Imagine a world where everything is perfect. People are eternally happy, all illness has been eliminated, old age is a burden long buried, and even death is a pleasant experience. If you were offered a life in this heaven, what would you do? The answer may seem fairly obvious, but Aldous Huxley’s ambitious dystopian novel, Brave New World, will definitely make you give it another thought.
This novel is set nearly 600 years in the future, in a civilization where human values and norms have undergone a drastic change. Thanks to scientific advances, almost all of humankind has been made into a well-oiled machine that perpetuates a state of worldwide stability and fairly reasonable happiness. However, individual identity and passion have been lost along the way.
When John, a savage untouched by these changes, is suddenly brought into this society, he realizes that the fabled new world might not be so brave after all. The story becomes a battle of principles between him and the blissfully ignorant new world. Will his righteousness be enough to change his fate?
What I loved most is Huxley’s approach to creating a dystopia. Unlike most anti-utopian authors (like George Orwell and his classic, 1984), Huxley does not oppose utopian idealism by presenting a world enveloped in fear. Instead, we are shown how perfection itself can be a bane if approached the wrong way.
One downside: the book focuses so much on the setting that the plot can feel subordinated at times. Despite this shortcoming, Brave New World offers much more than just an interesting read. It is thought-provoking and can potentially change your mindset about your personal goals. Reading it is an experience you do not want to miss; I recommend it to everyone.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.