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Brave New World Essay

August 25th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

The theme of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World is community, identity, and stability. Each of these three themes represents what a Brave New World society needs to have in order to survive. According to the new world controllers, community is a result of identity and stability, identity is a part of genetic engineering, and stability is what everyone desires to achieve. These themes are represented in the book by the symbolic meaning of the phrase “Children are from bottles” and the hypnotic phrase “Everybody belongs to everybody else” (43). In this society, freedom and individualism is replaced by scientific control and mindless happiness at an unknown cost.

Community refers to the thought of one whole unit. Everyone is connected, by their actions toward each other in every day life, sexual desires, and what they do to remove the feeling of horrible emotions. This false connectedness and its effects can be seen in Bernard, a person who hates what society has become. Bernard is disgusted by the thought of “having anyone” he says, referring to sexual relations with women. Bernard is longing for a sense of individuality which he cannot posses in Brave New World. “He emerged with a self-consciousness intensified to the pitch of agony. He is utterly miserable, and perhaps it is his own fault” (86). Thereby jeopardizing the stability of the community as a whole, near the end, it was decided that he be banished to the Falkland Islands, so that he could not tell anyone else of his individuality. In Brave New World community is upheld and reinforced at any and all costs.

Identity is the one thing that no one person can experience. There is no individual identity in Brave New World. There is only a collective identity that is shared by all members of society. Collective identity is achieved by forcing everyone in society to conform. It is maintained in society by making someone who has any individuality feel different almost as an outcast. Sometimes as in the case of Bernard, people in Brave New World long for their own identity. For example, Bernard was having feelings and thoughts he is not proud of, “?Did you ever feel as though you have something inside you that was only waiting for you to give it a chance to come out? Some sort of extra power that you aren’t using,” Bernard said to a friend while talking secret (69). Individuality is the extra power Bernard is referring to. This shows that as much as the world controllers try to rob people of their individuality, it is part of human nature that cannot be denied by any scientific advances.

Stability is a third goal, and it is the one most mentioned in the book. “The world is 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 never 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 the way they ought to behave” (220). The desire for stability requires the production of large numbers of genetically identical humans, because people who are exactly the same are less likely to come into conflict. Stability is seen in Brave New World to minimize conflict, risk, and change.

In realizing the motto of “community, identity, and stability,” individual freedoms are vanquished. The characters in Brave New World are shallow. Huxley did not do this solely to highlight the society as a whole, but to emphasize what has been lost to the utopian ideals of Brave New World. The characters are mindless robots controlled by the universal program of utopia. Though sometimes they stray in areas of their life, such as Lenina, they are good mindless slaves. Even though the people of Brave New World think they are happy they do not realize that it is a manipulated drug induced genetic emotion that is not real. Most lack what it is to be human. They deny pain, suffering, and anguish – all the things that make humans, human. This denial makes them take drugs to cover up these feelings. In making the characters in this fashion, Huxley is showing the downside to Brave New World – the lack of individuality, freedom, and choice. Mustapha Mond was once a gifted scientist, but he makes the choice to become one of the rulers instead of becoming a troublesome outcast. The characters represent the ultimate evil in society, the loss of ones self. They have become humans without a soul.
In Brave New World, Huxley warns readers that scientific advances can be a threat to society. This is particularly evident in the fields of biology, technology and psychology. In the novel, humans are mass-produced in assembly line style. This is accomplished with the Bokanovsky process. In this process, human beings are genetically engineered in laboratories. “… a bokanovskified egg will bud, will proliferate, will divide. From eight to ninety-six buds, and every bud will grow into a perfectly formed embryo, and every embryo into a full sized adult,” (6). One of the threats of this genetic breeding is that no family structures exist in Brave New World. Instead, humans are raised in conditioning centers. Thus, with so many clones, individuality is erased along with the value of a single human life. “Murder kills only the individual and, after all what is an individual?” With a sweeping gesture he indicated the rows of microscopes, the test tubes, the incubators. ?We can make a new one with the greatest ease – as many as we like” (148). Human life holds no value because it can be easily replaced through the Bokanovsky process. Furthermore, Bokanovsky’s method of mass production prevents individuality, as on the reservation, all people are cloned. Starting from the time of decanting, each embryo is genetically cloned to fall into one of the various social classes. Within each social class, all members are cloned to be intellectually and physically equivalent. Biological technology helps to achieve this equality by genetically shaping the minds of society. In Brave New World, one’s intelligence depends on the amount of alcohol injected into their embryo. For example, one of the lower classes in society, Epsilons, have quite a high amount of alcohol injected in the decanting process. As a result, an individual?s intelligence is controlled by society, and the individual cannot use what he is deprived of upon creation. Another example of the use of science as a means of control is hypnopaedia. When sleeping, cycles of phrases are repeated to individuals until they are embedded in their brains and used in every day life. “Alpha children wear gray. They work much harder than we do, because they’re so frightfully clever. I’m really awfully glad I’m a Beta, because I don’t work so hard. And then we are much better and 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” (28). Science is used to maintain social order, increase production, and create an ignorantly blissful society.

Citizens of this utopian society seek happiness at all cost. They create a society of sex, orgies, and drugs. Yet, this underlying corruption is not intentional. These people are so programmed that they do not know any better and are mindless drones. People exist to voice ideas or to manifest them in their behavior. Lenina Crowne is the perfect example. She is young, pretty, happy, and shallow. Lenina’s one fault is that she sometimes spends more time dating one man than society thinks is correct. Like all well conditioned citizens of the new world state, Lenina believes in utopia and loves it. Lenina spends much of her time spreading the words of utopia to her fellow citizens. “Everyone works for everyone else. We couldn’t do without Epsilons. Everyone works for everyone else,” (74). The characters in Brave New World can be compared to robots, made in test tubes by scientists and programmed by hypnosis.

Brave New World illustrates a society run by science and industry. “Individuals” are created by society, and when they die, the bodies are processed to benefit society. The lives of the members of society are predestined, and their thoughts and opinions are programmed into them. Brave New World is Huxley’s warning. It is his attempt to make man realize that man should have the freedom to explore and choose his own means of pleasure. Man should not be adapted and enslaved to science and technology. In the novel, pleasure is obtained by using methods such as conditioning, and using sex and soma as the two most important sources for getting ultimate happiness, followed by obstacle golf, feelies, and solidarity service. The misuse of psychological conditioning, the destruction of family, the cheapening of sexual pleasure, and the pursuit of happiness through drugs, are Huxley’s illustrations of man’s ignorance and shallowness. Their minds have been conditioned to believe that the only way to gain pleasure is to eliminate any possibility of suffering. Brave New World is an example of utopia, but the utopia it portrays is a bleak one.
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