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The prize of encountering new and diverse people is that sometimes you can find your own person right away, but most of the time you have to dive into everyone’s character to find an individuality similar to your own. This idea applies when comparing personalities from various stories: distinctive traits in characters can be either obvious or difficult to identify. The stories “Harrison Bergeron” and “Everyday Use” are completely distinct from one another, particularly their protagonists, Harrison and Maggie. These two characters are distinct not only for apparent purposes, but also for reasons that can only be discovered through profound analysis. Harrison and Maggie reveal contrasting traits: Harrison is self-reliant, while Maggie is a conformist; Harrison exploits his handicap to make himself stronger, while Maggie allows it to devastate her; Harrison is rational, while Maggie is reluctant.
The characters’ attitudes towards observing the rules
The willingness to obey authority is not the same for Harrison and Maggie: Harrison chooses to be autonomous, while Maggie prefers to comply with instructions. In the book “Harrison Bergeron”, Harrison is a fugitive convict who seeks revenge on the current regime for depriving him of his liberty. He plans to launch a revolution and to do so, he is going to disrupt the ballet and proclaim himself an emperor. The government in this story is extremely severe about equality, so severe that it destroys individual creativity and liberty. Harrison is a free-thinking adolescent who opposes the government’s methods. Maggie, by contrast, does not have such a powerful desire to go her own path as Harrison. In “Everyday Use,” Maggie’s sister, Dee, comes home for the first time after a long absence. Maggie is frightened by her sister’s bossy behavior, so she attempts to sneak away when she meets her sister for the first time. Rather than keep going into the house, Maggie obeys her mother and stays against her will. Her body language “digging a well in the sand with her toe” indicates that Maggie does not want to remain, but she feels bad about not listening to her mother. Harrison and Maggie demonstrate contrasting attitudes in terms of power, as Harrison prefers to take the initiative and Maggie chooses to comply with orders.
The protagonists’ perception of their physical disabilities
Harrison and Maggie are both handicapped by their looks, but Harrison leverages his limitation to become empowered, and Maggie permits it to impact her well-being. In “Harrison Bergeron,” the government established physical disabilities to minimize the opportunities of those who are more remarkable or unique. From the red clown nose to the huge glasses, three hundred pounds of degrading and redundant metal weighs down Harrison in government restrictions. Trying to take power into his own hands, Harrison states: “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”. Harrison subsequently continues to remove his handicaps before viewers and broadcast television live. He makes use of this as an illustration to highlight how much strength he has within himself, regardless of his humiliating appearance. Harrison takes his government-imposed disability as a reason to gain in strength; he doesn’t let his shortcomings stand on his path to reaching his ambition of becoming emperor. Maggie likewise suffers a physical disability. She was the survivor of a horrific fire that left her with terrible burn scars. In “Everyday Use,” when Dee returns home, Maggie’s insecurities become even more apparent at this point. Maggie has always been ashamed of her disfigured body, but she feels even more so when she meets her sister. Dee is gorgeous and unusual, and it’s impossible not to notice her. The realization of her scars causes Maggie to shrink into corners instead of going out into the world. She is unable to rise up and do something remarkable as long as she considers herself ugly, contrary to Harrison, who used his disabilities as strength.
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The differences in the intellectual abilities of the leading characters
The intelligence of Harrison and Maggie is different, because Harrison is extremely smart and Maggie is slow-witted. In “Harrison Bergeron,” Harrison was successful in exercising his powers to break out of jail. His parents, Hazel and George, are watching TV when an announcement about their son comes on. The ballerina furiously praises Harrison to the audience: “He is a genius and an athlete, is under-handicapped, and should be regarded as highly dangerous”. Harrison was in a position to exploit his brain to separate himself from the oppressive regime. To do so demands considerable skill, reasoning, and preparation. No average individual could have accomplished a mission of this scale, particularly as all smart citizens are compelled to be complacent by disability devices. The idea that Harrison was handicapped and managed to escape prison is extremely improbable. His skills are superior to the state system, and that is the reason he was successful in escaping. Maggie, however, is not remarkably clever versus Harrison. In “Everyday Use,” the mother introduces Maggie and is completely straightforward in her characterization. The mother is blunt: “She knows she is not bright. Like good looks and money, quickness passed her by”. Maggie is aware that she is neither the cleverest nor the brightest, and realizing that this is the case only lowers Maggie’s confidence. Being ignorant prevents Maggie from achieving meaningful goals, accomplishing things, and building a fulfilling life. Harrison was effective to use his experience to his benefit by avoiding jail, while Maggie’s tardiness forces her to experience a humble life with her mother.
Harrison and Maggie have altered attitudes toward power, their appearance, and their education. Harrison chooses to break the law and be the boss, while Maggie obeys what everyone else is saying. Both characters have disfigured looks, but Harrison exploits his disabilities to display his power, while Maggie retreats in front of her burn scars. Finally, Harrison is described as an adolescent mastermind, while Maggie is a plain-spoken person. The distinctions between these two individuals might be thought to be apparent, but then again, some of them are not readily visible; nonetheless, Harrison and Maggie are indeed contrasting personalities.