Harrison Bergeron Film Adaptation Exercise:
1) First read the short story, Harrison Bergeron, by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (posted). Read it again carefully.
2) Next watch the short film 2081 by Chandler Tuttle in 2010. SHORT FILM: 2081
3) Then, watch the feature film-length adaptation by Bruce Pittman.
FEATURE FILM: Harrison Bergeron
4) Finally, respond to the following writing prompts in short essay form in MLA format. (you can number each response in individually, though quality matters more than quantity) Remember to introduce your topic and the story/author, films/directors, etc., to the reader and to cite your sources. Write for a general academic peer audience, as if your response would be published in a journal. Don’t reference “our class” or assume that your teacher is the reader.
REMEMBER to use MLA format and include a Works Cited page. You need to cite the short story, the short film, the feature film, the Moore & Gillette model, and any other sources used.
WRITING RESPONSE PROMPTS:
1) Thinking back to our discussion of theme, what key ideas is this story setting forth? To expand and explore your discussion: When it comes to schools or other organizations, do they have a responsibility to ensure equality or in maximizing individual talents? Are there examples of forced equality today? Where do you stand on this idea? What are the pros and cons of equality policies? What did the American Founders mean by “All men are created equal…”?
2) In terms of character archetypes and the King/Warrior/Magician/Lover (KWML) model, when you read the story, how would you characterize Harrison Bergeron on each of the four quadrants of the model? How are these archetypes reflected in the two film adaptations? Does Harrison’s characterization shift in either or both adaptation compared to the print story? Describe and explain why you think the filmmaker(s) made these choices.
3) Think about how you would adapt this story for film. Consider the wide array of discursive techniques available to you in filmmaking. What discursive choices or changes would you make in your own adaptation of the story? What would be your intent with these choices? Would you take liberties with the story as Pittman did in his feature length adaptation, or stay closer to the source material by Vonnegut? Offer your creative vision.