An Analysis of the Story Shame by Dick Gregory, Harrison Bergeron

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The following stories all contained dreams and disillusionments. In the story written by Dick Gregory, “Shame” a poor black child has a dream to be accepted in his society and is penalized for doing so. Furthermore, in the story “Harrison Bergeron” written by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. depicts a story of a 14 year old boy living in a futuristic “equal” society, wanting a change in the way he lived and was killed for doing so. The last story, “The Kugelmass Episode” written by Woody Allen is about Kugelmass’s dream which turns into a terrible situation as he is stuck in an old Spanish textbook running for his life. Each of the authors portrayed how the main characters’ vision consequentially put many hardships upon their lives.

Much disaster has been caused by people’s dreams blocking their reality. This is shown in the story “Shame”. In the story “Shame”, written by Dick Gregory depicts himself, a poor black boy, living in a dream that he is like everyone else. This causes him many different problems which hurt his existence. Dick Gregory hates the way his life is and wants to live in a world which he creates in his head, so that he can be accepted in his society and liked by girl of his dreams, Helene Tucker. He tells the reader how he washes his clothes everyday so that he wouldn’t smell in class. He also tells the reader how he would get sick a lot since he had to wear the clothes whether they were wet or dry due to the fact that those were the only clothes that he had.

He wanted to feel that he had a father and by doing that he would show off by “topping off” what Helene Tucker’s father would give to the Community Chest. The teacher was asking everyone how much his or her father would give and purposely skipped Dick. Dick raises his hand and says, “You forgot me… My daddy said he’d give fifteen dollars”. He is mocked by the teacher when she turns to him and says, “We are collecting this money for you and your kind… And furthermore we all know that you don’t have a daddy.” After that day he never wanted to return to school and felt shame everywhere he went. This seven year old boy, who dreamt of a better world, bares a striking resemblance to Harrison Bergeron’s yearning for social change.

The story Harrison Bergeron written by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. is about an “equal” society in which everyone is totally equal. For example if someone had a beautiful talent to share with the world that person had to imperfect the talent in someway so that it would be legal in that society, such as making someone who was extremely pretty wear a hideous mask. In this story there is a couple named Hazel and George who show the reader how many people lived in that society. Hazel is a nave person who is unable to comprehend things describing to the reader how a typical person in that society is. Those who are “the unfortunate such as George that have the ability to comprehend and realize thing or any other “inequality” are penalized by having to wear a handicapper.

Harrison Bergeron was a fourteen year old, who escaped from jail “where he was held on suspicion of plotting to overthrow the government.” He took a stand one day, by going on a televised event, removing his mask, making the musician play the most beautiful music, making the girl with the ugliest mask on take it off to show off her beauty to the world and finishing it off by dancing so magnificently in front of the world who were watching the televised event. He was then shot and killed due to the fact that he wanted to instill a notion of a beauty in a beauty-less society so that hopefully in the future they would reform the amendments. This which happened to this young and courageous boy is very similar to a story of a man named Kugelmass who wanted more excitement in his life.

“The Kugelmass Episode” written by Woody Allen is a fantastic story of a greedy, ugly, and hairy man which wanted more to his life than he already had. Kugelmass is a city college professor that had an “oaf” as a wife. He was “up to his neck in alimony and child support.” He hated his life and the way it was so he went out to search for a beautiful woman that he could have an affair with. A magician named Persky heard about this and immediately called Kugelmass. With his magic he transported Kugelmass into a story with a woman named Emma Bovary. Kugelmass appears in Emma’s bedroom, which began his illicit relationship with his “new woman”.

Kugelmass repeatedly goes back and forth into the novel and develops a truly intimate relationship with Emma. Emma then wants to see what his world is about and get her wish. His wife then confronts him and asks him where he keeps on disappearing to. Kugelmass keeps Emma in a hotel and takes her out to different places and restaurants. When she wants to go back the Persky cannot send her back. Emma proposes and says, “If you can’t send me back marry me.” He keeps on urging the magician to fix the problem so that he can send her back. \

The magician sends her back and Kugelmass swears that he will never cheat on his wife again. Few weeks pass and he comes back to the magician for more. He is sent into a novel, and afterwards the magician’s house burns down destroying everything. With all of the confusion Kugelmass was sent into a Spanish Textbook and was chased by Spanish words for the rest of his life. Due to Kugelmass’s greedy behavior, he created an even more stressful life for himself.

All of the stories are dealing with characters that have similar problems, such as hurting themselves as they try to cope with the environment which they are living in. This is shown in The Kugelmass Episode when Kugelmass’s dream turns topsy-turvy as he is trapped in a Spanish textbook with tener” a hairy irregular verb” running over him. Furthermore, in the story “Harrison Bergeron”, the 14 year old boy was killed since he turned his dream into reality.

Cite this paper

An Analysis of the Story Shame by Dick Gregory, Harrison Bergeron. (2023, May 15). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/an-analysis-of-the-story-shame-by-dick-gregory-harrison-bergeron/

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