Harlan Ellison Essay, Research Paper
Harlan Ellison is a writer who has a straightforward mind and will say what he believes without caring what other people think. When he was a child, parents told their children that Jewish people are bad people. Considering that Harlan Ellison is Jewish, many of the children from his third grade class would tease him and beat him up. He could never bring himself to tell his mother the real reason why he was beat up, and just kept making her think it was because he was a smart aleck. At the age of thirteen, Ellison ran away from home and joined a carnival. Growing up, Ellison had a very corrupted childhood, and everyone told him that everything was his fault. Now, as a writer, he is saying that just because everyone will say something is true, it doesn?t mean that it is true. Many of his stories are about how people should think for themselves and not let the government or media program ?what?s really going on? into your head. He thinks that people should stand up for what they think is right, not what other people say is right.
One story by Ellison that shows this point is ?Repent Harlequin,? said the Tick-Tock Man. In this story, the main character, Harlequin doesn?t want to be like everyone else. In his society, everyone is run by time. Time controls their lives and for every second a person is late, a second is removed from their life. The Tick-Tock man enforces this rule. Harlequin doesn?t agree with the rule and he doesn?t care what the other people think or do about it. Instead, he doesn?t let the Tick-Tock man scare him and is late for everything that he does whether anyone likes it or not. He is willing to give up his life for something he believes in.
Another example is in the story Reaping the Whirlwind. In this story, Ellison shows how people are disillusioned by the world. For example, a person faithful to their religion can be disillusioned from their beliefs because of what other people say. He also says that when he was beaten up as a child he couldn?t tell anyone why. ?How could I tell her it was because I was a Jew and they had been taught Jews were something loathsome?? Another example he gives is from a letter written to him from John Chambers. Chambers writes to Ellison that the dedication in his book Alone Against Tomorrow was wrong. Ellison dedicated the book to the four Kent-State University students who were shot at a rally against the Vietnam War. Chambers says this and he doesn?t even know what really happened. One of the students who were killed wasn?t even participating in the rally. Unknowing of what really happened, Chambers says that those students deserved to die. And Chambers really believed that what he said was true because the government portrays communists as evil.
In the article Revealed at Last! What Killed the Dinosaurs and you don?t Look so Terrific Yourself, Ellison talks about how the media is causing people to mix up what is and what isn?t real. One example he gives is when people will mix up an actor with their role on a television show. Some people only know them as the character on the television show and don?t know what the person is really like, only what their role is like. And they think the role is of a real person. ?For her, fantasy and reality were one and the same.? Too many people think that just because it happened on television, it really happened. This is what makes the television an easy place to cover up what?s going on with what the government wants us to think is going on.
In all of these stories, ?Repent Harlequin,? said the Tick-Tock Man, Reaping the Whirlwind and Revealed at Last! What Killed the Dinosaurs and you don?t Look so Terrific Yourself, Ellison is telling us how we are being brain-washed and he is giving some real life examples. Yet still, so many people are completely oblivious to the concept of how the government and media are controlling our minds. They have us right where they want us, and if we don?t do anything about it, we?re going to stay here. This is one of the biggest problems with society. More then half of the time we don?t know for a fact what is going on in the world, so whatever we are told, we believe it.