Brave New World is Happening Today – Oh Wait, Not Quite
4 March 2018
Book Category: Fiction
I’m probably the last person to read ‘Brave New World’ by Aldous Huxley, not to be confused with the story about how settlers came to North America.
Many other people have reviewed, rated and analyzed this book but I’m not afraid of giving my own opinion of it. Hopefully, the twist of my own flavor will make it interesting for those of you that have read this classic dystopian science fiction novel. ‘Brave New World’ is a worthy topic to talk about.
First, before getting into the review, I wanted to mention the interesting way I came across my tattattered up 1969 copy of this book. As many of you know, I live in Indonesia and I’ve got several coworkers from different Western countries from around the world. Well, my American coworker had been here for about 8 years and had decided that it was time for him to go back to the US.
But before he left, he gave me a decent sized stack of used books of various conditions and ages. One of those books was ‘Brave New World’ but at that time I cast it aside because of the condition as you can see in the picture above. I’m not saying it was my friend’s fault about the poor condition of this copy, but…well it probably really was his fault because he is not the cleanest of people. But then again the copy he gave me is 49 years old and as I can see from the inside cover it has probably traveled around the world. No wonder the book is falling apart!
Onto the Review of Brave New World
The book was published in 1932 and set in London far in the future in 2540 or as the book calls it, A.F. 632. A.F. stands for After Ford. The people consider Ford to be a God. And yes we are talking about the Ford who created the car. Strange right? The first half of the story follows an oddly short man for what the book calls an Alfa Plus named Bernard Marx who is in charge of overseeing the total conditioning of children through sleep hypnotism.
Society is run on a hangoverless drug called soma which is given out to each citizen every day after a not too strenuous day of work. People LOVE and depend on soma since it makes them stress-less and turns them into a mindless, almost emotionless, other than happy, citizen. It’s a drug addiction that no one knows is bad for their creativity and individuality to break free from the government which controls them.
Brave New World Tube Babies and Everyone Belongs to Everyone
No one has mothers or fathers (everyone is a tube baby) and everyone belongs to everyone. The lower caste tube babies are purposely made retarded by lowering the oxygen and putting alcohol in their system. Basically, people could choose to have sex with anyone whenever and wherever they like. It’s encouraged to have as many partners as you can get while on the other side looked heavily down upon getting attached to any ONE person.
Brave New World Workforce
Since before birth, every person in the ‘civilized world’ has a chosen purpose and role in society which the government does not want to be messed with and that’s where Bernard Marx comes in. He doesn’t quite fit in with anyone and has feelings no one else experiences. He even doesn’t like taking soma at all. Although part of his habit or addiction is still ingrained into him by the government, his emotional side is trying to break free.
Brave New World, The Introduction of John
The story shifts a bit when Lenina Crowne, a sexy vaccination worker at the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre sets her sights on Bernard. They decide to take a holiday to the Savage Reservation in New Mexico where they find someone that could change their brave new world forever. His name is John.
Analysis of John
At this point, John, who was born on the reservation, son to Linda who got left behind a couple of decades ago by the current Director of Hatcheries, takes over as the main character. He’s a very curious and confused individual since the only two things he knows about the world are from what his mother tells him about London and from what he sees in the reservation which are complete opposites.
The reservation is filled with, maybe sad to say, Native Americans, and Mexicans (this was written in 1932 guys, it’s racist).
People on the reservation grow old and diseased. They worship gods and even Jesus. The religion is a bit mixed up. Whereas people in the civilized world worship Ford and soma.
People get married and have children on the reservation where the civilized people have whoever they want, and never get married or have children.
No wonder John gets confused especially when he meets Lenina he starts to have an emotional tug-o-war with himself whether to follow what the people of the reservation have taught him or the distant culture of the brave new world his mother has told him about since he was born.
Another interesting look at this distant science fiction world is the reservation still has a few documents and books left over from ancient times. Works such as The Complete Works of Shakespeare. John’s mother, being from London taught John how to read from the limited knowledge she had.
Once John found the works of Shakespeare he got enamored with it. He read the passages over and over almost become obsessed with the messages and meaning as well as strange vocabulary he could only guess at. I loved the fact that actual excerpts were included in the Brave New World.
When Bernard and Lenina offer for him and his mother to come back with them to London, he eagerly accepts. But what he doesn’t realize is he can’t fit in there. People are mindless. The conformity of the society, of everything, is terrifying to him. He despises that people have no individuality.
Related Post: Children of Time
3 Final Quotes and Thoughts About Brave New World
I want God, I want poetry, I want danger, I want freedom, I want sin.
If you take these things away, what do you have left? I think this is one of the major things we can take away from ‘Brave New World’ is that if we take these basic human traits away then we are only half human. Yes generally people in this dystopian society are happy but it’s because they don’t know any better. The government has taken away their freedom.
As a society now we have to be careful that our governments never get even close to what the world is like in ‘Brave New World’.
Universal happiness keeps the wheels steadily turning, truth and beauty can’t.
The government has provided perfect happiness but in turn, the people have lost their individuality. There is no beauty in this book. The truth is hidden and if someone like Bernard starts thinking creatively or like an outsider, the government will send them away forever.
Happiness is by far not a bad thing, but to lose someone’s humanity is the worst thing that could happen.
It isn’t only art that is incompatible with happiness, it’s also science. Science is dangerous, we have to keep it most carefully chained and muzzled.
Seeing just from these three quotes that I picked from the book you can see that the citizens in this book have a thumb pressed down on them. Come on! Science is so important, but in this book’s world, people are not allowed to experiment. They are just stuck in their mediocre world believing their life is perfect not realizing that their freedom has been taken away by the system their ancestors created.
They are stuck in a vicious cycle that most likely will not be broken. Space exploration, new inventions, arts, music, literature and movies will never be permitted in this scary under toned dystopian science fiction vision of the future.
Is any of this familiar in our society today? Our world now is definitely not as drastic as in ‘Brave New World’ but I do see some similarities from this book happening in America.
Do any of you? Add your comments below and share your thoughts about ‘Brave New World’.