"Repent, Harlequin!" Said the Ticktockman - Wikipedia
Detailed Review Summary of 'Repent, Harlequin!' Said …
In Harlan Ellison's short story "'Repent, Harlequin!' said the Ticktockman" the Harlequin's first act of terrorism is described as follows: "He had tapped the first domino in the line, and one after another, like chik chik chik, the others had fallen." "'Repent, Harlequin!' said the Ticktockman" posits a ridiculous distopia where time is both the means and the end for fascism; in it, tardiness is eradicated by the constant exacting of biblical vengeance: if an individual is ten minutes late, ten minutes are taken off the end of his or her life.
'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman Flashcards | Quizlet
The ultimate point of the story, and the reason he subverts his own fable, is not that we should fight conformity or fight individuality because society or some author tells us we should (or because some flimsily-drawn character tells us so), but rather we should protect and fight for what we love and believe is right in our own hearts; that individuality is complex and cannot be summarized in a simplistic us-versus-them mentality. That is why both Pretty Alice and the Harlequin are the heroes, not one or the other, and that, in fact, you cannot really read the story as promoting individualism unless you realize both are the heroes. The story demands that the reader pay attention to all the complexities of the world (including all the subtle contradictions), think about their implications, and use this method to develop his or her own opinions. Only then can we discover the true meaning of individuality.