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Brave New World Essay, Research Paper
To gain further knowledge on the Excel theme of technology, I choose to read Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. In this novel Huxley explains what may happen if the human race tries to create a utopia based on technology. This book expanded my knowledge of how technology and the quest for a perfect society can mix, creating a vial and intolerable society.
The plot line of the book is very simple, but at the same time it is also very effective. The story takes place in London at least 632 years into the future. The novel starts off by explaining how children are born into the “brave new world”. It explains how there are no families and children are created in cloning laboratories known as the hatcheries. It is also noted that children are born to fulfill certain roles in society and are work as young and healthy people up int’l the day they die. Once children are born they are educated in the Hatcheries in a very crude manner. They are taught to hate nature and to love technology in several ways including sleep hypnosis. They are also taught at a very young age that erotic behavior is good and one should indulge in it with out feeling guilt or pain.
Continuing on the important characters of the story are established early in the novel. The main character of the story is Bernard Marx, a member of the high society who is short and ugly as a result of birth complications. Another important character is Lenina Crowne, who is very beautiful nurse at the hatchery and who dates Marx though she believes he is “strange” due to his independent thoughts. Moving on, Marx plans a trip to the savage reservation with Lenina. The savage reservation is a place where a pre-utopian society exists. On the trip to the reservation they discover a savage named John and his mother Linda. Marx finds the two savages especially interesting because the father of the savage came from the Utopia and then quickly left. A curious Marx invites John to come to the Utopia with him and John eagerly agrees. The reader also learns at this time that John has fallen instantly in love with Lenina.
Marx gets clearance from Mustapha Mond, the leader of the Utopian world, to transport the two savages back to Utopia with him and Lenina. Mond, with great interest grants the clearance. Lenina, who has never left Utopia, is shocked by all the filth and odd behavior she has seen on the savage reservation and takes a soma holiday, which is comparable to getting drunk. When Marx returns to Utopia, the D.H.C. (director of hatcheries) threatens to denounce him for partaking in unorthodox behavior. To the D.H.C.’s surprise, Marx introduces Linda and John, the D.H.C.’s illegitimate son and lover from the savage world. In efforts to keep Marx quite about his affair he decides that denouncing him was a bad idea after all.
As John is shown Utopia, he immediately becomes a media icon. Everyone wants to see him and be with him. Soon, Lenina begins finding him attractive and wants to participate in erotic behavior, but John is more interested in a pure love. John had grown up reading Shakespeare and Lenina was raised in a hatchery, so their definitions of love would naturally contradict one another. Neither John nor Lenina realizes this and both end up longing for eachother and at the same time offending eachother by not showing the signs of each other’s definition of love. Meanwhile, Marx has become extremely jealous of John because he feels he is stealing his only love, Lenina. Soon John’s mother dies from an over dose of Soma and at the hospital. John, after watching his mother die is quite unhappy with the Utopia and he witnesses the low class “delta slaves” and offers them freedom. Since they are happy where they are the deltas take this as an insult and a riot breaks out. The riot is quickly broken up the police and Marx safely retrieves John.
At this time Mond summons John, Marx and Marx’s friend Helmholtz Watson. In this trial type confrontation John points out all the problems he sees with Utopia and Mond agrees but explains that we must pay the price of no art and no religion and so on to achieve a stable and happy society. Marx and Watson are both threatened with exile for unorthodox behavior and both were sentenced to exile. John further discusses the Utopian’s weaknesses with Mond. They go back and forth arguing and this is Huxley’s way of getting telling the reader all the bad points of a Utopian society. Mond and John never come to any agreement and it is Mond decision that John must stay in Utopia, though he wishes to be exiled with his friends. John then realizes that if he can not go with his two friends it is better to leave and try making a life as a hunter and gathering. He hides out in a secluded lighthouse.
To John’s dismay the lighthouse where he is hiding is discovered by the media and a media frenzy arises. John begins torturing him self as an act of purification and the media makes a movie out of the spectacle for the violence hungry public to view. John is overwhelmed by the crowds and then by Lenina flying in on a helicopter. This is too much for John and he begins beating Lenina and then beating himself. Finally in a fit of lunacy, John takes part in a soma filled orgy. Upon waking up and realizing his impurity, John almost immediately commits suicide by hanging himself, for he realizes that he can not survive in the Utopia.
As one can see from the plot summary of Brave New World Aldous Huxley was very against a Utopian state. He is perhaps warning future generations that if they dream of perfecting society, especially through technology they run the risk of destroying everything that is beautiful about life. He vividly explains that such a place would destroy culture, as we know it, for all books threatening the state would be band and all art and knowledge except science. The cultural knowledge would be replaced by meaningless activities, which make the citizens happy but in a very hollow way. Huxley expresses a great dislike for such cheap thrills through out the novel. Also, he warns that human engineering can result in a loss of human diversity. A great danger lies in creating masses of people to feel the same and be equal in every way possible. Some of the dangers include blindly following leaders who may be evil and not being able to think for themselves causing a higher power to have complete control over a very large faction. I believe that Huxley but some elements into his book to shock his readers into being scared of a technically perfect future. For example, citizen wore belts containing birth control pills and Soma. These two drugs were to promote a guilt free monogamous life style with no worries, for a person could just take soma if they were feeling unhappy. The reason this belt is so disturbing is that its contents promote the idea that the citizens of a future world will have no concept of morality only fun. In summation, Aldous Huxley does a brilliant job of exploring the idea if a technical utopia in which he believes is actually a completely corrupted and imperfect society by definition.
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