The Novel Brave New World Is Dystopia

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Aldous Huxley`s novel ``Brave New World`` is a dystopian story which is similar in theme to George Orwell`s Nineteen Eighty-Four. Nineteen Eighty- Four describes a terrible vision of merciless, mind-controlling totalitarian state. One the other hand, Brave New World, proposes a different kind of totalitarianism.

One of conformity achieved through engineered, bottle-grown babies and hypnotic persuasion rather than through brutality, of boundless consumption that keeps the wheels of production turning and of officially enforced promiscuity that does away with sexual frustration, of a pre-ordained caste system ranging from a highly intelligent managerial class to a subgroup of dim-witted serfs programmed to love their menial work, and soma, a drug that confers instant bliss with no side effects. (Atwood, 2007 : par. 3).

 Dystopian novels are often stories about survival and their main theme is dictatorship and revolt. Dystopian description is imaginary. This kind of fiction takes features from reality and discusses them, but it does not describe modern society in general. Despite the fact that dystopian stories take place in future, they are all about today. In dystopian novels, citizens are usually divided into classes. For instance, in Nineteen Eighty-Four, people are divided into capitalists and proles, Party and Non-Party. In Brave New World, there are Alphas, Betas, Gammas, Deltas and Epsilons. Brave New World revolves around the idea of totalitarianism and it predicts a future overpowered by technology. Huxley describes a perfect dystopia where ``scientists breed people to order in a specific class`` (Baker, 1990: 2).  Even though ``Brave New World`` is now considered a classic, this novel has also become one of the most frequently banned books in literary history. Many authors point out that book banners have cited ``negative activities (undoubtedly referring to the sex and drugs) in the book as reason enough to prevent students from reading it``. (Lombardi, 2008: par. 3)

One of the examples of dystopia being described in this book is Helmholtz Watson`s reading a heretical, antagonistic poem to his students on the virtues of solitude.

            Yesterday`s committee

            Sticks, but a broken drum

            Flutes in vacuum,

            Shut lips, sleeping faces,

            Every stopped machine,

            The dumb and littered places

            Where crowds have been…

            All silences rejoice,

            Weep (loudly or low);

            Speak – but with the voice

            Of whom, I do not know.

            Absence, say, of Susan`s

            Absence of Egeria`s

            Arms and respective bosoms,

            Lips and, ah, posteriors

            Slowly form a presence;

            Whose? and, I ask , of what

            So absurd an essence,

            That something, which is not,

            Nevertheless should populate

            Empty night more solidly

            Than that with which we copulate

            Why should it seem so squalidly?           (Huxley, 2002:120/121).

Although Helmholtz Watson is a very handsome and successful  Alpha- plus lecturer at the College of Emotional Engineering, his desire to read this beautiful, heart- touchimg poem to his students illustrates his deep unhapiness. Helmholtz is agitated because of the opressive conformism and philistnism of the World State. He feels disatisfied and unfulfilled writing ceaseless propaganda doggeral. The students report him to the Principal and he is eventually sent to an Island for  estranged, disaffected Alpha-plus noncomformists.

            Dystopia is also portraited in this imperfect world when it is demonstrated that despite all the technology and the knowledge of the scientists, they still haven`t resolved how to terminate pregnancy. In Huxley`s opinion, the Lord is more powerful than Ford and all of the technology of  the New World. This blunder bothers the citzens because births given by women are sins. They are considered as very bizzare and absurdly embrassing. Naturally born children are ignored and avoided in this society and this dystopian idea contributes to the dystopian setting.

            Another example of dystopia in the novel is the fact that despite all  The Brave New World`s advantages, citizens can`t live without drug named soma. By taking soma, they want to run away from their unhapiness. While visiting Savage Reservation, John`s mother, Linda, became pregnant with the Director`s son. During a storm, she got lost, suffered a head injury and was left behind. A group of Indians found her and brought her to their village. She couldn`t get an abortion there and she was ashamed to come back to the World State with a child. However, she is desperate to return to The Brave New World because of soma. She comes back from the reservation with Bernard. This is a shock to everybody and the end of the Director`s authority. When Linda returnes to the World State, she goes into a soma holiday in order to forget her pain and supress her feelings. She was treated to a series of soma baths to death.  Huxley`s intention was to point out the fact that even with the conditioning that every citizen received, they could not be in a total utopia. Linda`s son, John, disapproved of soma. He sits desperately beside his mother. He tells her: ``But Linda! The Savage spoke imploringly, Don`t you know me? ``(Huxley,2002: 138). The author wanted to demonstrate that people could not be conditioned to become machines that have no emotions and characteristics of normal human beings.

            The fourth evidence of dystopia in this book is presented when the Director shares his thoughts of the past with Bernard. This is also the example of hypocrisy because history is banned in the World State. But, the Director speaks about events of his past which had a great impact on his life. Bernard is upset and bewildered.  As high authority, the Director is not supposed to have such feelings and memories.

Bernard felt extremely uncomfortable. A man so conventional, so scurpuluously correct as the Director – and to commit so gross a solecism. It made him want to hide his face, to run out of the room. Not that he himself saw anything intrinsically objectionable in people talking about the remote past; that was one of those hypnopaedic  prejudices he had (so he imagined) completely got rid of. What made him feel shy was the knowledge that the Director disapproved – disapproved and yet had been betrayed into doing the forbidden thing. Under what inward compulsion? (Huxley, 2002:64).

Although the Director is an authority, he sometimes cannot overcome his emotions. It is evident that he knows that conditioning is successful only when people deliberately choose not to realize how they really feel. The writer used the Director in order to emphasize that it is not possible to live in the world where human emotions are suppressed all the time.

            The fifth example of dystopia in Brave New World is the moment when Bernard is criticized by the Director for being different from the others and for having unusual feelings for Lenina. His falling in love with her is uncommon and not accepted in this society because it can be a threat to the stability of the world they live in. Persons like Bernard are forbidden to express how they feel.  They must repress their emotions for the sake of stability. The Director is planning to exile him.

Alphas are so conditioned that they do not have to be infantile in their emotional behavior. But that is all the more reason for making a special effort to conform. It is their duty to be infantile, even against their inclination. And so, Mr. Marx, I give you a fair warning. (Huxley, 2002: 66).  

            The final evidence of dystopia in the novel is the moment when Mustapha Mond, Resident World Controller of Western Europe, admits that The World State is far from perfect. Mustapha still keeps a small library of forbidden books in his safe. During his conversation with John, he says that ``Shakespeare is forbidden both because it`s old and beautiful``. (Baker, 1990: 132).  He thinks that these qualities might make people reject artificial beauty of Brave New World.

            Community, identity and stability is the motto of Brave New World. Community is achieved through recreational sex which is an integral part of the society. Sex is a social activity and the idea of community is considered pornographic. The maxim ``everyone belongs to everyone else`` is often repeated. Community is also accomplished by establishing a way of life so that an individual is almost never alone. Citizens work and when they don`t work they engage in social activities.  Spending time alone is considered an atrocious waste of time and the desire to be alone is outrageous.  Spiritual community is acquired by omnipresent drug soma. This drug is universally accepted and it helps people overcome stress and sadness. It also excludes the need for religion or other personal attachments outside the World State. Everybody is community`s slave. People are conditioned to want to change old things with new things and to want to travel in order to boost the World State`s economy. And everyone seems to be happy.  However, some people are dissatisfied despite everything and they think that their way of life is degrading.

            Identity is the result of conditioning and genetic engineering. There is no natural birth and children are raised in Hatcheries and Conditioning Centres. This is the world without family, love, passion and compassion. This is the world without humanity.   People are isolated from one another and divided into five different classes. The classes range from the Alphas, the Betas, the Gammas, the Deltas and the Epsilons. The members of each class are ranked according to their intellectual capacity and physical appearance. Sleep-conditioning reinforces each individual`s place in the caste system. It also eliminates the desire to change one`s cast. Everybody is taught to adjust. If someone has a sense of individuality, he/she is forced to feel different, strange and queer. But, it seems so sad and unfair that even before you are born, your future is already written out for you. But, identity must be sacrificed in order to ensure the stability of community.

            Stability is established by the production of a lot of identical twins. This is done in order to reduce aggression and disagreements in the society because people who are completely the same are less inclined to come into conflict. Art and scientific freedom are also sacrificed for the sake of stability. In this dystopian society, there is no art, because there is nothing to give rise to drama. The World State prohibits the citizens to read books because different thoughts and ideas might cause conflicts. Scientific freedom is limited because it could destabilize the system. Stability is the most valuable social advantage because it leads to lifelong happiness.

           Bibliography

  1. Atwood, Margaret. (2007). Everybody Is Happy Now. Retrived November 6, 2012, from www,guardian.co.uk./books/2007/nov/17/classic.margaretatwood
  2. Baker, Robert. (1990). Brave New World: History, Science, and Dystopia. Boston: Twayne Publishers.
  3. Huxley, Aldous. (2002, May18). Brave New World.  Retrived November 6, 2012 from http://www.idph.com.br/coteudos/ebooks/BraveNewWorld.pdf
  4. Lombardi, Esther. (2008). Brave New World Review. Retrived November 6, 2012, from classical.about.com/od/bravenewworld/fr/aafpr/­­_bravenew.htm

           

          

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