Essay about Brave New World: The Destruction of Family
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Is the push for a perfect utopia enough to siphon motherhood, family, and love? As in Brave New World, Aldous Huxley illustrates the destruction of the idea of family in this ’perfect world‘. People in the world today have the ability to express love and obtain a family. Huxley explores the futuristic outlook on a world (in many ways similar to ours) that would not allow such humanistic traits. Science is so called the ’father of progress’ and yet the development of Fordism and the evolution of artificial fertilization deteriorates the social value of science. Brave New World offers incites on an innovative world trying and, even more frightening, succeeding to create a utopia while destroying family and erasing the humanity in people.…show more content…
“’Try to imagine what living with one’s family meant’ They tried; but obviously without the smallest success ‘And do you know what a home was?’ They shook their heads” (Huxley 36). ‘Living with one’s family‘, and ‘home’ are concepts that have been lost in the minds of this new world. Ideas like these are ways of life in the world today, and thought as aspects of being human. Politics of Huxley’s world have basically eliminated key facets that reduce people to rapidly reproducing mice. Sex has been reduced to a common action with no social bindings and it is not a gesture of showing love for someone else as people think of it today. When will today’s society be consumed with only the physical aspect of sex? With all of the premarital sex and the age of becoming sexually active decreasing every generation, it leaves a question to be answered; where did the value of love and responsibility of partnership go? Monogamy, in “Brave New World“, is unheard of and taboo to everyone except those who see how powerful love is. The connection that unites people is reduced to a competition to see how many times people have it rather than which the person is. In the book, John knows the importance of love and even resists the temptation to have sex with Lenina. John is among a few people who have not been reduced to mating animals but rather humans that still feel a need for love and companionship. Most of the people of Brave New World have been taught that is acceptable; no, that
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The brilliant social satirist Aldous Huxley shocked the world in 1932 with the publication of his science fiction masterpiece Brave New World. The novel takes place in the cities of London and New Mexico during the year of 632 A. F. (After Ford). It is a future world of absolute stability and total sterility with one concern- happiness for all (Wright 84). In his foreword to the New Harper edition of Brave New World, Huxley states its theme as "the advancement of science as it affects human individuals. " While these advances are universally thought to be tremendous progress in our growth as human beings, Huxley's feelings towards this evolution are of danger, caution, and concern (Monarch 6). The novel starts out in the heart of the new society, the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Center, where babies are chemically and genetically engineered in test-tubes, decanted, and then conditioned by hypnopaedia (teaching societal ethics during sleep) to be unquestionably "happy" (Macdonald 1).
To ensure social stability, a five-tiered caste system ruled by Alphas and Betas was created. The lower castes, the Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons, identical in genetic makeup, are responsible for the essential manual labor necessary to maintain the safety of their betters. The drug soma, rationed out to members of all classes, ensures total sexual liberation and no pain or sorrow (Wright 85). Bernard Marx, an Alpha believed to have accidentally received a dose of alcohol as a fetus, has a crush on Lenina Crowne and decides to take a trip with her to the Native American Reservations.
There they meet Linda, a woman originally from the Utopian world who had been left on the Reservation twenty-five years earlier, and her son John. John's father was the prestigious Director of the Hatchery who, in order to avoid the embarrassment and disgust of a conceived child born with a live birth, returned home without Linda. Bernard invites Linda and John to return with him to London (Classic Notes 4). Enchanted by the prospect of meeting others like Lenina, John exultantly quotes from Shakespeare's The Tempest: "O brave new world that has such people in it " (Wright 85). The impact of their arrival was colossal resulting in instant celebrity for Bernard as the keeper of the Savage (John). Reveling in his sudden popularity, Bernard starts to date numerous women and become extremely arrogant.
At this time John and Helmholtz, an intellectually superior Alpha who has become disillusioned with the society, have become very good friends. Linda, John's mother, dies from an overdose of soma. John then confronts those waiting in line for their daily ration of soma telling them it is poisoning their minds. An uproar breaks out and John, Bernard, and Helmholtz are sent to see Mustapha Mond, The World Controller of Western Europe, entitled His Ford ship. It is then that John and Mustapha engage in a long debate over why society is the way it is.
John is upset that history, religion, and science are all regulated and banned. Mustapha tells him that the society is designed to maximize each person's happiness. John keeps protesting and Mustapha retorts, "You are claiming the right to be unhappy. " He then mentions a long list of mankind's ills and evils. John replies, "I claim them all. " (SparkNotes 2). Helmholtz finds happiness in exile to an island colony of misfits and helps Bernard adjust to the lifestyle too. Lenina tries to return to her old life, and John the Savage is forced to stay and be studied like a human guinea pig.
Tormented by sightseers, fascinated and repelled by the sexual license around him, he beats himself and, in a frenzy at the appearance of Lenina, beats her and then sleeps with her. Having finally yielded to the sexual temptations of a world he has tried hard to reject, John commits suicide. Some compare him to a Hamlet-like figure, betrayed by mother and girlfriend, beset by illusion, and unable to grasp reality (Macdonald 2). Due to the originality of its ideas and exuberant style Brave New World was an immediate success. Extremely entertaining with a morbid message, the novel attained instant popularity and is still being used today to express concern or disdain for the direction society has taken, or for its lack of direction (Monarch 6). All in all, since its publication in 1932, Brave New World and its author has been the subject of much commentary and much criticism.
This novel, a source of controversy and a subject for sermons, has been praised and condemned, vilified and glorified (Classic Notes 3). Brave New World paints a nightmarish future in which science and technology, for the good of mankind, have destroyed mankind. This bleak view of the Utopian world was not really about the future, but a reflection of the present. Huxley began with an aspect of society that he disliked and demonstrated the likely consequences if it were to develop into an extreme (Neilson 2). Examine the world in 1932; science had become an overwhelming social force for better or for worse.
People had seen science prevent millions of deaths with vaccinations and kill millions with horrific, factory-produced weaponry in World War I. The World State in Brave New World uses science to justify and establish a eugenically designed society. Eugenics, the study of genes, was widely advocated and enthusiastically praised by the Nazi party who was forming in Germany at the time the novel was written. The "promised land" in Brave New World offers a life without old age, disease, poverty, unemployment, guilt, and racial discrimination but at a very high price- the sacrifice of freedom, individuality, truth, beauty, a sense of purpose, and the concept of God (SparkNotes 2). Huxley meant Brave New World to be a warning- a warning that a World State is not only possible but probable if we do not protect the rights of the individual to be an individual: to be unique and free. Science and technology should be the servants of man- man should not be enslaved to them.
Brave New World is the description of our lives in the future if the present obsessions persist for standardization according to the sciences: eugenics, philosophy, economics, and mechanics (Monarch 6). Aldous Huxley's dynamic writing style has ranged from aristocratic and resumed to the negative yet reserved satire in his later works. In his Vulgarity in Literature he apologizes by saying that to "shock the stupid and morally reprehensible truth-haters into an acceptance of reality is not only the duty of a satirist, it is a rare pleasure" (Bakke 1). Huxley's strengths are the exuberance of his ideas, his use of wit and satire, his keen observations of mankind and its foibles, and combination of fact (scientific data) and fiction (future life on earth). His weaknesses include the shallowness of his characters, his overriding concern with teaching a lesson or moral, and his over-elaborate framework (Classic Notes 2).
In Brave New World Huxley wants to make the reader aware of the conflicts within society. He does this by stressing the contrast and conflict by giving a two-angled view of his characters and by considering an event in several aspects- emotional, religious, metaphysical, and scientific. This can be both a curse and a blessing for the reader. An example of this two-angled view is his many references to the influence of the physical on the mental; man is both body and spirit. Along with the spirit Huxley concerns the reader with descriptive physical functions, such as body odor, sickness, and references to bowels. Huxley discussed his "two-angled vision" in an interview with Ross Parameter (Saturday Review, March 19, 1938).
He said, I try to get a stereoscopic vision, to show my characters from two angles simultaneously. Either I try to show them both as they feel themselves to be; or else I try to give two rather similar characters to throw light on each other... (Monarch 3). The first three chapters of Brave New World are masterfully composed in an indirect matter in which very little is heard; almost everything is overheard. Huxley also uses another technique called "counterpoint" that involves a simultaneous juxtaposition of different elements of the narrative which result in a subtle and brilliant cacophony of ironies (Firchow 2) Brave New World is a novel of multitudinous illusions- most referring to Shakespeare. The point of these illusions is to reveal ironically the inadequacies of the present by comparing it to the past. By merely hinting, for example, at the analogy between the Foreign state and Prospero's island, Huxley manages to convey ironically a disapproval of that state without ever having to voice it (Firchow 3) Aldous Huxley's science fiction masterpiece, Brave New World, warns society of their possible horrific future.
A future of extreme genetic engineering and soma induced "happiness" due to the terrifying advancement of science. Using brilliant satire with a plethora of illusions, Huxley is able to reveal his deepest concerns for mankind with an entertaining story that will be enjoyed for decades to come by all kinds of people.
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