The irony is that they live in a world that had gotten rid of the most severe dangers - sickness and death - and yet this comfort only elucidates the meaningless of their lives. They escape from the misery of their wasted, useless days by watching a serial show called The McGarvey Family , which Gramps has been watching for one hundred and twelve years. Just before Gramps catches Lou appearing to pour out his anti-gerasone, Lou overhears the episode wrapping up with the words: "Thus ends the 29,st chapter in the life of your neighbors and mine, the McGarveys" The announcer's voice points out the parallel between the lives of the McGarvey family and those of the Schwartz family, all of which seem to go on forever without ever producing anything of note.
The theme of overpopulation that is prevalent throughout Vonnegut's short fiction appears here again: in this case, the drug anti-gerasone has enabled everyone on Earth to live an indefinitely long life by preventing the aging process.
There is simply not enough room on the planet for all the people who are still alive and refuse to die. It is a hallmark of Vonnegut's comic science fiction that wonderful inventions only illustrate the ugliness of human nature, and this story provides a perfect instance of that, especially when we learn at the end that Gramps has in fact decided not to die. Instead, he only wanted to have even more of the family's limited resources for himself. Rather than thinking of his family's discomfort, he looks out only for himself, even ordering the new super-anti-gerasone that will reverse his aging process so he can live even longer.
Of course, Vonnegut is no idealist, and his world's comfort comes at the price of certain controls. Through Em and Lou's expository conversation, we learn that the government has raised taxes for the purpose of funding defense and old-age pensions. This theme of an overpowering, controlling government is common throughout Vonnegut's work, and is often linked to the problem of population control. The most immediate question this situation raises concerns the environment, the question of how humans can continue to take advantage of the planet's resources without destroying them. In this story, the answer is that we make compromises, making our lives miserable through over-crowding and limited food for the sake of survival.
The story does not answer which option is better, but does suggest that we cannot have it all. This situation also evokes the theme of individual identity, which gets lost amongst so many people. Though we only see the Schwartz apartment, it serves as a microcosm of a world where individuals get lost to the crowd, unable to distinguish themselves. Anti-gerasone is actually a symbol of sameness; it makes everyone the same age and wipes out distinctions in appearance. Most grotesque is that everyone wants to be this way. It is a rhetorical question. Thanks to the messages the population has been receiving from the media and government, the answer is obviously yes.
Again, Vonnegut presents a situation where an ostensibly positive situation also has a demented flipside. Vonnegut's tone is ironic throughout the story; he uses the characters to point out how ridiculous this extension of everyone's lives has become.
Gramps Short Stories And Tall Tales
For instance, when Em suggests diluting Gramps's anti-gerasone for the first time, Lou scolds her, saying that such a thing would be "against Nature" The dramatic irony is that this society has already configured an entirely unnatural situation. The point here is that mankind tends to justify its manipulation of the environment as 'natural,' rather than face the reality of what he is doing. Another example of irony is the situation the Schwartz family discovers in jail: it is much more comfortable than the home they had been inhabiting, since they have their own private cells with beds and toilets.
Overall, it seems that humans were in such desperate fear of mortality that they flipped the world on its head, and worst of all, do not even realize it. In the context of the short story, what should the future look like? What implications does this story have for how people and the government should act? In the short-story, Harrison Bergeron, the future is a place of equality in every area. Note, this equality only applies to the "regular" citizen With whom do you think Vonnegut sympathizes in the story?
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More filters. Sort order. Oct 01, Teri Miller rated it it was amazing. Very good short story. I was a bit surprised at how so much story fit into such a few pages. The brevity, concise wording, no fancy magical or technical brouhaha all works.
Read This Very Short Story About What It's Like To Be An Aging Werewolf
Gramps would approve. Dec 01, Bella Bloom rated it it was amazing. Great job at flexing the flow. I didn't have time to think about where it was going, the story went where you wanted it to go; I followed. Lisa rated it really liked it Apr 15, Randy added it Oct 20, Reuben Roelle added it Jan 15, There are no discussion topics on this book yet.
Gramps: A Time Travel Short Story
I use Gramps to record all my data and would now like to add short biographies to each person. That way I could keep all my information in one place and then write a custom report to generate a document on each person. Yes, I would use "notes" to create a biography for each person.
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Then, if you want to, you can create a "detailed ancestral report" for the person in question and as many generations of ancestors as you would like. This form of report lists all the "person notes" that you have written for that individual below their personal information. Home Questions Tags Users Unanswered. How to add a biography to a person in Gramps? Ask Question. Is the best way to use notes, e.