Brave New World sold more than fifteen thousand copies in its first year and has been in print ever since. It has joined the ranks of utopian/dystopian satires such as Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1726) and George Orwell’s Animal Farm (1945). The author himself has said that he wanted to warn against the conditioning of human beings by a manager class with the latest technology at its fingertips. Humanity could lose its soul through such a process, Aldous Huxley feared, trading in its unique qualities in exchange for security and for drugged and directed “happiness.”
There cannot have been a year since its publication in which this novel has not been compared to the present condition of humanity and found to be a perspicacious guess at the shape of things to come. Huxley, for example, did not exactly predict television, but he foresaw other means of mass hypnosis.
An ingenious and persuasive writer, Huxley renders his analogue quite credibly, although requirements of his genre necessitated more conflict than would be plausible in a state as well managed as the one the novel presents. The characters for the most part think too much like Huxley and too little like people who have been brainwashed into conformity.
Huxley’s vision of sexuality in this futuristic society anticipates the repressive desublimation of a world in which the social obligation to be sexual defuses passion. This vision runs into trouble because the only choices permitted to his protagonist are a sulky celibacy and a foreordained and regulated promiscuity. The liberating powers of a passionate sexuality are left out of Huxley’s equation even though, when he includes a few nonconformists, he allows that there can be exceptions in this totalitarian society. It becomes a question, then, of why some exceptions exist and not others; there is no reason for the lack of a female equivalent to Bernard or Helmholtz.
Huxley in essence equates happiness with barbarism and unhappiness with culture. The happiness, however, is shown to be false. Characters all evince signs of deep disturbance. True happiness must be what they are missing. One can ask why Huxley did not portray a more efficient society, one that was able to erase this distinction between the true and the false. It may be precisely this flaw in the novel that explains its continuing popularity.
Brave New World Theme Analysis Essay
1594 WordsSep 29th, 19997 Pages
"'God isn't compatible with machinery and scientific medicine and universal happiness.'" So says Mustapha Mond, the World Controller for Western Europe in Aldous Huxley's novel Brave New World. In doing so, he highlights a major theme in this story of a Utopian society. Although the people in this modernized world enjoy no disease, effects of old age, war, poverty, social unrest, or any other infirmities or discomforts, Huxley asks 'is the price they pay really worth the benefits?' This novel shows that when you must give up religion, high art, true science, and other foundations of modern life in place of a sort of unending happiness, it is not worth the sacrifice.
True, the citizens of this "brave new world" do enjoy many…show more content…
One might be led to believe that this society is a perfect place to live, since all the inhabitants are eternally happy. There are no wars, pain, or suffering, all definite pluses, yet readers must not judge too quickly.
Everything comes at a price, and the price that is paid for the new order is sadly high, costing the Utopians the benefits of high art, true religion, real science, and family life, which all have been removed to promote stability. "'Othello's better than those feelies.' 'Of course it is But that's the price we have to pay for stability. You've got to choose between happiness and what people used to call high art. We've sacrificed the high art. We have the feelies and the scent organ instead.' 'But they don't mean anything,'" (Huxley 226) This conversation shows one of the tradeoffs made. Stories like Othello are inspired by strong emotions, and Utopia has done away with them. Now, there is nothing to write about, and if something was written along the lines of Othello it might cause people to think, causing instability. The movies people see are idiotic and plotless, based solely on sensations. Religion as we know it has been done away with also, as Mustapha Mond showed by his comments quoted at the beginning of this paper. Religion usually involves self-denial, and that is contrary to everything the new society is based on. With instant gratification