In Kurt Vonnegut’s, Harrison Bergeron, and Malcolm Gladwell’s, Outliers: The Story of Success, “The Trouble with Geniuses” Part I & II, are both similar because they tell stories that are about geniuses and how they live their lives. Being a genius does not mean that life is simple, but that life is filled with disadvantages and you Just have to deal with the situations. In Outliers, the two main characters are Christopher Langan and Robert Oppenheimer are real people who struggle with their disadvantages, such as: excuses, appearance, IQs, and Their stories will be compared with Harrison
Bergeron’s life as another genius who is a fictional character. Christopher Langan is the world’s smartest man alive, at the age of sixty-one with an IQ of one hundred and ninety-five. Langan would appear in interviews, magazine articles, and TV shows such as lvs. 100, Likewise in Outliers, “Saget looked at Langen oddly, as if he were some kind of laboratory specimen. ” (70). Langan is the eldest of four brothers living with a single mother on a ranch house not having much but each other.
At age three Langan read comics, and at age five Langan was curious about his eligion, Langan’s mother’s boyfriend would abuse the boys, until one day Langan had enough, socked the boyfriend so hard, that he left and has never came back. Langan would never show up to any of classes but he would attend school for test days and he would ace the tests. Robert Oppenheimer is another character that Gladwell mentions on how he is a genius. In the third grade, Oppenheimer did lab experiments and in fifth grade, he study physics and chemistry.
Oppenheimer grew up in a wealthy neighborhood and he was involved with social activities. Oppenheimer had friends that were communist and he was not. Oppenheimer nrolled in Harvard, and then to Cambridge University for a degree in Physics. Oppenheimer’s tutor Patrick Blackett had forced Oppenheimer to study physics and to work on it for his whole day which Oppenheimer disliked and he wanted to change this torture. Oppenheimer had locked himself in a chemistry lab room and was plotting to poison his tutor, but instead of being expelled, Oppenheimer was sent to therapy to get help..
Oppenheimer had help America during War World II by inventing the atomic bomb that had made Japan forfeit the war. In Kurt Vonnegut’s story “Harrison Bergeron” society was a very important concept. It is described as a uturistic American society because it takes place in 2081. It is described as a communist structure, where if you break the law you have to suffer the consequences and suffer. Society is taken to a whole other level when it comes to the American’s Declaration of Independence.
The Amendments 211, 212, 213 to the Constitution states that “All men are created equal. ” This concept is taken literally where no one can be uglier, weaker, attractive, or slower than everyone else. Citizens that are gifted with higher intelligence and are brighter are punished and handicapped in order to be equal to the rest of the citizens. They created a team called “The Handicapper General” and they enforce the law. Intelligent citizens are forced to wear a radio on their head to keep them from being different from others.
In addition, citizen who are considered beautiful are forced to wear a mask to hide their face from others so Bergeron was taken away from their parents at a very young age because he was brighter than most people. He was different from what society has as an aspect of. Bergeron was consider weird for being smarter than everyone else because he kept on getting A’s while everyone else was failing miserably for having an IQ of sixty and aving to stay behind grades for little knowledge. Bergeron was not welcomed at school for his success and not accepted by his peers and teachers.
At age sixteen he was taken from his parents and he was held hostage and was strapped down, he wasn’t able to leave the facility they took him to. Few years later he escapes from this facility and disrupts a ballerina performance and his mother is watching him on television, he claimed that he would destroy anything that got in his way. Bergeron had planted a bomb below the auditorium of the ballet show and he threatened nyone that disagreed with him, so everyone watched Bergeron take over the show. All the citizens were handicapped as it is so to go against someone who was a genius and a stronger man would not be ideal.
As his mother watches her son getting killed on stage she starts to gets emotional when all of a sudden she forgets and tells her husband George she’s sad, but she can’t remember why. One of a disadvantage that the genius had faced was excuses. When Langen was enrolled in college at Reed College in Oregon and Montana State, he was expelled from both schools for not having a good reason of his situations. The Langen’s first excuse was that his mother had forgotten to fill out his financial aid papers, “Then I had lost that scholarship….. My mother was suppose to fill out those financial statements for the renewal of that scholarship. (93). So Langen could not continue on his education with Reed College. When he was attending Montana University, his car had broken down because his brothers had borrowed his car and they had driven recklessly that damage the car itself. Langen did not have enough money to fix his car, so he had no transportation, and he was sure enough expelled from this University. As for Oppenheimer, he would inform his professors about his situations and they had believed him, but it could be because of Oppenheimer’s communication skills is greater than Langen’s excuses were.
Langen had lack communication skills because he had come from a ranch lifestyle to a suburb lifestyle with no knowledge at all. As Oppenheimer grew up into a rich community, where everyone had knew each other and had get to gathers with social communities. In the Harrison Bergeron movie, Bergeron had went through an excuse was being the smartest person alive in the time the movie had set place in. Bergeron was considered a genius for having an IQ higher than one-hundred, than the others who have IQs less than one-hundred.
Bergeron would be made of fun of being a genius and everyone would wonder, “Why is Bergeron acting this way or talking a certain way? ‘ (Harrison Bergeron Movie) There would be some reasons in which Bergeron could not be the same as the others, but he was protected by the government. Bergeron had live with his family, as the others in is house, were affected by the wire hand band. So when Bergeron had left and did his thing on television, no one had ecognized who he was and when Bergeron was hurt, no one would seemed to care or anything, So Harison suffers and so does his family as well.
Both these stories have a similar concept of how geniuses are treated and their disadvantages. One of the when it had come down to the Divergence Test, they had failed miserably by not coming up with any imagination of the use of a blanket and a brick. “It requires you to use your imagination and take your mind in as many different directions as possible. ” (86-87). Another study was when high school students were at least the top hirty of their class, smartest of America, top SAT scores, and GPA of 4. 0 or above, yet when applying to Stanford or any top schools, at least ten percent were accepted, why?
Well it could be the fact when writing their letter of recommendation; they had little use of social aspects and did not complete with others was well then those other ten percent who were involved and did have high social class. The relationship between success and IQ works only up to a point once someone has reached an IQ of somewhere around one-twenty, having additional IQ points does not seem to ranslate into any measurable real-advantage. In addition, in Outliers the author Malcolm Gladwell talks about society and how it impacts your life and the people around you.
He talks about “practical intelligence” which means the ability to change in different situations that life gives you. For example, saying the right thing to the right person in the right situation. Furthermore, to explain this concept better he describes parenting styles by a sociologist named Annette Lareau. Annette Lareau was a sociologist, from 1993-1995. She had interest in parenting styles, racial issues, and social class. She conducted a research on parenting styles, it was called concerted cultivation vs. natural growth. She and her researchers studied over 80 families. Lareu instructed the families to pay attention to their kids.
To spend time with them when they had free time. She called this strategy “the family dog. ” Annette discovered that the working class parents pursed an approach called “accomplishment of natural growth. ” Whereas middle class families used an approach called “concerted cultivation. ” The working class family, had their children exposed mostly to the outdoors, more often you would find them playing with their riends from their neighborhood or siblings. And as for parents in the working class, they spent more time working and waiting for their transportation, they didn’t have time to spend with their children.
Working class parents also tended to be more authoritarian. These kids didn’t question anyone with authority. For example, their teachers, principals, or anyone with a higher position. These children were described as quiet, mellow, and uninvolved. They called this parenting style “accomplishment of natural growth. ” Furthermore, children in the middle class were completely different rom the working class. Their families had more time to spend with them whereas working class didn’t. These families treated their children like “the family dog. ” They were accompanied by their parents to their appointment, sport practices, and school activities.
These parents made their kids go from one activity to the other. The children in the middle class families were more involved in after school activities and outside clubs. These parents adapted a strategy called “concerted cultivation. ” As a result these children questioned authority more and were less quiet. Annette gives an example of this. She describes a little boy named Alex that comes from a middle class family. He was being taken to the doctors by his mother, and during the car ride she tells her son to not be shy and to tell him anything he wants.
Moreover, while Alex was in the room at the doctors he asked him questions without being shy and he that Alex certainly understood that he was “worthy of adult interest” like Annette says. As a result Annette says that there is no strategy that is morally better than the other. Children in that grew up in the working class families were more inventive, better behaved, and self-reliant. Whereas in the middle class family, children grew up to be more confident and had a huge advantage in the professional and educational setting.
In Outliers, Gladwell compares Annette Lareau’s research with the case study of Christopher Langan vs. Oppenheimer. Oppenheimer came from a wealthy family. His father was a doctor and a successful man. Oppenheimer was able to attend some of the best school back then at his time. When Oppenheimer was in school he tried to kill one of his tutor but he convinced the administrators of his school to not expel him. Whereas Christopher Langan grew up from a poor family nd an abusive father. Even though his IQ exceeded Einstein’s he didn’t have the same advantage as Oppenheimer.
Christopher’s mother didn’t sign his financial papers on time and he wasn’t able to attend that school at all. Langan did not have the same social skills as Oppenheimer did. In “Harrison Bergeron,” Harrison was really smart but was unable to convince the law to let him go. He suffered from being too smart from everyone else and he was punished. This relates to Gladwell’s concept on why geniuses suffer. Furthermore, Gladwell outlines that geniuses are looked as different from others. For example, in Outliers, “Saget looked at Langen oddly, as if he were some kind of laboratory specimen” (70).
Gladwell describes how being too smart makes people look at you differently. Likewise in “Harrison Bergeron” Harrison was not welcomed at school for his success and not accepted by his peers and his teachers. This is how geniuses are looked at by society. In conclusion, Gladwell outlines many issues that geniuses go though. He explains that even geniuses who know everything, lack of social skills. Moreover, a high IQ means nothing when putting it into real life situations. In addition, geniuses face many issues with society ecause the of the way that they are looked at.
This is how geniuses in “Outliers” and “Harrison Bergeron” have similar characteristics that Gladwell outlines. Gladwell, Malcolm. Outliers: The Story of Success. New York, New York: Back Bay Books, 2010. Print Singh, Praval. “Bra]eshwar. ” Bra]eshwar RSS. 1 Sept. 2009. 1 Nov. 2013 . Tuttle, Chandler Harrison Bergeron 2081. United States. Film. 2009 Pittman, Bruce. Harrison Bergeron movie. United States. Film. 1995 Vonnegut, Kurt. Harrison Bergeron. 1961. Print. Zydatiss, KolJa. “Effective Holistic Education. ” Effective Holistic Education. 10 Feb. 2012. 3 NOV. 2013 .