Sunday, October 17, 2010

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Aldous Huxley's novel, Brave New World, centers around a Utopian society in a future set London, England. People are bred in laboratories, and there is a strict caste system that all members of society fit into. Children are brainwashed into believing stereotypes relating to the other classes in society. People do not think for themselves and society values pleasure over anything else, as people are encouraged to use the drug soma, and monogamous relationships are outlawed, so women do not bear or mother children. Bernard Marx, the protagonist of the novel, is at the top of the class structure that the new society has created, but he still feels out of place. He has feelings of love that he does not understand toward his peer Lenina Crowne, and has and instinctive feeling that something is wrong with society. Bernard and his friend Helmholtz are the only two that are really aware that something is wrong with society as, "What the two men shared was the knowledge that they were individuals"(67). Lenina and Bernard end up going on a "date" to the Reservation, an area for "savages" who were not created in a lab to live. While there Linda and Bernard encounter John and Linda, and are exposed for the first time to creative works like Shakespeare and Bernard starts to understand that his society lacks any individualism and is therefore meaningless. Bernard and John develop a relationship, and Bernard is allowed to bring John back to his society for science research. Eventually, Bernard, Lenina, John, and Helmholtz confront Mustapha Mond, the World Controller, one who runs the Brave New World society, about why their is no individualism. Mond gives them a paradox, saying that claiming the right to be an individual as "claiming the right to be unhappy"(240). The group is then forced to make a difficult decision, one that will effect them for the rest of their lives.

Discussion Question:
What is Huxley trying to say about society in general? What values should society hold dear?


Kaitlyn H 11-12 said...

Huxley seems to be criticizing how people mindlessly conform to society. By going to the very extreme level of everyone being completely controlled, he shows the importance of being individualistic.

Joe K. 11-12 said...

Huxley is clearly making the point that individuals need to be their own person. Going through your life day by day conforming to a set pattern destroys the purpose in life and is not how society was meant to be. Society should hold individuality dear because that is what makes one another different, and without diversity and differnce between one another this world would be a very boring and blah place.