The film “2081” proves to be a more effective means of narration than the original text of “Harrison Bergeron.” The film has more subtle nuances that requires the viewer to watch several times to find, such as Hazel humming the tune that the musicians were playing at the end of the film. In comparison to Vonnegut’s almost bland writing style, the attention to detail is a startling shock. It also implies that Hazel has the ability to remember things beyond the short bursts. The characters are far more developed, not only Hazel but also her husband. George also appears more aloof in the movie, and through flashbacks seemingly remembers the day Harrison was taken. This allows the viewer to relate more seeing as it adds more emotion to the piece. Though the text serves as a splendid means of conveying “Harrison Bergeron,” the film version provides more interest and is thus more effective.
David Suzuki’s “Racism” is a piece which contrasts how far we’ve come in the fight against discrimination with how far we can keep going. Despite the many adversities Suzuki faced, his experiences proved that there were always those compassionate enough to overlook the simple difference of race and that this is something incredibly powerful. One such example is when Suzuki’s father meets a Chinese cook on the boat “who saw through the racial hatred and [treats his] father as a fellow human being.” Although the Japanese and Chinese have been bitter rivals ever since the beginnings of the first world war and those feelings continue to perpetuate this day, the cook offered help and proved that people can rise above the cruelty which is racism. This scene particularly stuck out to me, because I am a Chinese Canadian and I am fully aware of the enmity between Japan and China, and it really hit home for me. When I thought about how people could overlook decades of bitter resentment and still be kind, it made me glad that those kinds of people exist. Another great example is when a Mountie allows Suzuki’s father to keep his fishing rod and instead turns in a stick, overlooking Suzuki’s mistake in the process. This is powerful because “it was an incredible act of generosity on the officer’s part and helped ease a lot of [his] pain at failing to do [his] job” (26). The discrimination against the Japanese was as strong as ever, yet a white male allowed them their basic privileges and even let them continue to fish. It can be inferred that the Mountie was posted near Suzuki’s family thus knew that the Japanese did not receive much food anyway, and allowed them to continue fishing. It is these acts of kindness despite the discrimination we are facing that speak out the most.
Stuart McLean’s “Emil,” Chimamanda Adichie’s “The Danger of a Single Story,” and Budge Wilson’s “The Metaphor,” are all tied together beautifully by one common theme— knowing only one side to a story can only harm you. Dave realizes when he cannot find the books Emil lent him, thinking “it bothered him that Emil could keep track of the scrap of paper, and that he couldn’t keep track of the book” (114). Dave misjudges Emil and it turns out he is the one who forgot about the library fines rather than Emil. This speaks volumes because it shows how people are quick to judge others and base all their interactions around that judgment. The same situation happens with Charlotte’s mother towards Miss Hancock, the “brassy Miss Hancock whom [she] met at the Home and School meeting” (222). Charlotte’s mother doesn’t get to know Miss Hancock, and instead she judges her based on her first impression. This applies to real-world situations too, seeing as in this busy age, ‘first impressions are everything.’ It’s so easy to see only one side of a person and only understand parts of them without seeing the whole picture. The big take-away of last week’s classes is that we should try and see several sides to a story and become all the wiser.
A key component as to what makes us human is empathy. In “Emil” by Stuart McLean, Morley comes to the realization that compassion is the basis of understanding another individual and strengthening a friendship through her interactions with the titular character. After finding Emil in the Schellenberger’s garden late one night, she asks to see his garden and “for an instant he was clear and she could see him- the real person.” (116) From the start, despite others’ misgivings, Morley set out to understand Emil, and this makes all the difference. Morley’s empathy helps to build her relationship with Emil, leading to a deeper understanding of his wants and fears. Through her empathetic actions, the character Morley is able to strengthen her relationships and capacity to connect with others.