Brave New World Essay
AP English Cody Sabo Question 3 9/11/11 Aldous Huxley wisely inserts many instances of distortion to the elements in Brave New World to successfully caution the world about its growing interest in technology. Brave New World takes place in a futuristic society that has a date system entirely based off Henry Ford. Huxley intentionally distorted the setting of Brave New World so distance was created between his audience and the reader. This distance allows the reader to cast judgment upon the society without instantly realizing that he is actually judging himself.
Had Huxley not painted a futuristic society, he wouldn’t have been able to get away with as much criticism because it would be a direct insult to the reader. Huxley wanted to caution as many people as possible to limit how much they become involved with science. So creating what seems like a gap between the reader’s society and the society within Brave New World was a strategic move to widen the audience. The actual places within Brave New World are also distorted in the sense that they are greatly exaggerated. Huxley not only exaggerates the setting of the New World, but he also exaggerates the reservation that the “savages” live on.
Huxley purposely juxtaposes these two settings in order to illustrate just how odd of a society this New World contains. The reservation is described as being a natural place that gives off a “gross” connotation. The only reason this feeling of disgust is felt by the reader is because the entire beginning of the novel is focused in a sterile world that is seemingly perfectly hygienic. So, when Bernard goes to the savage reservation an instant comparison is made which makes it seem like the reservation is a worse place. Along with distorted places in Brave New World, the date system the New Society goes by is also distorted.
Everything in this society is centralized around Henry Ford so the date system follows the pattern. The novel takes place in 632 A. F. which means 632 years after Ford. The Ford dating system illustrates that the New Society worships Ford, inferably because of how efficient his ideas were. Huxley is criticizing how current society tries to eliminate any problems by inventing new technology to fix the problems. In Brave New World , Huxley creates opposing characters and he essentially terminates any individuality from most of the characters because they are told how to think.
The novel starts off in the New World, then jumps to the savage reservation, then back to the New World. During this time some brief insight is given about the characters and it is easy to see that they live opposite lifestyles. In the New World everything is done sterilely and no religion whatsoever is practiced. However, in the reservation the savages aren’t hygienic and they readily practice religious ceremonies. To show just how opposite the characters are, Huxley brings the savage to the New World. In doing this, Huxley is essentially blending two opposing and over exaggerated lifestyles together, which hence causes mass chaos.
The savage seems to represent the readers during these scenes because the inevitable shock by the readers is also present in John. John eventually conveys this shock which causes turmoil. Not much insight to the characters is given, however. All of the characters in Brave New World are actually static. Huxley purposely doesn’t get to involved in the personalities of the characters because it’s unnecessary to the purpose of the novel. This absence of detail about characters also elaborates on the fact that the characters in Brave New World that are apart of the New World don’t actually have any individuality.
Instead of being allowed freedom in what to believe, the members of the society are forced to be sleep taught, which drills ideas into their heads. So, Huxley’s inclusion of static characters essentially enables the reader to be able to relate to characters that lack a unique personality. Huxley effectively distorts the overall plotline of Brave New World by creating scenes in which acts that are frowned upon in a normal society are shown to be commonplace. At the very beginning of the novel sex is shown to play an important role in the new society because kids are playing sex games in bushes.
This should immediately evoke a sense of bewilderment by the reader because sex amongst children is looked down upon by normal society. Throughout the entire novel sex occurs quite often, but love is never correlated with the intimacy. The characters simply choose who they want to be with and then act upon the person without putting forth much effort at all. Having sex with others and not loving the person is something that is normally looked down upon in normal society, so Huxley obviously intended to have a large impact on the readers.
To further his exploitation of taboo subjects, Huxley makes the New World a society in which drugs known as Soma are used to fix any problem that may occur. Whenever something that seems like it might be the least bit problematic arises, Soma is taken to ease them of any tension. This eliminates any problem solving and rids of the overall satisfaction from overcoming difficulties. But problems seldom occur to inhabitants of the New World, and Huxley wanted to make drugs commonplace in Brave New World.
So, Soma is also taken during most instances of sex which increases the drastic impact on the reader. All of Huxley’s exaggerations of the New World is meant to make the reader think about his own society and think about the path that it is headed down. Brave New World was written with a purpose of cautioning readers of the future of science. He distorts various literary elements to fulfill his purpose by allowing for a large audience that will criticize the New World, and then think about how it can relate to their own society.