Harrison Bergeron Essay

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Is the conception of equality with gender, economic status, and talents truly achievable or simply a myth? The idea and possibility of equality appeals humans emotional nature. Its everyone ideal image and vision of how the world should be. However, can equality in every aspect potentially handicap one whos potentially gifted? In the passage, Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut (1961), he creates a strictly equitable society. In this utopian society, each person is treated equally despite each persons characteristics or talents. Those who could be considered gifted or highly intelligent receive handicaps.

One cannot compete, and display the talents or beauty granted to them at birth. Every individual is normal and rendered below-average in intelligence, strength, and ability. Concept 1: Characteristics of Giftedness The federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act defines gifted and talented students as Students, children, or youth who give evidence of high achievement capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and who need services and activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop those capabilities. [Title IX, Part A, Definition 22. (2002)] (www. nagc. org ).

However, there are other definitions of giftedness from other pioneers of gifted education. There are common characteristics and attributes of gifted individuals. However, gifted individuals are not one and the same. These characteristics may vary depending on the individuals cultural background, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and domain of giftedness (i. e. artistic, musical, dramatics, etc). Various empirical studies have been completed in regards to identifying common characteristics of students who are gifted.

The characteristics have been subdivided into intellectual/academic, affective and emotional, and creative. The following academic characteristics are recurring but not limited to: early and rapid learning, rapid language development as a child, superior language ability, academic dominance, superior analytic ability, keen observation, advanced reasoning/problem solving, extrapolates knowledge to new situations, long attention span, communication skills, and a well-developed memory.

The affective and emotional characteristics of students who are gifted include: high career ambitions, expanded awareness, over excitability, strong mpathy, moral thinking, reflectiveness, independent, inquisitive, perfectionism, excessive self-criticism, and nonconformity. Creative characteristics of a gifted student include: imaginative, creative, solves problems, and preference for novelty (Karnes & Stephens, 2008). Throughout the story Harrison Bergeron, both Harrison and his father George, are above average, and Harrison is considered a genius. Harrison is a fourteen-year-old, who possesses intelligence so immense that he is arrested on suspicion of plotting to overthrow the government.

Harrison harbors superior academic ability, and thinking that is abstract, complex, logical and insightful. Harrison had the heaviest handicaps, and outgrew hindrances faster than the H-G team could construct them. Yet again, this demonstrates his high-level thinking skills and ability to solve problems. Harrison is unusually strong and athletic as well, and was exactly seven feet tall. Harrison demonstrates his incorrigible strength by tearing his straps guaranteed to support five thousand pounds.

Harrisons superior academic ability, ability to analyze, nonconformity, and rebellious demeanor affected his socially, academically, and emotionally. He was isolated from his family and friends due to his intelligence. This separation affected him socially and emotionally. However despite the separation and confinement, he was still resilient. The text stated that he continued to outgrow each hindrance that the H-G men created for him. Academically, Harrison was denied his capability to live up to his true potential. Concept 2: Potential Giftedness

The State of Texas defines Gifted and Talented student as, someone who gifted AND talented describes a child or a youth, who performs at, or shows the potential for performing at, a remarkably high level of accomplishment when compared to others of the same age, experience, or environment. Potentially gifted students are those whose talents are emerging but not consistently demonstrated or evident (Rinn, 2011). These students have the capabilities to perform at a higher academic level, but their current academic performance does not display those capabilities. These students hould be provided with opportunities to develop and stimulate their thinking.

Their knowledge, skills, and conceptual understanding can be developed through instruction. These students have that ability, must it must be encouraged to drive them to achieve at their full capacity. In the story Harrison Bergeron, every person with above-average knowledge was negated of their potential intelligence, talent, strength, or beauty. Helen, Harrisons mother was not given a handicap because she was foreseen as normal.

In the story Helen states, Who knows bettern I do what normal is? (Vonnegut, 1961, pg. 1) However, she could be potentially gifted, but sub-par performance and normalcy was the norm. The story also implies the strong resemblance of Diana Moon Glampers, the Handicapper General with Hazel. Both were normal without a handicap. There was not an attempt to elevate them from average to above average. An individual can have the potential to perform well if encouraged or prodded. The ballerina in the story had the potential to defy gravity. However, she would have never tapped into that potential if Harrison had not prompted her.

Having the potential to be gifted can affect you emotionally, socially and academically. The ballerina had the potential to be graceful, beautiful and strong, yet she was handicapped of those abilities in order to be equal to the others. The ballerina had to be conscious of her abilities in order to fit in with the others. Being self-conscious also affects you emotionally. Youre constantly criticizing yourself and holding back, in order to seem normal. Concept 3: Highly Gifted Highly gifted individuals are those that have an IQ score of about 145 or higher, or three standard deviations above the mean.

Highly gifted individuals may also be referred to as exceptionally gifted or profoundly gifted (Rinn, 2010). The population of highly gifted students are small, as few as 1 in every 1000. Those who are highly gifted display characteristics such as: early mastery of gross motor skills, superb memory, intense interest areas, keen attention span, early mastery of verbal and written language, advanced logical thinking skills, extreme sensitivity to the feeling of others, and a vivid imagination (Karnes & Stephens, 2008, pg. 118). These students have a great need for precision and exhibit a range of their cognitive abilities.

These students also have the ability to make the simple, complex. This ability differs in a moderately gifted student and a highly gifted student. Harrison Bergeron, would be considered as highly gifted. Harrison possessed such a vast intelligence that he was arrested on suspicion to overthrow the government. Harrison is much more intelligent, physically capable, and appealing to the eyes in comparison to the rest of society. Harrisons ability to tear the harnesses off his body and carry three hundred pounds of weight signifies his physical abilities.

He defies the laws of gravity and the laws of motion by leaping high enough to touch the thirty-foot ceiling. Harrison had the capability to outsmart the hindrances of those the H-G men constructed. Using the model of everyone being the same/equal, places a limitation on highly gifted students intellectual growth. This can cause issues in their psychological well-being. These limitations had an emotional affect on Harrison. Because he was arrested and isolated from the rest society, he decided to cause a rebellion and name himself as Emperor.

After breaking into the studio Harrison declares, Even as I stand here crippled, hobbled, sickened I am a greater ruler than any man who ever lived! Now watch me become what I can become! (Vonnegut, 1961, pg. 2) He was physically caged and mentally caged, which caused him despair. Concept 4: Multiple Intelligences The Multiple Intelligence Theory, developed by Howard Gardner, proposes that intelligent behavior does not arise from a single unitary quality of mind, but are generated from separate metamorphical pools of mental energy (Karnes & Stephens, 2008). This theory suggests there are eight different types of intelligence.

Those intelligences include, linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal and naturalist. An individual may display strengths in one area and weaknesses in a different area. Linguistic intelligence enables individuals to read, write, and speak well. Logical-mathematical intelligence encompasses logical thinking as well as mathematical and scientific problem solving. Spatial intelligence is displayed when an individual has the capacity to perceive the visual-spatial world accurately and to perform transformations on ones initial perceptions.

Musical intelligence allows one to produce and appreciate rhythm and pitch, as well as appreciate musical expression. Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence is the ability to control ones body movements and to handle objects skillfully. Interpersonal intelligence is the capacity to discern and respond appropriately to the moods, temperaments, motivations, and desires of other people. Intrapersonal intelligence is the ability to access to ones own feelings and the ability to discriminate among ones emotions.

Naturalist intelligence is the ability to recognize patterns in nature and differences among natural objects and life forms (Karnes & Stephens, 2008, 44-45). Harrison Bergeron displayed various intelligences of the Multiple Intelligence Theory. He displayed bodily-kinesthetic strength by jumping thirty feet into the air. He was also able to tear the harness and straps that were guaranteed to support five thousand pounds. In addition to having bodily-kinesthetic strength, he demonstrated logical-mathematical intelligence as well. He was able to problem solve by eluding others.

He also exhibited interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligence. He knew the desire of the ballerina, and knew of his inner hunger to break away from the chains of the government. He yearned for freedom and power. The Multiple Intelligences that Harrison exhibited impacted his emotions. He longed to be free of handicaps, and establish himself as Emperor. His rebellious nature wanted to force others to break the law and be free of their handicaps. He demonstrated this with the ballerina and musicians. After announcing himself as Emperor, he selected an Empress. This demonstrates his need to intermingle with others.

Concept 5: Triatric Theory The triatric theory proposes that intelligent behavior arises from a balance between analytical, creative, and practical abilities and that these abilities function collectively to allow individuals to achieve success within particular sociocultural contexts (Karnes & Stephens, 2008, pg. 44). The analytical abilities allow the individual to assess, analyze, compare, and contrast information. Creative abilities allow the individual to generate invention, discovery, and other creative endeavors.

Lastly, practical abilities connect each facet together by enabling the individual to generalize in the appropriate setting. In order to have successful intelligence the individual must utilize their strengths, and simultaneously compensate their weaknesses in any of the areas. The central feature of the triatric theory is adaptability both within the individual and the individual s sociocultural context (Karnes et. al, 2008). There are three subtheories of this model, called mechanisms. The individual must first have the competence to learn to do things. The second involves both planning the act, as well as the necessary steps.

The final mechanism involves implementing the action. In the story, Harrison illustrates the triatric theory. He exhibits strengths in the areas of analyzing and practicality. He is able to evaluate, analyze, compare and contrast. He demonstrates his analytical ability when the band begins to play. He realizes that in the beginning they arent playing to their full ability, and forcefully demands they play as he asked. The text states, He listened gravely, as though synchronizing their heartbeats with it (Vonnegut, 1961, pg. 3) This portion of the story validates his emotions.

He again makes decisions based on his current feelings. Hes angry when the band plays mediocre and joyful when he determines the music is to his liking. His vast intelligence of music and dance is manifested during this particular part as well. He knows the appropriate beat and synchronization of the music. Concept 6: Galtons Hereditary Genius British psychologist Francis Galton, investigated the work of Charles Darwin and the theory of natural selection. Darwin believed that natural selection applies to the mental traits because of the inherited changes of brain structure.

Galton reported that eminence ran within family. In his study, approximately 10% of the eminent individuals had at least one relative who was also eminent. Galton concluded that intellectual characteristics must also have a hereditary origin. He furthered his researched and concluded that the human race could be improved through selective breeding, coined as eugenics. He hypothesized that society could evolve in a positive direction if eminent individuals could be encouraged to intermarry and produce large numbers of children.

This suggested the opposite for those with mental defects. In Harrison Bergeron, above-average individuals were given handicaps so every individual would be considered equal in society. George, Harrisons father had above-average intelligence. He bears multiple governmental handicaps in order to repress his intelligence, especially his ability to analyze. Every twenty seconds, the transmitter would send out a sharp noise to disrupt his train of thought, and to keep him from thinking at a higher level. Based on Galtons study, Harrison is highly gifted based on hereditary origins.

Harrison would fall into that 10% of eminence. Georges traits were passed on to Harrison, even though Harrisons abilities are exponential. This example would affect the academic intelligence of the individual. Because George, Harrisons father possessed above-average intelligence, Harrison received those traits. Therefore, his eminent intelligence is passed down. George was able to analyze before the handicap, essentially those traits were inherited, and therefore Harrison is able to analyze effectively. Concept 7: Twice Exceptional

Twice exceptional individuals are those who are both gifted and have a learning disability (Rinn, 2008). These individuals can be grouped into four categories: (a) identified gifted students whose learning disability is undiagnosed, (b) identified learning disabled students whose giftedness is unrecognized, (c) students whose giftedness and disabilities are both identified, and (d) the student whose giftedness and disability have both been recognized (Karnes & Stephens, 2008, pg. 121). Twice-exceptional students are characterized as having advanced reasoning skills and the ability to generalize.

These students are also intelligent, impulsive, fail to complete assignments, poor study skills, and are highly motivated in areas of interest. In the story, its an abstract thought that those who are gifted are receiving a handicap, and now they are deemed as learning disabled. The announcer in the story also had a speech impediment. He was not able to deliver the important news because of the impediment. Harrison displays some of the characteristics of a twice exceptional individual. Harrison is intelligent, impulsive, and has advanced reasoning skills.

His impulsiveness and demonstrated when he escapes from jail and declares himself as Emperor. Individuals who are twice exceptional experience frustration when they arent able to be successful. Their self-efficacy must be encouraged. Academically, these students may have various learning styles. Concept 8: Fluid Intelligence Fluid abilities drive the individuals ability to think and act quickly, solve novel problems, and encode short-term memories. This intelligence can be described as the source of intelligence when that individual doesnt know what to do. Fluid abilities are the individuals biological components.

Fluid abilities change with age (Karnes & Stephens, 2008, pg. 43). Fluid intelligence is the ability to think and reason abstractly and solve problems. This ability is considered independent of learning, experience, and education. Examples of the use of fluid intelligence include solving puzzles and coming up with problem-solving strategies (http://psychology. about. com/od/cognitivepsychology/a/fluid-crystal. htm). In this story, Harrison displays his fluid intelligence by his ability to act quickly. He is able to escape from jail. He is also able to reason abstractly and solve problems.

He solved the problem of the band not playing correctly, even though he was rather rough. George also demonstrated fluid intelligence, even though it was marred due to the handicap. These examples demonstrate academic intelligence. Being able to complete an activity, when you dont know what to do is a true source of intelligence and common sense. Concept 9: Crystallized Intelligence Crystallized intelligence represents intentional learning. Crystallized intelligence is the knowledge you gain through instruction. Crystallized intelligence is learning from past experiences.

This type of knowledge is based upon facts. Crystallized intelligence is the ability to use skills, knowledge, and experience. It should not be equated with memory or knowledge, but it does rely on accessing information from long-term memory. Crystallized intelligence is indicated by a persons depth and breadth of general knowledge, vocabulary, and the ability to reason using words and numbers. It is the product of educational and cultural experience in interaction with fluid intelligence. Harrison demonstrates crystallized intelligence when he used his prior knowledge of music.

He knew the synchronization of beats, and the proper way the music should be conducted. He also used his prior knowledge of dancing, when he danced with the ballerina. Crystallized intelligence along with fluid intelligence work together to create academic knowledge for both long and short-term memories. Both are factors in the G Theory. Concept 10: PASS Theory In Das and Neglieris PASS theory, intelligence is divided into four interrelated cognitive processes, planning, attention-arousal, simultaneous processing, and successive planning (Karnes & Stephens, 2008, p. 45).

This theory centers around planning. Planning is the ability to make decisions about how to solve problems and perform actions. Essentially information can be processed in multiple ways through the use of planning. It involves setting goals, anticipating consequences, and using feedback. Planning also involves attention-arousal, simultaneous processing, and successive processing. Attention-arousal allows the individual to focus on one component, and not be distracted by others. Simultaneous processing allows the individual to integrate certain stimuli into an interrelated whole.

Information can be processed multiple ways through internal and external sources. In this story, Harrisons actions revolved around planning. He planned his escape from jail. After escaping from jail, he was determined to let the world know that he was the new emperor, and was essentially causing a rebellion. His goal was to free everyone from the chains of oppression. This example hypothetically affected his emotions more so than academics. His goal was to be free of the handicaps and rule the world. He yearned for power, and power stems from emotion.

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