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Aldous Huxleys Brave New World Events English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 2784 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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The dystopian setting in Huxley’s novel is brought about, not only by technology, but also by higher authorities who control everything and, as technology increases, the overexploitation of human beings as a work force reduces and decreases their normal lives. Therefore, depression among human race appears and, consequently, as a way for going on with the invention and production of technological finding, scientists and higher authorities decide to condition humans, from day one, to understand their unhappiness and discontent as normal feelings:

‘Not so much like drops of water, though water, it is true, can wear holes in the hardest granite; rather, drops of liquid sealing-wax, drops that adhere, incrust, incorporate themselves with what they fall on, till finally the rock is all one scarlet blob.

“Till at last the child’s mind is these suggestions, and the sum of the suggestions is the child’s mind. And not the child’s mind only. The adult’s mind too-all his life long. The mind that judges and desires and decides- made up of these suggestions. But all these suggestions are our suggestions!” The Director almost shouted in his triumph. “Suggestions from the State.” He banged the nearest table. “It therefore follows.”(21)

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As in Huxley’s dystopian society human beings as forced, by means of conditioning, to accept they are born for belonging to a specific cast or group, the higher powers decide to eradicate humans’ emotions as a way to stabilize what they are convinced to be a utopian world. Aldous Huxley depicts an important characteristic of a dystopian society in which scientists order the civilization in specific classes. In Aldous’s novel, this class system is divided into five major casts: Alphas, Betas, Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons which are designated even before babies are born. In the case of the lower classes existing in Brave New Word, single embryos are bocanovskified which makes them produce around eight and ninety-six identical embryos; the idea is making people as uniform as posible.

Alpha children wear grey they work much harder than we do, because they’re so frightfully clever. I’m really awfuly glad I’m a Beta, because I don’t work so hard. And then we are much better than the Gammas and Deltas. Gammas are stupid. They all wear green, and Delta children wear khaki. Oh no, I don’t want to play with Delta children. And Epsilons are still worse. They’re too stupid to be able. (21)

In Brave New World society, this is set in an alarming and terrifying future A.F (After Ford) war, conflicts, hunger, starvation, suffering, misery and diseases are abolished but what can be thought to be an ideal and utopian world is not because together with the elimination of these struggles, the freedom of emotions, the will and the self mentality are sacrificed. In Huxley’s Brave New World people are conceived and mass-produced in test tubes in a laboratory where embryos are genetically manufactured with homogeneous characteristics which is also considered a feature of a dystopian society: ‘Standard men and women; in uniform batches. The whole of a small factory staffed with the products of a single bokanovskified egg.’ (7)

Conditioning starts from the very beginning, where children are raised: in laboratories.

“Heat conditioning,” said Mr. Foster. Hot tunnels alternated with cool tunnels. Coolness was wedded to discomfort in the form of hard X-rays. By the time they were decanted the embryos had a horror of cold. They were predestined to emigrate to the tropics, to be miner and acetate silk spinners and steel workers. Later on their minds would be made to endorse the judgment of their bodies. “We condition them to thrive on heat,” concluded Mr. Foster. “Our colleagues upstairs will teach them to love it.” (13)

In these laboratories kids are emotionally and socially conditioned, trained and habituated to this Brave New World by means of technology and the use of drugs. The delivery of free-drugs by the State is another feature of a dystopian society which uses this to control people who are not allowed freedom and whose thoughts, emotion together with their movement is strictly limited or impeded.

As children grow up, they face their adult lives completely conditioned to be immersed in the society. In this way, children are programmed or predestined, even before birth, to become part of a specific cast or social class. Moreover, people’s predetermined lives are filled with licentious and promiscuous sex which has no other purpose but satisfy their natural and inevitable human instinct and have fun. Again, through conditioning scientists avoid any kind of emotions or feelings, like love, towards the opposite sex:

In a little grassy bay between tall clumps of Mediterranean heather, two children, a little boy of about seven and a little girl who might have been a year older, were playing, very gravely and with all the focussed attention of scientists intent on a labour of discovery, a rudimentary sexual game. (23)

Another parallel which can be made between Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and a dystopian society is the forgetfulness of history on purpose. In Brave New World’s society books and the pats times are, not only forgotten and hidden, but also forbidden. In the future society depicted by Huxley literary works are greatly suppressed by the controllers of the planet.

…our world is not the same as Othello’s world. You can’t make flivvers

without steel-and you can’t make tragedies without social instability. The

world’s stable now. People are happy; they get what they want, and they never want what they can’t get. They’re well off; they’re safe; they’re never ill; they’re not afraid of death; they’re blissfully ignorant of passion and old age; they’re plagued with no mothers or fathers; they’ve got no wives, or children, or lovers to feel strongly about; they’re so conditioned that they practically can’t help behaving as they ought to behave. And if anything should go wrong, there’s soma. (151)

In Brave New World people are conditioned to be interested in other things but books, they are supposed to be concerned with the job they are going to do as part of society and depending the cast to which they are going to belong to. This can be exemplified with the following passage:

“They’ll grow up with what the psychologists used to call an ‘instinctive’ hatred of books and flowers. Reflexes unalterably conditioned. They’ll be safe from books and botany all their lives.” The Director turned to his nurses. “Take them away again.” (17)

In connection to the hidden past and history, there is another aspect of the past which is considered forgotten: the belief of the existence of God. In the Brave New World, the civilization has no God; authorities and scientists have replaced religion and God, they have played God and have reorganized the world in their own manner, making use of technology and science. Obviously there is a reason for not needing a superior Being: everything is so stable that it is not necessary for them continue supporting themselves in God: ‘God isn’t compatible with machinery and scientific medicine and universal happiness. You must make your choice. Our civilization has chosen machinery and medicine and happiness.’ (159).

Moreover, religion appears as another way of controlling people. It is a feature of dystopian societies direct human being through different means, in Brave New World the conventional religious credence is changed by celebrating Henry Ford model of production so important in progress. Therefore, crosses are replaced by the symbol T because of the Ford’s Model T. Religious celebrations are commemorated in a different and distorted way:

The President made another sign of the T and sat down. The service had begun. The dedicated soma tablets were placed in the centre of the table. The loving cup of strawberry ice-cream soma was passed from hand to hand and, with the formula, “I drink to my annihilation,” twelve times quaffed. Then to the accompaniment of the synthetic orchestra the First Solidarity Hymn was sung.

“Ford, we are twelve; oh, make us one,

Like drops within the Social River,

Oh, make us now together run

As swiftly as thy shining Flivver.”

Twelve yearning stanzas. And then the loving cup was passed a second time. “I drink to the Greater Being” was now the formula. All drank. Tirelessly the music played. The drums beat. The crying and clashing of the harmonies were an obsession in the melted bowels. The Second Solidarity Hymn was sung.

“Come, Greater Being, Social Friend,

Annihilating Twelve-in-One!

We long to die, for when we end,

Our larger life has but begun.”

A clear characteristic of a dystopian society is present in Huxley’s Brave New World: in a dystopian civilization technology replaces nature. Often dystopia societies replace actual nature with a replicated environment. This distorts the view of citizens of the society by having them trust or rely on technology. This is the case of Brave New World where, through the use of technology and the vast knowledge of the scientists, pregnancy among females is rejected, which goes completely against nature. However, in the world portrayed by Huxley in his novel, births given by women are considered to be sins. Instead, the children’s production and birth from a test tube or a bottle as a replacement of a natural birth is seen as a usual and normal issue. This can be seen when the laboratory where embryos are produced is described:

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Still leaning against the incubators he gave them, while the pencils scurried illegibly across the pages, a brief description of the modern fertilizing process; spoke first, of course, of its surgical introduction- “the operation undergone voluntarily for the good of Society, not to mention the fact that it carries a bonus amounting to six months’ salary”; continued with some account of the technique for preserving the excised ovary alive and actively developing; passed on to a consideration of optimum temperature, salinity, viscosity; referred to the liquor in which the detached and ripened eggs were kept; and, leading his charges to the work tables, actually showed them how this liquor was drawn off from the test-tubes; how it was let out drop by drop onto the specially warmed slides of the microscopes; how the eggs which it contained were inspected for abnormalities, counted and transferred to a porous receptacle; how (and he now took them to watch the operation) this receptacle was immersed in a warm bouillon containing free-swimming spermatozoa-at a minimum concentration of one hundred thousand per cubic centimetre, he insisted; and how, after ten minutes, the container was lifted out of the liquor and its contents re-examined; how, if any of the eggs remained unfertilized, it was again immersed, and, if necessary, yet again; how the fertilized ova went back to the incubators; where the Alphas and Betas remained until definitely bottled; while the Gammas, Deltas and Epsilons were brought out again, after only thirty-six hours, to undergo Bokanovsky’s Process. (6)

In the society depicted by Aldous Huxley in his novel Brave New World, the family, as it is know today, has been eradicated. Inn this Brave New World, when people are scientific and falsely produced the concept of mother is thought to be obscene together with the word father.

“Human beings used to be.” he hesitated; the blood rushed to his cheeks. “Well, they used to be viviparous.”

“Quite right.” The Director nodded approvingly.

“And when the babies were decanted.”

“‘Born,”‘ came the correction.

“Well, then they were the parents-I mean, not the babies, of course; the other ones.” The poor boy was overwhelmed with confusion. “In brief,” the Director summed up, “the parents were the father and the mother.” The smut that was really science fell with a crash into the boys’ eyeavoiding silence. “Mother,” he repeated loudly rubbing in the science; and, leaning back in his chair, “These,” he said gravely, “are unpleasant facts; I know it. But then most historical facts are unpleasant.” (18)

One of the most important and central characteristics of a dystopian society is the control of the masses which is achieved, among other ways, by the constant entertainment provided by the regulators of the society. In this sense, in order to keep people far apart from considering their circumstance and what might be missing in society; they are instead provided with distractions that help to keep them from dealing with reality of things. In Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World this can be appreciated when cinema and television are mentioned as major ways of having fun.

In relation to the constant entertainment provided by the government of this dystopian society, in Brave New World the delivery of free drugs from part of the central State is an accepted reality. The delivery of soma, which is the name of the drug that was legal, free of charge and distributed by the authorities, is considered as a perfect drug, for the purposes of the higher powers in Brave New World. Soma is a fundamental factor in guarding the so important and appreciated stability pursued by the authorities in this dystopian society depicted by Huxley. This drug is vital because, together with conditioning, it makes people run away from reality, unhappiness and dangerous feeling which go against personal and, therefore, social stability:

…you’re so conditioned that you can’t help doing what you ought to do. And what you ought to do is on the whole so pleasant, so many of the natural impulses are allowed free play, that there really aren’t any temptations to resist. And if ever, by some unlucky chance, anything unpleasant should somehow happen, why, there’s always soma to give you a holiday from the facts. And there’s always soma to calm your anger, to reconcile you to your enemies, to make you patient and long-suffering. (161-162)

In this way, it is an important concern for authorities and scientists, in the head of this Brave New World, to guard against threats to the individuals’ stability as it causes, at the same time, a disorder and instability in the entire world: “”Stability,” said the Controller, “stability. No civilization without social stability. No social stability without individual stability.” His voice was a trumpet. Listening they felt larger, warmer.”

Another important and characteristic issue of dystopian societies is the complete control of economy from part of the State which, in pro of the stability so pursued, controls every single detail about the financial system of the world. Even when, in dystopian societies the economic system is not only source of the appropriate society’s working, in Brave New World, being part of the social body means working for everyone else. In relation to this, people in Brave New World was trained, through hypnopaedia to accept this proverb as true “But every one belongs to every one else,” (29), and everybody used to repeated throughout all his/her lives.

Individuality is another aspect to consider when drawing a parallel between Brave New World and a dystopian society is the place of individuality and its place within the structure of a dystopian state. In this respect, Brave New World is integrated by people who have been altered, changed and created to fit the new invented society. To achieve this purpose, the higher powers of Brave New World provide people with commodities and, at the same time, they are being conditioned to be easily dominated and controlled. In this sense, perhaps one of the central feature in both the construction and deconstruction of individuality is the setting of the Brave New World Society portrayed by Huxley.


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