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Short Story Essay Sample

Fear has controlled man’s view of society for centuries. Whether it’s fear of racism or distress of not being accepted, it can control the mind and overshadow the feelings of one’s self.

“Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut and “The Children of the Corn” by Stephen King both portray the constant state of anxiety in their societies because of the strictness of religion and the harshness of the government.

There are many reasons why religion creates suspicion in the general public. For instance, When Burt goes into a church, “He opened the book to the first wide, lined sheet. A child had done the lettering, he saw immediately. In places an ink eraser had been carefully used, and while there were no misspellings, the letters were large and childishly made, drawn rather than written” (King 13). As Burt was looking in the church for anything useful he comes across this book with names of children written in it and how they all seen to die at the age of 19. This quote is unique because everything is still documented in the church by children even though the town is abandoned which proves the religion is very significant to the children’s lives. In addition, when Isaac, the leader of the children, talks to them, “‘ So now is the Age of Favour lowered from 19 plantings and harvestings to eighteen,’ Isaac went on relentlessly” (King 14). When He Who Walks Behind The Rows had to kill Burt when the children couldn’t, it made him think that the children aren’t obeying his command so he lowered the death age to 18 instead of 19. This quote is unique because it shows how religion is everything to the children even though their God is harsh to them. Furthermore, When Burt finds a piece of paper with the names of children on it, “He put the car in gear as he drove up the corner. A dead stoplight hung overhead, swinging in a faint breeze. To the left was a neat white church. The grass was cut. Neatly kept flowers grew beside the flagged path up the the door.” (King 10). When Burt and his wife, Vicky, enter the town they notice that every other building in the town look as if it had not been used in a while, though the church look brand new. This quote is unique because it portrays the importance of religion in the community. Though religion is necessary and basic, when taken too seriously suspicion and distrust can arise.


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The strict rules that govern a nation establishes the constant state of fear among the people. For instance, when Kurt Vonnegut describes how equal everyone is: “Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th 212th and 213th Amendments to the Constitution and the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General” (Vonnegut 7). After many years of everyone being unequal in many different areas, the government decided to create new Amendments to the Constitution to finally make everyone in society equal. This quote is unique because it displays the harshness of the government in the futuristic society. In addition, When Hazel, George’s wife, suggests that he should take out a few of the lead balls: “‘Two years in prison and two thousand dollars fine for every ball I took out,’ said George. ‘I don’t call that a bargain’” (Vonnegut 9). When Hazel sees the George is looking tired, she suggests that he take out a few of the lead balls that were pad locked around his neck even though she doesn’t know the consequences when done. This quote is unique because it portrays the government’s lack of reason with humanity. Furthermore, when Harrison Bergeron, Hazel and George’s son, is shown on TV: “And to offset his looks, the H-G men required that he wear at all times a red rubber ball for a nose, keep his eyebrows shaved off, and cover his even white teeth with black caps at snaggle-tooth random” (Vonnegut 11). When Hazel and George are watching TV they notice their son on TV because he has escaped prison and how he has to wear all of these heavy gadgets to make him seem equal to everybody else even though he is only 14. This quote is unique because it displays that even though Harrison is only 14 years of age, the government still makes him follow the same difficult rules as everyone else. Though Harrison Bergeron later was killed for escaping prison, it proved that the harshness of the government would continue to brainwash the community from challenging the ways of law.

Both Harrison Bergeron and the children of the corn portray fear as continuous battle in their lives that never ends. The constant threat strict rules and a weakened social structure destroys their willpower to succeed. Humans throughout history have battle through fear their entire lives, though they don’t know that terror is never ending battle that has consumed the world of desperation.

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