In a world where a cruel equality has been reached, many people go through different levels of emotions which can be classified under Kohlberg’s Six Stages of Moral Development. They are categorized as: Obedience and Punishment Orientation, Individualism and Exchange, Good Interpersonal Relationships, Maintaining the Social Order, Social Contract and Individual Rights, and Universal Principles. They are handicapped in order to not advance and as humans grow older many of them slowly progress into different stages. However, a majority of people usually stop at Stage Three.
In the short story, Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut, George Bergeron’s moral development has reached a Stage Four. The story starts with George at a Stage One. He is at a Stage One because in the beginning of the story Hazel tells George to relax because he looks very tired. George on the other hand, decides he will not because he is worried about his punishment is if he breaks the rules. He says he would have to go to “prison and two thousand ollar fine for every ball” that was taken out of the canvas bag that is around his neck.
Hazel also states in the story that she would “make a good Handicapper General” and George replies saying that she would be “good as anybody else. ” This shows that he does not want to disobey the government’s rules and think for himself and rebel against it. He cares and respects the authorities and would not do anything that would result in punishment which prompts him from a Stage 2 to the next stage. As the story progresses, George reaches a Stage Three.
When Hazel and he are watching the ballerinas on the television, George starts to think about how “that maybe dancers shouldn’t be handicapped. ” This shows that George has feelings of injustice and that he cares about the way others are treated. After the death of Harrison, which is shown on television, he sees Hazel’s crying and cares enough about his wife’s feelings to ask why she is crying. After she replies, he tells her to “forget sad things” in order to make her feel better. This level of thinking then leads im to reach a Stage Four level of thinking.
George finally reaches a Stage Four level of thinking. He thinks about what he does and how it impacts the society. If he “tried to get away with” taking a few of the lead balls out of the canvas then “other peopled get away with it. ” It would then bring them “back to the dark ages again, with everybody competing against everybody else. ” In the story, his handicaps are painful but he doesn’t remove them because he believes that by changing the present it will cause everyone to rebel which will be a ig effect on the society.
He believes that when “people start cheating on laws” then “it’d fall all fall apart. ” George is a character with a variety of moral developments. He cares about his self-interests and doesn’t want to end up in Jail. Hazel and his ideas of Justice show his feelings of caring about others. Most importantly though, is his belief in the importance of his actions and how it affects society. Because of all these reasons, George has reached a Stage Four level of thinking. George Bergeron’s Moral Development By pbitra