Huxley wrote four volumes ofpoems before his first novel Chrome Yellow (1921). Huxley wrote 45novels but it was Brave New World that established his fame. Brave New World is a science fictionbook dealing with the way things might be in the future. Huxley describesthe futures to be so organized that you lose your sense of self.
Another book that deals with this aspect of the future is 1985 by GeorgeOrwell. SummaryThe book starts off with the directorof hatcheries describing a hatchery to a bunch of Alpha students. He explains the fertilizing, decanting, and conditioning process of peoplewhich is, when you come down to it, pure brainwashing. The book then introduces a man namedBernard. Bernard is an alpha, but he’s queer. He’s shorter and lesshandsome than the other alphas.
Bernard likes a girls named Lenina. Lenina, however, is having a guy named Henry, and has been having him forseveral months. Fanny one of Lenina’s friends tries to encourageLenina to move on and to try other men. Lenina goes out with Bernardand that date ends with soma and sex even though Bernard said that theyshouldn’t have sex on the first night.
This society is organized for thepleasure of the people. Their God is Ford. They have sex oftenwith different people, and their taught in infancy certain prejudices. For example, the babies are taught to be satisfied with their own casteof which there are five: alphas at the top, then betas, gammas, deltas,and epsilons at the bottom. They’re taught to hate the country butlike country sports.
Every teaching has a specific purpose. Bernard gets together with elevenother people and they worship Ford. They sing hymns (for example”Orgy Porgy”) to Ford and they experience Ford. They howl and shoutto his name. Bernard, however, feels nothing.
He shouts becausethe others are shouting and he leaves with an emptiness deeper than theone he came with. Bernard suggests to Lenina thatthey go for a vacation to the savage reservation. Lenina agrees togo. Before they go, Bernard needs to get permission from the Directorof Hatcheries named Thomas.
Thomas tells him that he once went tothe savage reservation and lost a girl he liked named Linda. Thenhe tells Bernard that if he continues with his behavior, Thomas will sendhim to Iceland. Bernard and Lenina go to the savagereservation and they witness and “human sacrifice” where one Indian iswhipped in reminder of Christ. Then they meet a woman that is fatand ugly but used to belong to the civilized world. Bernard figuresout that she was the Linda that Thomas lost long ago.
Linda had ason named John on the reservation of whom Thomas was the father. Having a child in this society was about as much a sin as being an adulteressin the Puritan society of The Scarlet Letter. John fell in love withLenina. Bernard had an idea. He decidedthat it would be good to have an experiment to see what would happen ifa savage came to the civilized world. He wanted to bring John andLinda back into civilization.
He pulled a few strings and was allowedto go on with his experiment. Linda was immediately rejected by societyand by Thomas for being fat, and for being a mother. Thomas, quithis job as the director of hatcheries because he was humiliated at beinga father. John, on the other hand, was an instant hit. Thepeople loved him and brought Bernard instant fame.
Bernard was ableto get any girl he wanted, something he was not able to before. Bernardwould host parties where John would be the guest of honor. One night,though, John didn’t want to show up. He rejected society and societyrejected Bernard. Society went back to its old thoughts about Bernard.
They thought he was a queer again. Bernard and John had a friendnamed Helmholtz who taught emotional engineering by the use of rhymes. John happened to have a copy of Shakespeare which he found at the reservationwhich he read to Helmholtz. Helmholtz was amazed at how well Shakespearewas at emotional engineering. Lenina fell in love with John andJohn loved Lenina, but he was afraid of his feeling and felt unworthy forLenina. One night, Lenina tried to seduce him but John ran from her,then attacked her calling her a whore.
All this while, Linda had takingone long soma holiday, and it was killing her. John got a call thatLinda was at the hospital and dying so he rushed there to see her. Linda didn’t recognize him. She was having a soma induced dream aboutPope, a guy she had at the reservation. Linda died and John weptfor her while a bunch of little kids was led to the death hospital fortheir death conditioning. John was devastated.
After leavingthe hospital he saw soma being handed out to a group of workers. John runs there and throws the soma out the windows with the help of Helmholtz. This caused a riot among the workers and Bernard went to get help fromthe police. The police stopped the riot and supplied the workerswith their share of soma. Bernard, Helmholtz and John are taken toMustapha Mond, the ruler of this section of the world.
He explainsto them the necessity of stability and the reason he keeps them from Shakespeare,the Bible, and other old works of art. Bernard and Helmholtz aresent to separate island but John is allowed to continue living as he didto continue with Bernard’s experiment. John doesn’t want to stayso he seeks out a place where he can cleanse himself and live in solitudeand finds a lighthouse. As part of his cleansing, he makes a whipand whips himself repeatedly with it. A few workers happened to seehim doing so and the next day, John is swarmed with reporters.
Thenext day more reporters come but this time Lenina is among them. She tried to seduce him but John whips her. That night, John commitssuicide by hanging himself in the lighthouse and is discovered by a reporterthe next morning. PlotThe plot did grow out of the natureand situation of the characters, but it wasn’t the greatest thing in thenovel.
Everything came out naturally in the situation. Butthe plot wasn’t the best. What kept the story going more was thehumor of the situation. It was humorous the way that this futuresociety laughed at mothers, and looked down upon monogamy and marriage.
The way that John continued to call Thomas father causing the laughterof the people working at the hatchery was humorous. Also, anotherthing that kept the story going was the ideas that this story discussed. Bernard in the beginning of the novel had some morals. He felt uncomfortableto have sex on the first date and he felt deep in his gut that there wasmore to life than what was spoon fed to him.
Sadly, all of his moralsand yearnings came crashing down when he found success by bringing Johnfrom the reservation. Also, John’s rejection of technology is somethingto be looked at. I think Huxley was trying to make a point with that. John was supposed to be the hero of this book. He knew that thislifestyle was pointless, and that soma was killing the vast majority. He knew that everyone, no matter how old, was just infants.
He knewthat to truly mature you need to face sufferings and a constant cleansing. Even though this is true, I think John went overboard with it by beatinghimself at the lighthouse. If I were him, I would have gone to thelighthouse alone and just admired the view. This idea of “somethingmore” was one major reason I kept reading.
I feel the same way. There must be a purpose to live, not just to live, enjoy life, and die. CharactersThe characters are really describedand molded as individuals, but they’re more like a type of people. Each character represents a group. For example, Bernard would representthose who rejects society just because society represents them. He’sthe incarnate of Timon’s wisdom, “When the world turns it’s back on you,you turn your back on it.
” When Bernard was accepted by society,he embraced it. John represents those who grew up without prejudicesand was open minded to the yearning of his soul. He listened andheard that this lifestyle wasn’t right. These people were perverted. Society (in the form of Lenina) embraced him and he ran.
Lenina issociety. She represents those people who go with the flow. Bernard Marx: An alpha plus memberof the Central London Hatchery. He is shorter and less handsome thanhis caste and, therefore, rejected by society. John: This is the savage broughtby Bernard into civilization from the reservation. He expects thenew world to be wonderful but detests the world for being too shallow.
Lenina Crowne: A typical alpha girlin this utopian society. She falls in love with John but he attacksher calling her whore and strumpet. Thomas (D. H.
C. ): The director ofhatcheries who is in charge decanting and condition new children. Finds out that John is his son and falls apart. Linda: Left at the savage reservation. She gave birth to John on the reservation.
She was once part of thecivilized world. Mustapha Mond: The Resident Controllerfor Western Europe. This is the guy in charge. He knows abouteverything the normal people might have a chance to do and decide if itsbetter for society or not. He exiles Bernard and Helmholtz.
Helmholtz Watson: A friend ofBernard and John. He was professor of emotional engineering and admiredShakespeare for his prowess in that field. He had ideas that weresimilar to John’s and was exiled because of them, but to him they wereonly theory and he never acted upon his ideas of solitude, etc. SettingThe setting is fictional since thestory takes place in the future.
It is well thought out with prettymuch everything figured out, from the birth to death, to recreation, tosex. The purpose of the setting is to show the difference betweenthe Utopian society and the savage reservation, and the way each controlits residents. Everything makes sense in this setting. StyleThe style was very precise. Each word had a meaning and was not just put there to sound good. There were few difficult words and the reading was easy.
Huxley usedsome creative allusions in the book. For example: A. D. whichmeant “Anno Domini” – the year of our Lord is now A.
F. – the year of ourFord. Ford is their God and they use it the same way he use God. For example: they say “Oh Ford” for our “Oh God. ” One thingthat I didn’t like was what he did to the religion of the Indians on thereservation. He put a bunch of religions and stuck them together,as if he took his little knowledge of various religions and put them togetherto make a complete religion.
What he might have done is taking onereligion, for example Christianity, and made the savages Christians. Or he could have read up on the Indian religion and made the Indians believethat, of course it wouldn’t make sense since they’re in Europe but it wouldhave been better. That is the only complaint I have. Everythingelse was to my liking. ThemeThe theme was purpose. Whatis the purpose of life.
Is it, “Life’s short, play hard,” as thecivilized people believed, or is it more than that. Do we have adeeper purpose than just living. The civilized people had no valuefor life. The D.
H. C. said, “what is an individual? . . . We can makea new one with the greatest of ease – as many as we like.
” A nursesaid about the death conditioning, “They learn to take death as a matterof course. ” They don’t know what they’re missing without a family. Linda said about John, “but he was a comfort to me. ” Without these,they live for themselves, without purpose, with only the moral that theywere conditioned with such as “mother” is a bad word. John knew therewas something more.
Life is not just for your pleasure and happiness. It’s more for joy. Knowing that you’ve done all that you can do. It’s sweat and hard work and discipline. He knew what life was aboutby growing up unprejudiced, without being conditioned.
He knew. ConclusionAs a story, this was very simple. This happened and it led to that. What makes this book a classicto me is its message. “The purpose of life was not the maintenanceof well being, but some intensification and refining of consciousness,some enlargement of knowledge.”