty how town” and “Harrison Bergerron” have a theme in common but portrayed in different aspects as well as setting and time. “Anyone lived in a pretty how town” is a poem by Cummings talking about ‘Anyone’ as a person who is not noticed by others since they are too busy with their work other people. On the other hand, “Harrison Bergeron” is a short story written by Kurt Vonnegut. It is written in futuristic tone where the main character escapes from jail and finds that order has changed where everybody is regarded equally by the law and competition is not allowed where the above normal are handicapped by the government. Just like ‘anyone’ Harrison has the will to live freely without being constrained by government rules. Both of these works have shown the importance of living a free, fulfilling life.

The two texts have other different themes, but some of the common themes are portrayed in many different ways that also bring about other themes. However, the main theme is the will in a person to live life according to their wish without considering what others might have to say. It also suggests taking courage to defy laws that are dehumanizing in order to live freely. In the poem, people are subjected to working all the time, and do not notice anything going on around them. Even when they do, it is just for a moment. On the other hand, in the Harrison story, people do not realize the dangers posed to the society for eliminating competition. When Harrison does, they think he is not normal, and should be handicapped to be in the same level with the rest. The whole society does not live free since they are not even allowed to think. Only Harrison achieves what nobody else has achieved. Within both communities in the two works, the people are not living out of their free will.

In the poem, the poet says that “he sang his didn’t he danced his did,” (Cummings, 2012), meaning that ‘anyone’ always celebrated what he has done. It also meant that most of the time he is living his life well through deeds that one can dance to. Saying that he danced his did mean that he did not hold back to enjoying what he had done in life. On the other hand, the other group of people, ‘someones’ and ‘everyones’ had not time to dance to their deeds, meaning that they only lived a moderated life without enjoyment, except doing a lot of work all the time. Finally, when ‘someones and everyones’ grow old and die, we find that only ‘anyone and noone’ enjoyed life of great lovers, meaning that those who are not afraid of doing what they feel is right for them enjoy life (Marks 2012). Again, the theme of living without caring much about what others say or living in fear is shown by Harrison. Despite going to jail, Harrison manages to escape and through his will, he believes that he can overthrow the government and becomes what he wants to become. He is not worried about the government stopping him from doing what he want or living like a normal human being. After escaping jail, he goes to the radio station where there were dancers and declares himself the emperor. ‘‘Even as I stand here—crippled, hobbled, and sickened—I am a greater ruler than any man who ever lived! Now watch me become what I can become!” (Vonnegut, 1961) He then chooses one of the dancers as his empress and together they dance and defy the laws of government as well as laws of nature as they reap 30ft high and remain suspended in air as they kiss before they are shot. Unlike others who choose to be weighed down by the handicaps, Harrison was able to live a full life for a few moments before dying, which was an accomplishment out of the will to live to the fullest. This illustrates the will of living freely without subjection to what others believe, just like ‘anyone and noone’ lived freely.

In the poem, ‘anyone’ looks ignored by all the other people, making him look like he lived life alone with his loved one, ‘noone’. However, looking closely at the poem, one can realize that this is a couple that lived their life to the fullest, exploiting every moment they had by doing what they wanted to do. This poem narrates three different kinds of people and their different life styles. ‘Anyone’ and ‘noone’ are lovers, whom even children that are so innocent can guess they love each other. On the hand, in the story of “Harrison Bergerron,” Harrison, at an age of fourteen years, he is seven feet tall and handsome as well as strong. He is not considered as a normal person. People of this kind are not allowed by the government to use their intellect despite being intelligent. Rather, the government makes all people equal by handicapping such people with weights around the neck and headphones with a radio that play disturbing music every 20 seconds to disrupt their thinking.

The other theme in the two stories is societal conformity where the poem is concerned with people fitting in the society, where ‘anyone’ and ‘noone’ are seen not to conform to the society’s norm. They live a life that is quite different from other people. The people think that anyone does not conform to the society. However, in the real sense, he seems to be living a more fulfilling life that is more joyous than the rest. On the other hand, Harrison is seen not to be conforming to the societal norms out of his intelligence and looks as well as strength in a country during a time when being better than anybody is illegal, including having better looks than others. However, he is very normal but according to the government he should restricted from thinking and end up in jail. In reality, he is the one who is normal and willing to fight for his rights to live like a normal man, while the government is the one not conforming to the society. According to the government, normal people with intelligence are considered the abnormal, while those without competence and intelligence or subnormal are considered the normal people. It is clear that the government is not conforming to the society in the right way, carrying everybody along with it, which ends up making the society full of disturbed people (Vonnegut, 1961). On the other hand, the people in the poem think they conform to the society, while the reality is that they are living a life of subjection to their work where there is no fulfillment.

In conclusion, one can see that ‘Anyone’ lives a better life than the rest, but the people do not realize it since they are too occupied by their work. The same way, Harrison is able to live a free life for few minutes before he dies out of his courage to live freely. In addition, in the short story, others believe Harrison is not normal while it is the opposite. Beliefs and attitudes of these two communities within which the two works relate to are distorted, with people in the poem living unfulfilled lives while in the short story they are oppressed by the social norms agreed by government.



Work cited

Cummings, E.E. anyone lived in a pretty how town., 2012. Web. March 2, 2012.

Marks, Barry. English 10., 2011. Web. March 2, 2012.

Vonnegut, Kurt. Harrison Bergeron., 1961. Web. March 2, 2012.


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