Kurt Vonnegut’s (1922-2007, that’s him at left) “The Lie” is a painful story to read – especially if you can relate to Eli, the 13-year-old boy who finds himself at the center of the lie that serves as the title of this story.
However, there’s much to feel sympathetic about, too, in terms of the other two major characters – his dad, Dr. Remenzel, and his mom, Sylvia.
Can you relate to Eli?
Have you ever found yourself sinking into the quicksand of life?
Ever feel like the only way out was to alter the truth a bit?
Maybe omit the truth?
Maybe even lie?
Here’s the text in case you need it: The Lie - Text
Also, here are some supplemental materials that may help you better understand this short story…
- A visual interpretation of "The Lie"
- A link to the "Twilight Zone (1985)" episode titled "Examination Day"
Sometimes I feel like I totally understand this dark, satirical short story. And then other times I feel like I'm missing out on a deeper message that is just out of reach.
That's the brilliance of Vonnegut and the challenge of "Harrison Bergeron." As we read it in class, take some time to really open your mind to the possible topics and themes this short story evokes. Perhaps Vonnegut had something specific in mind, or maybe he knew that this tale would only evolve as society evolved.