Censorship - Language Arts- Connect
The following two short stories will assist students in understanding the multiple methods of censorship and their effects: “The Censors” by Luisa Valenzuela and “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
- “The Censors” (Los censores) by Luisa Valenzuela centers on Juan, who initially takes a job with the government’s censorship office in order to intercept a letter he mailed.
Read the story in class with the students and engage in a discussion using the following questions:
- In what way were you and your teammates just like Juan when playing the CENSOR game? What were your goals/missions as you played the game and what was Juan’s goal?
- What was ironic about Juan in the story?
- What might Juan have been thinking when he was arrested?
- How did Juan change as he moved up in his job? (Why did Juan keep being promoted in his government job? What qualities allowed him to succeed?)
- In working for the government, was Juan doing what was moral and just?
- Did he die for a good cause? Explain your answer with details from the text.
- Write down the characters’ names (George Bergeron, Hazel Bergeron, Harrison Bergeron, Ballerina, and Handicapper General) on a sheet of paper and list, while reading the story, the methods and ways in which the characters are censored or restricted.
- Do we (country, community, school, parents, you) censor others for fairness or for equality as well? If so, how, or who is censored? Who is our “Handicapper General”?
- What is equality?
- How can restrictions lead to equality?
- How can restrictions impede equality?
- What does Harrison teach us?
- What does the Handicapper General teach us?
- How does this story change your thoughts about censorship?