A Brave Story Imagine a society so different from our own that it is completely shocking. This is the setting for Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. The satire takes place in the year 632 A.F., after Ford who has become a deity for this society. Civilization as we know it ended after a very destructive war, which left the human population decimated and exhausted. After another war, a dictatorship took control of the remaining population. This new government was able to bring stability by setting up a strict five layered caste system. Traditional institutions like marriage and religion were completely eliminated. The government strictly controls all facets of life. Children are born in test tubes independent of parents and raised and conditioned by the government. Morals in this future setting are somewhat shocking even to someone of a very liberal nature. World peace is maintained by governmental conditioning of all people to think alike. Also, Soma, a soothing opiate like drug, is dispensed to all to quell any excess emotion. The action begins in the London Hatcheries where children are mass-produced and conditioned to the warped ideals of the Utopia. It’s a brutal image like animals being raised on a farm. One of the employees there, Lenina Crowne, has been dating employee Henry Foster with regularity, but courtship is discouraged by the State. Her friend Fanny Crowne begins to lecture her about this, so in turn Lenina begins to date another one of the employees. Bernard Marx, who is very smart but somewhat deformed, becomes her newest object of infatuation. She decides to go on vacation with him to a reservation in New Mexico, where the so-called savages live. These were people that were deemed unworthy by the State to be assimilated into the Utopia. There at the reservation, Bernard and Lenina encounter John the savage and his mother Linda. In a surprising twist, Linda turns out to be a former Utopian, who actually bore the son of the DHC (the director of the Hatchery). Natural birth is considered obscene in Utopia, which is why Linda is in exile from the society. Bernard obtains permission from one of the ten supreme rulers, World Controller Mustapha Mond, to bring John and Linda back to the Utopia. Upon returning from the reservation, the DHC is about to send Bernard into exile, but his secret relation to Linda and son John is exposed. Overwhelmed by humiliation, the DHC resigns. Bernard and his friend Helmholtz act as guardians to John. They show him off around the Utopia, and for the first time ever, Bernard becomes popular and something of a status symbol. John is at first impressed by the society, but begins to understand the depth of the materialism and lack of real humanity in Utopia. Becoming ever more moody, he begins to withdraw from the public. Meanwhile, Lenina has developed a strong infatuation with John. She makes several sexual advances, but John is completely disgusted by her blunt lustfulness and rejects her. Shortly after, John’s mother dies. The callousness of the Utopians at the hospital sends John into a fit of passionate rage. Lecturing the Utopians about freedom, he causes a riot. After the riot is put down, the World Controller Mustapha Mond summons Bernard, John, and Helmholtz. At their meeting, Bernard and Helmholtz are exiled, but John remains behind with Mond for a long philosophical discussion about the Utopia. After this, John has decided to flee the Utopia. Outside of London, he hides and begins to start a new existence, but is discovered. Upon reaching the point of mental exhaustion, he breaks down and partakes in the Utopian practices, which he was so against. When he regains his composure, he is so overwhelmed by guilt that he commits suicide.
Brave New World is a satire on modern day society. Huxley believed that if rampant consumerism and materialism remains unchecked and if science is not limited that our own world could end up like the bleak one that is illustrated in the book. The world in the novel is just one possibility that could happen if nothing is changed. This is a warning from Huxley that people need to think for themselves. In the book, the society as a whole does not have the ability to think for themselves, producing a cold robot-like character in the Utopians. The people are so conditioned to be a part of the whole and not individuals that when John the savage begins to lecture about the value of freedom and individualism a riot ensues.A particularly effective passage was when Mustapha Mond gives a lecture to students at the Hatchery concerning the banning of literature, religion, history, and family life from the Old World. Here is when Huxley makes his message known clearly; if man does not change his ways, the future will wipe out the past that we treasure. Huxley also seems to be alluding to what happened when the communists took over Russia. I really liked the way Huxley developed and used the two main characters Bernard and John. Bernard became the symbol of imperfection in a society that claims to be perfect. He was a member of the top caste in Utopia, an alpha plus. Born slightly deformed, he was not the model of a perfect alpha. It was believed that there was a toxin introduced to his blood surrogate (an artificial uterus). Bernard was like the ugly duckling but never grew into a swan, and this deeply affected Bernard’s personality and actions. John exemplifies the literary noble savage, but his character goes deeper than that. When reading Huxley’s description of Utopia, there is a voice inside you that says, “This is wrong, people aren’t meant to live like this.” In the story John portrays that voice of sanity, reason, and humanity. When John goes up against the Utopia, he fails and takes his own life. This serves to drive home Huxley’s message, and it is extremely effective. This is one reason why Brave New World is an excellent satire. It was interesting how a story about a society completely different from ours can present a commentary on how we live, and where we may be headed. It is rare to find a book that is so thought provoking. That was my largest impression from this book. When I finished reading the last page, I put the book down and just thought about the implications that Brave New World presented. Huxley’s ultimate goal was to raise the awareness of the consequences of unchecked capitalism, or at the very least, make people stop and think. I believe he achieved this goal making Brave New World a success as well as a brilliant satire. The book had a few shortcomings, but the positive attributes outweighed the negative. I would strongly recommend Brave New World to anyone.