Blog Assignment #5: Brave New World

First edition cover, from Wikipedia.

First edition cover, from Wikipedia.

Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (1932) is similar to Mrs. Dalloway in that it attempts to portray the society as well as the people who inhabit it. One very big difference, however, is that Brave New World projects a future utopian England in which humanity has become subordinated to technology, among other things. In what ways is the portrayal of self and society in Brave New World like or unlike some of the previous works we’ve read this term? Please provide a quote that illustrates your meaning.

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August 8, 2008. Uncategorized.

10 Comments

  1. aliciaguy replied:

    I believe that a brave new world is unlike any of the other novels we read that portray self or society. The novel is blased with very advanced technologies. For example the kids are taught from a young age to engage in sexual “activities” and if they do not they are taken for counseling and these did not occur in any other society’s in the novel.

    The women also are portrayed in a very different light where as in th other readings we have done the females are seeking to be loved and get married these females only concern seems to be to reproduce. They are encouraged to date more than one person at a time and make sure their ovaries are functioning correctly or adequately.

  2. Jeff Drouin replied:

    These are some good observations, but please be sure to give us some quotes. We want to be as specific a possible.

    Jeff

  3. yukonj88 replied:

    Early on in the novel, Bernard describes a certain amount of disappointment when it comes to the way Lenina behaves towards him.

    “Well, now she had said it and he was still wretched-wretched that she should have thought it such a perfect afternoon for Obstacle Golf, that she should have found him funny for not wanting to talk of their most private affairs in public. Wretched, in a word, because she had behaved as any healthy and virtuous English girl ought to behave and not in some other, abnormal, extraordinary way.” (p64)

    Like in all of the books we have read, the different, more complex individual is often the most fascinating and interesting. It is very troubling to Bernard that Lenina doesn’t appear to be that kind of person. Lenina is normal and in Bernard’s mind, that normalcy is wretched. This, in a society that is trying to completely phase out the individual. Only the enlightened still cherish the individual and importance of self.

  4. rrios0326 replied:

    I disagree with Alicia. John Savage of Brave New World and Septimus Smith of Mrs. Dalloway, in my mind, were very much alike. They were both outcasts who thought differently in a society where it was necessary to fit into a box of what is deemed as “normal.”
    “Universal happiness keeps the wheels steadily turning; truth and beauty can’t.”
    John is looking for the truth and beauty of the world, even if he has to go through pain and misery to seek it but Mustapha Mond tells him that it is impossible for universal happiness to exist if truth is pursued. Septimus Smith in one of his moments says”…beauty, that was the truth now. Beauty was everywhere.” The only way Septimus would have begun his healing process was if he was able to be honest about what had happened during the war no matter how painful the subject is. But instead the doctors tell him that he’s fine and don’t want him to confront his feelings; They want him to conform into society.

  5. yukonj88 replied:

    On a side note, does anyone who has seen the movie Demolition Man think that the character Lenina Huxley (Sandra Bullock)is based on the Lenina in this novel?

  6. simonagoldin replied:

    I believe that this book is more like many other work’s we’ve read so far. There is a line in the beginning that sets the tone for the entire piece on page 16. “that is the secret of happiness and virtue–liking what you’ve got to do. All conditioning aims at that: making people like their inescapable social destiny.”

    These words transcend the basic concept of the utopian future and enter the realm of something that is familiar to us today. The artificial world that we partake in and it’s regulations, which make us incapable of escaping the mundane. A paralysis that people live by in order to sustain the levels of normalcy (whatever that might be). All of this was seen in Joyce’s work, such as ‘Eveline’, ‘Araby’, Forster’s ‘Howard’s End’, and of course Woolf’s ‘Mrs. Dolloway’. The main characters in these books were struggling to attain a sense of truth or reality, but were bound by the humdrum existence.

  7. cnudelmann replied:

    The novel portrays society like the other novels we have read. The difference in this novel is that it takes place in the future and that it is a dystopia. It also portrays different perspectives of the people in the society. In the novel people are created and conditioned to be happy with their social status. It gives us different perspectives of the society through it’s characters. Lenina really doesn’t question the ways of society, in fact she views John as being strange because he does not accept their way of life. John saw the film that they viewed on their date as weak and “base.” Lenina, on the other hand didn’t see a problem with it, “She shook her head. ‘I don’t know what you mean.’ Why
    was he so queer? Why did he go out of his way to spoil
    things?” The story portrayed two very different perspectives of society.

  8. macbeth19 replied:

    In terms of scrificing one’s individuality for sake of civilization, Brave New World reminds me of Mrs Dalloway.
    In Mrs Dalloway, people are trying to be civilized and normal but are not at peace with themselves and struggle to adapt of everday life after World War I. They are expected to go on and behave in a civilzied way, regardless of whether it is healthy or fulfilling to their lives. They seem to think about death and day dream as a means of coping with the world.

    In the Brave New World, the inner struggles, confusion and disappointments of humanity have been chemically conditioned out of the human experience. Rather than face the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”, the Brave New World has attempted to eliminate and difficulty at all by keeping people sedated and mentally conditioned not pay attention. The Brave New World has relaced enduring life’s struggle with drugs and removing dangerous literature. The message is, if you are amde not to care, then it doesn’t matter.

    As Mustapha Mond said, ” Civilization has no no need of nobility or heroism. These things are symptoms of political inefficency…Where there are wars, where there divided allegiances, where there are tmeptations to be resisted, objects of love to be fought for or defended-there, obviously, nobility and heroism have some sense. But there aren’t any wars nowadays. The greatest care is taken to prevent you form loving anyone too much” or caring about anything other than the perfect order of society or desensitized humans.

  9. iloveny77 replied:

    On page 42, Huxley states that there is “no civilization without social stability. No social stability without individual stability.” In this utopian society, people are isolated from one another, divided into five different classes: Alphas, Betas, Gammas, Deltas and Epsilons. The members of each class are ranked according to their mental capacity and physical appearance. During the D.H.C.’s lecture to his students he tells them how by depriving certain embryos of oxygen will affect their stature. “The lower the cast, the shorter the oxygen.” It seems unfair that even before you are born, your future is already written out for you. However, Huxley suggests that this sort of precaution is necessary. In our world, one has to face racism and stereotypes because people feel threatened by what is different. Huxley’s suggestions are in a way “ideal.” By defining a standardized self and placing it in a formatted cast, any society can eliminate the problem of “being different.”

    If V. Woolf in “Mrs. Dalloway” was trying to portraying the differences among individuals and was focusing on society’s inability to often accept such distinctions; Huxley goes further and he asserts the necessity to eliminate personal diversity in order to establish rules and laws that everyone must obey. Even if Clarissa was paying attention to her social appearance, she struggled with her feelings. Most of Woolf’s characters were trying to solve the dilemma between the public and the private sphere, while in Huxley’s novel his characters avoid this struggle because are forced to annihilate their self: they are no longer human beings but merely bodies.

  10. yukonj88 replied:

    Joe –
    My email is jsmallzone@gmail.com
    Jon

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