Haveyou thought of living in a world where your life is entirelycontrolled right from birth to death? Well, in “Brave New World”human life has been almost entirely controlled by a few people withpower at the top of “World state”.
Inthe “world state”, human beings are created and habituatedaccording to society’s strict “caste system”. Huxley describedthe system that categorizes people into five stages with varyingintellectual capacities aimed to perform certain tasks in the society(2 ch.1). The individuals living in this community experiencesdehumanized life right from birth to death. The top leaders of the“world state” control the citizens by teaching them what to doand what to like. The people in the city are prepared to have fun, toenjoy life with the help of recreational drug- “soma”, and tohave “sex” often (Huxley 56). Religion and use of “soma”drugs play a critical role in controlling negative emotions andsocial harmony.
Completecontrol of human life is dangerous and dehumanizing. Deprivingcitizen’s individuality brings out instability and lack ofintellectual and social growth. John in the “world state”revolts the policies of the government saying that “dehumanizedlife is not worth living” (Huxley 75). Bernard reacts angrily wheninformed of his and Helmholtz intended exile to distant islands.Helmholtz hopes to write about oppression while in exile.
Higgins,Charles, Higgins and Regina argue that cases of violation of humanrights are common in the modern world. Dictatorial governments engageits citizen in activities that are meant to “praise the governmentonly” (134). Freedom of expression is denied and people who do notabide by what the government dictates are subjected to punishmentMost of the revolting citizens are assassinated, and survivors opt togo into exile. Everyone should shun total control and “lack ofindividuality” among citizens to eradicate suffering in human life(Meyers 43).
“ABrave New World by Aldous Huxley” is about a city- London wherepeople are created and cloned scientifically to fit society’sstrict caste system that is full of misery (Huxley 3). The worldstate is a dictatorship headed by “ten world controllers”. Thestate composes of stabilized society where a population ispermanently limited to abolition of natural reproduction, educatingchildren by a hypnopaedic process, dissuasion of critical thinkingand an abundance of material goods. Huxley point it out that the onlyconcern in this world is a material comfort and physical pleasureoffered by “drug soma and recreational sex” (8). Individualaction and initiative is highly discouraged in the world state
Huxleywrote “Brave New World” between First World War and Second WorldWar. “The social effect of the war was being felt in Britishsociety” (Crick 37). Huxley wrote about transformations in thenational feelings questioning about social and moral assumptions thathad been held by the community. He also poked challenges in the questfor more equality among classes of people. Although the novel isfuturistic, it addresses the contemporary issues of the 20th centurysuch as industrial revolution that caused social, cultural, economicand political upheavals.
Thesetting of the novel is elaborate. Technology is emphasized in thebook. It talks about the cloning process in vibro-vacuum massage,professionals such as director of hatcheries and conditioning, andlong time activities such as Centrifugal Bumble-puppy. The city isendowed with tall building such as seven skyscrapers twinkling overGuildford meaning that the town has grown over time and has the largepopulation.
Thecharacters in the novel play a vital role in the world state. BernardMarx is an alpha male who is physically smaller than the otherAlphas, which gives him the inferiority complex, “as he feels likean outsider in the world state society”. The feeling of being anoutsider makes Bernard more self-conscious, and he can criticize themistakes in his community. He is defensive, jealous resentful andboastful (Huxley 26). Helmholtz is the exact opposite of Bernard. Heis the perfect “Alpha male”. The life of Helmholtz is successful,as has no “difficulty in getting women”, has physical prowess,and he is successful professionally (Huxley 19). He is generous andkind.
John,the Savage is the son of Linda, spent most of his time in the savagereservation. He loves Shakespeare, and he longs to see the worldstate since his mother had informed him that it was a paradise.However, on reaching “world state”, he finds it perplexing andconsiders it “immoral and degrading to humanity”. Mustapha Mondis one of the “ten controllers”. He is a physicist who loveddoing science experiments, but he is denied that in world state andgiven the role of state controller. He believes in stability andhappiness. Mond argues, “Art, literature, and scientific freedommust be sacrificed to protect the eventual utilitarian objective”of capitalizing on societal happiness (Huxley 33). Lenina Crowne, onthe other hand, is a “beta” promiscuous woman who dates one manat a time and never challenges her condition. She uses “soma” toreduce harmful emotions
Theplot in the novel is unique as the book provides differentenvironments in its setting. Bernard is a protagonist and has mindconflict with Helmholtz. Bernard’s love for Lenina brings outanother stage. The apparent conflict in the novel involves Bernardbeing sent to exile, Lenina becomes less than ideal, and John is madean adorable “guinea pig”. This conflict further complicates thesituation as John stops cooperating due to his incompatibility withcivilization. He spends much of the time “throwing drugs out of thewindow”. Lenina complicated the situation when John rejected her. The major complication came out when John and Mustapha clashed inperson and was arrested bringing us to climax at S&M mass-orgy(Huxley 115). The novel left us in suspense when it did not tell uswhether John had sex with Lenina during the “mass-orgy”. Thescene ends with john’s feet rotating slowly in the air. Johnintended to accept dangerous lifestyle to purify him of civilization.
Huxleyutilized the literary device in his works. Use of visual imagery isused to describe and scenes in the novel. He describes the appearanceof Linda as “fat, having lost her youth and with bad teeth andblotched complexion” (67 ch. 8). Furthermore, Huxley usedpersonification to emphasize love and desperation that the savage wasundergoing as he missed Lenina, “Eternity was in our lips andeyes’’ (189 ch. 11). Huxley used symbolism to describe thesociety that is always happy. “How do they get this happy? – Bytaking soma” (14 ch 1). “Soma” is used to symbolize thepowerful effects of science and technology on society.
Huxleystated the theme of his book “the advancement of science as itaffects human individuals”. He realized that development in scienceand technology had overpowered the man in controlling it. The use oftechnology to control society poses significant dangers. The authorillustrates this through strict control of reproduction trough“surgical removal of ovaries”, the “Bokanovsky” process and“hypnopaedic conditioning”. Besides, use of “soma” andcreation of entertainment machines to generate leisure and happinessthat forms the basis of world state “stability” is an example ofmisuse of technology and science to control society (Huxley 164). The“consumer society” develops the theme in the novel. Individualhappiness is viewed as the ability to satisfy needs in the “worldstate community”. Communism is evident in the society as success inthe society is valued as economic growth and prosperity (Huxley153).In addition, the following themes are evident in the novel.Incompatibility of “happiness” and “truth”- use of drug somato replace realities with happiness and hallucinations, Dangers ofall-Powerful state – maintenance of state through technologicalintervention that starts from birth until death and Alienation -(Bernard, Helmholtz and John are alienated from world state becausethey do not meet the requirements in the world state (Huxley 180).
Historicaland social context
Thenovel “Brave new world” which written by Huxley in 1931 after hehad recognized himself in writing satirical novels and generalwriting. Huxley acknowledged that utopian novels of H.G played a keyrole in the writing of brave new world. Contrary to the most wellknown idealist utopian novels of the time, Huxley wanted to “offera scary vision concerning the future” (Smith and Mosher 243).Russell regards Huxley christening of Brave New World as a "negativeutopia", literally subjective to Wells` personal “The SleeperAwakes” (manufacture with issues such as public autocracy andbehavioral conditioning) and the works of D. H. Lawrence GeorgeOrwell thought that Brave New World must have been partiallyderivative of the novel We by Yevgeny Zamyatin (349)
Theevents of depression in Britain that included vast unemployment andthe banning of gold currency convinced the writer to assert thatstability was the primary and ultimate need. “The Brave New World”character Mustapha Mond, Resident World Controller of Western Europe,is named after Sir Alfred Mond. Huxley visited Mond`s technologicallyadvanced plant near Billingham, northeast England, soon beforewriting the novel, and it “produced a great thought on him”(Meyers 42)
Thoughthe novel is played out in the future, it deals with contemporaryissues of the early 20th century. The Industrial Revolution hadchanged the world. Mass production has made almost everything readilyavailable and cheaply in the developed countries. The Russianrevolution of 1917 and the World Wars are “changing the World andaffecting the lives of individuals” in the world. It has causedpolitical, social and economic upheavals (Marcus, Laura, Nicholls andPeter 75).
Huxleyexpressed widely held opinions such as lose of individuality in hisscience fiction. Howe describes Huxley early visit to the unitedstate and his encounter of perplexing culture of youth, “sexualpromiscuity” and inward looking nature of Americans (47 ch. 4).Americanization was a major issue in Europe. Through his perceptionof America as first hand, and reading the dreams and plans of one ofits leading citizens, Huxley was spurred to write Brave New Worldwith America in mind. The "feelies" are his comeback to the"talkie" motion pictures, and the sex-hormone chewing gumis a satire of the ubiquitous “chewing gum”, which was somethingof a symbol of America at that time (Hillegas 188).
InHuxley’s novel, “Brave New World”, we encounter two differentworlds namely reservation and the “brave new world” that form thenovels plot. Reservation is the same as third world countries inmodern day while brave new world represents a world in the futurewhere science runs the world. The novel sounds warning as what willhappen to human life if science and technology is allowed to runwithout scrutiny. Would brave new world be really worse compared towhat we are experiencing in today’s world? My view is no.
Theinhabitants of the two distinct worlds have the same experience butin the “brave new world”, we are not told of the problems such asdiseases or conflicts. The citizens in the brave new world areprogrammed so that they are alike according to different “castes inthe society”. This hides the bad experiences in the society, asthey cannot even “experience true happiness” since theirhappiness is as a result “soma”. In the “reservation world”,citizens struggle with diseases and disabilities as shown by savagesBernard Marx and Lenina (Huxley 55).Lenina who had part of her lifein world State explain to her son the good things they used to enjoyin the World state( fine music, games and tasty things to eat anddrink). This evidence shows that the brave new world is a betterplace to inhabit compared to today’s world.
“Perfect”society is a place where citizens think and act in a defined manner.Procreation in brave world is through “test tube babies”, whichdenies the young one the love of mother and father. The governmentconditions every individual to allow them to behave in the mannerdesired by the government. The family values and structure is alteredto suit government need of establishing a society that is “happy”through use of “soma drug and frequent recreational sex”. Isbrave new world society better than the modern day society? Myopinion is yes.
Theresidents of the world state are “stable”. The governmentprovides them with material need and takes care of their negativefeeling by providing them with “soma drug and recreational sex”.In addition, the residents do not age in the world state. On theother world- reservation, “residents are aged and ill” (Leninaand Bernard were shocked when they saw aged and ill residents whileon reservation). They also witnessed a ritual in which young man wasbeing whipped showing the rampant suffering in the reservation.Lenina was appalled by status of reservation and decided to take“sufficient soma to knock her out for eighteen hours”. This isenough evidence to show that “brave new world” is a perfect andbetter place than reservation and thus the modern day (Huxley 269).
Scienceand technology is emphasized in every society in the modern dayworld. It has reduced the globe to a mere village. However, mostgovernment tries to minimize the use science and technology as itfinds it destabilizing. The “ten world controllers” in the worldstate focused on the “stability” of society by shunning the useof technology by its residents. Individual thought and religion wasbanned. Do science and technology destabilize a society? My take isyes.
Johnis against the state in the brave new world. He challenges the bravenew world with a view of freedom that includes everyone. He suffersfrom oppression and gallant as he confronts the controller. John hasnot gone through the conditioning needed to conform. His objection isnot only his own lack of comfort, but also the dilapidation ofslavery forced by the society. John`s acceptance of a free human lifewith all its danger and pain symbolize an idealistic belief beyondBernard`s understanding or bravery (Huxley 264). Imperfect, illadvised, John nonetheless attempts to declare his right to be anindividual.
Allthe labors to free the individual from the seizure of the “WorldState” have failed, shattered by the power of caucus brought on byhypnopaedia and mob psychology.
Thereshould be an emphasis on the need to resist the power of tyranny byfocusing our minds active and free. Individuals freedoms may not beguaranteed in the modern world but we should practice these freedomselse they will be lost (Marcus, Laura, Nicholls and Peter 472)
AldousHuxley`s Brave New World is a satirical vision of a future that isdreary and unfriendly. The science fiction novel is dystopian oranti-utopian in tone and subject matter. The book`s fundamentalconcepts were influenced by the political context of the 1930s whenit was published (Marcus, Laura, Nicholls and Peter 459).
Smithand Mosher argue that the novel implies “science and technologyceases to support man, and instead the man becomes enslaved”. Thereshould be an effort to observe the developments made inmanufacturing, technology, science and medicine to show how a mancould become exploited, acquiescent and dehumanized. A man should bemore cautious about the dangers of being overtaken by scientific andeconomic progress (562). The book is holding to reality in the futureworld as cloning, and test tube fertilization are becoming a reality.
Dictatorshipshould be shunned in strongest force possible. Democracy should beencouraged as totalitarian regimes deny man`s personal liberty bynurturing the fake concept of the common good and the subservience ofthe individual to the state. Huxley satirically warns of the “risk”of accepting science to be valued and used for political purposessuch as a means of maintaining “control” (Marcus, Laura Nichollsand Peter 289). He illustrates a society shaped on a blind receipt ofthe status in the dearth of literature, history, and individualcontemplation
Russellargues that the novel looks at the world whose society and valuesystem are ruled by “scientifically imposed traditional values andequality”. Huxley`s tone is sarcastic as he criticizes the opinionthat the eradication of dirt, sorrow, joblessness, and seclusion areworth the associated loss of own freedom and liberty (450). In themodern world where technology is revolutionizing, the brave new worldshould act as a guide in “suppressing dictatorship by governments”in the modern world (Huxley 18). The novel also highlights the“dangers” of fully accepting science and technology to the extentwe cannot control it (Russell 281)
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