Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

February 27, 2008
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Without a doubt, Brave New World, has had to be one of the most change-provoking novels ever composed. When we analyze Brave New World, we must first form a preamble in our minds about the certain universal fears within society.

"There is no nonsense so gross that society will not, at some time, make a doctrine of it and defend it with every weapon of communal stupidity..." ~ Robertson Davies

The authority given to various figures in the novel shed light on this quote. People are conditioned in such a way that they revel in their own (our perception) of stupidity. This is presented with the facts about society turning its back on all our ancestors have fought to keep alive, only to have their life's work incinerated in, as the book says, "a couple grammes of soma."

The people of Brave New World made a doctrine out of the lax concerns for familial welfare, emotion, and personal interaction with the citizens of a country. They replaced familial welfare with Bokanovsky Groups, monitoring the mass-produced human, whose genetic make-up was decided early on in developmental stage, as they were generated from a single egg cell. The world replaced emotion with the infamous narcotic soma, and took it upon themselves to abandon personal interaction (in terms of making products) and create new ways to, essentially, brainwash the people they created.

Individuality was lost, as society pushed for collectivism. One of the oldest adages was, "Everyone belongs to everyone else," denoting the collusion of belonging, eliminating personal focus, and, by extension, any time to think for one's self, to have your actions guarded by the government. The efforts of these World Controllers was very fruitful. To accompany this, certain castes were created to regulate the dispatchment of order, controlling the happiness of the people.

The Alpha caste was made up of select groups of highly-intelligent human beings, who received the best care, occupations and social life. The Betas, Deltas
and Epsilons came afterwards, each one a little more unintelligent than the previous. With these castes a safe and secure society was ensured after fashioning a state of happy servitude. When children were "hatched", they received electric-shocks to develop a hatred for flowers and books in their minds. The purpose of this was to make children beleive that flowers and books were useless. After a long time, people tend to love books even after their authors are dead. But the World State wants constant refurbishments in their community, they want nothing of the old.

Mustapha Mond, a central character, stated: "Truth and happiness are incompatible." It appears the New World sacrificed happiness for the greater good, and then resurrected it, in a new form. Religion has been replaced as well. The people regard the highest Alpha plus as their "savior", calling him Ford, instead of Lord or God, as tribute to Henry Ford, who mass-produced vehicles. Mass production is seen as a saintly part of society. People jot down The Year of Our Ford, instead of the Year of Our Lord, and the idea of God and religion has changed.

There is no immediate need for it.

Another central theme in the book is promiscuity. Unlike the virginal image of children in today's world, promiscuity was encouraged. In their free time, children engaged in sexual acts, an act of undoing the repression of a humans' sexual organs, as it is done today. Promiscuity among the adults was also largely-encouraged. Monogamy was thought to be silly and degenerate, eliminating the practice of marriage and long-term relationships. A character,Fanny, criticized her friend, Lenina Crowne for continuously seeing the same guy for a certain period of time. All the world was involved in a fling. Feely films, and public orgies were a day-to-day activity for the citizens in Central London. The World State made it their priority to deplete Sexually Transmitted Diseases and other diseases, to ensure that random sexual play would not result in consequences that could damage one's health.

"Orgy-porgy, Ford and fun,
Kiss the girls and make them One.
Boys at one with girls at peace;
Orgy-porgy gives release..."

One of the turning points in the book is when Bernard Marx, takes his date Lenina Crowne to the Savage Reservation in New Mexico. The savages were those who resisted the treatments and scientific conditionings in the early days of the World State and live in a very tribal existence, and are comfortable doing so. Here Bernard and Lenina encoutner a sexagenarian, Linda and her son John. In this world, because literature is a taboo subject, and because people's minds are conditioned not to comprehend its emotional complexity, no one knew of Shakespeare, Wheatley, Shelley, and Keats.

However, John managed to get a hold of the works of William Shakespeare, grasping tightly to the emotional quality of the books, contrary to the sciences surrounding 'Emotional Engineering.' Feeling a need to prove himself (he was thought of as physically quer), Bernard Marx took John and his mother back the World State, where he was treated differently than previously, and where John truly began to learn the culture of the World State, coming into conflict with their ideals based on his personal beliefs, stemming from literature.

John's love for Lenina, and her returned, mysterious 'feelings', to me make up the crux of the book. That, despite the advances of science to condition the human mind, we will always retain our love, passion, courage, jealousy, fear, anger and commitment to being what we were born to be--human.





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XCLover said...
Oct. 17, 2010 at 9:22 pm

I don't know if you meant this as an analysis or as a review of the book, but it comes across as the more summary than analysis style of a review. I would try to bring it across as an analysis, so less summary and more analyzing is my suggestion.

Also, I'm not exactly sure if you had a thesis or not. If you do, I would definitely recommend making it clearer and sticking to it better so that readers know it is your thesis. If you don't, I would highly recommend using one as they make an... (more »)

 
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