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Aldous Huxley Essay, Research Paper
Author: Aldous Huxley was born in 1894, and died in 1963. He first went to Eton, and then to Oxford. He was a brilliant man, and became a succesful writer of short stories in the twenties and thirties. Besides short stories he also wrote essays and novels, like ‘Brave New World’. The first novels he wrote were comments on the young generation, with no goal whatsoever, that lived after WW I. Before he became the writer as we know him, he worked as a journalist and a critic of drama. In his books, especially the later ones, he sometimes presents himself as a teacher or a philosopher, to literate us as readers. Next to novels, essays and short stories he also wrote poems, biographies, plays, political/sci-fi books, travel books and even a record of his experiments with drugs. ‘Brave New World’ was first published in 1932, and has been reprinted many times after that.
John Savage (Son of Tomakin, Bernard’s boss)
Huxley tries to make a statement with this book, he tries to make something clear to the reader. To do this he uses characters, but they’re insignificant to what his real intentions are, he merely uses them to express his ideas, therefor their characteristics and ideas are not important in the whole picture. There is hardly any charaterisation in the book to illustrate the individuals.
In the foreword Huxley states: “The theme of ‘Brave New World’ is not the advancement of science as such; it is the advancement of science as it affects human individuals.”
The picture of the world given in the book describes the condition of the human individual in a western civilization in a ‘near’ future. The society has turned into a well oiled machine, in which everything is controlled, even the future profession of the individual is determined before birth. It’s a society in which the human being only serves a sociological and scientifical purpose, the individual thought is overruled by one big totalitarian state, likewise emotion and initiative are ruled out. Giving birth is forbidden, sex is the most normal thing on earth, and even drugs is taken with the routine and amount of normal meals. Only a small group of the real man exists, be it’s far outside the ‘civilized’ world. John Savage is one of them, representitive of individual freedom and thought, torn between two societies.
Huxley warns for material and technical dependence, that will eventually bring destruction upon mankind.
Characteristics: The story is set in our world, in the future (some 600 years from now). It is in the year 632 after Ford. Society has turned into a controlled state, individual thought is bannished, and the human being is only on this earth to serve a sociological and scientifical purpose. There’s no space for free speech, emotion or even literature that reminds of the free spirit. The narrator is omniscient, as said before, Huxley expresses his political and scientifical ideas through the characters, therefor he sometimes ’steps’ in to their heads, but mostly tells the story as he was telling their history. There is symbolism in the book, once again Huxley warns us as readers not to grow to dependent of material wealth and science, there’s a moral to the stroy, “watch out or you’ll end up like this…”. The genre of the book is that of alternative realism, but as it spreads certain ideas, it’s also called a ‘novel of ideas’. The title is quite easy to explain: it comes from a work by Shakespreare, ‘The Tempest’. John once quotes it when he still thinks that this new world is only wonder and beauty… The book is written in an easy readable way, no real difficult words, and not much hard philosofical, mind twisting passages to overcome. The climax of the story is when Bernard has picked up John and his mother, and suddenly has a certain grip on his boss, who was about to fire him (John is the unlawful son of his boss). After that he also gets the idea that his earlier urge to something individual has it’s roots in true freedom, and thus he wants to be free. But instead he uses John to get attention and ‘respect’ from his fellow Alphas.
In the year 632 after Ford, the new Director of the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre explains the functionality of his plant to a group of students. He tells them with pride that what they’re watching is the process of becoming a human being, he shows them the different stages of growth: First the eggs are taken from the female body and fertilized in bottles (In Vitro Fertilization). The bottles contain a special blood surrogate with nutritive solutions for each of the (later) social classes, from Alpha-plus to Epsilon-minus. Here the future men and women’s social status is determined. Thanks to Bokanovsky each egg could produce as many as 96 exactly identical human beings, therefor suited for standard tasks in society. Mass production is the key word that ensures everybody of material welfare (developed by the great Ford… who else?). A drug called ’soma’ solves all the mental troubles man could encounter, it induceses forgetfulness. No individuality whatsoever has remained, ‘Community, Identity, Stability’ has become the slogan of the new world. When the babies are decantated (=born), they are trained in their predestined place in the community. The students become very impressed by the well oiled machine society stands for these days. Their great admiration goes out to Mustapha Mond, one of the ten controllers (who control the world… d?h!). He tells them the gruesome story of the once, long ago, so called family, with the father and mother, and that sex was something intimate, not shared as a social obligation with the whole world like nowadays…
Few people are not quite happy with the new society, they long for individuality and so on. Bernard is one of those people, Hhe is actually somewhat similar to the pre-Ford man, be it that he was created in a bottle, in which, according to the gossip, by mistake too much alcohol had been put, therefor he showed a slight difference to the other people in his class. He adores Lenina Crowne, a female worker on the same plant, in an old fashioned way, and wanted her for himself, and not shared with various other men.
Bernard and Lenina go on a rocket trip to the Savage Reservation in New Mexico, on their holiday. In this region of the new world primitive society and the old fasioned lifestyle were preserved in the interest of science. They meet John, one of the few white men among the indians. John tells them that he is the son of a man called Tomakin, he had visited the Reservation too, accompanied by a girl, many years ago. Tomakin had returned to civilization without the girl. Without birth control she gave birth to a son, John, who grew up among the indians. John taught himself to read and the only learning he had was what he had picked up from reading Shakespeare. Bernard guesses that John was thus the unlawful son of his boss, the director of the Hatcheries, who once had been to New Mexico, a long time ago, and returned without his female companion. Bernard invites John and his abominable mother Linda to come to the civilized world with him, he wonderes what effect that might have upon the savage (and his own personal life). John is eager to see the wonderful world of which he had been told by his mother, and he is interested in Lenina.
Bernard faces disgrace, back in London, for the director publicly accused him of unorthodox behaviour, a great crime. Bernard introduces Linda and John as a counteract, and a happy family reunion it is… not! The director has to resign and disappear, this was an embarrassement too great.
John has become an attraction, with which Bernard lures popular people to meet him, John is his discovery. The people come eagerly, although they didn’t exactly come to meet Bernard, who they still consider a strange ‘mistake’. The ideas John had about civilization are shattered by the lack of culture and humanity, all of which Shakespeare had taught him the value. His love for Lenina mostly disappeares when she rudely just offered herself to him, he wanted her for himself, and he wanted to conquer her as a lover (courtly love and stuff…). He had gotten his ideas of love from reading ‘Romeo and Julliet’ and flees from her in terror when she throws herself onto him. Linda, John’s mother, is glad to be back and enjoyes the renewed comforts and luxury to the maxx, sometimes she is gone for days on her ’soma-trips’. Later she takes an overdosis and dies, right in John’s presence. In the hospital John is enraged by the lack of humanity, for they show ‘their children’ the dead, to prepare them for their own death, that it wasn’t a bad thing… John shows that day’s visitors otherwise. John starts a mutiny among the workers about their weekly amount of soma, but the crowd cools down when becomes clear that they won’t get any if they don’t stop. He is arrested and led before the great Mustapha Mond, who explaineds to John, in the presence of Bernard and Helmholtz Watson (Bernard’s friend and the only one who understood John), on which basis society rests. Stability is the pillar, and all threats (as arts, beauty and religion) have to be abolished. The communal happiness has to carefully be preserved, even science is a threat… John doesn’t agree and sais he has the right to grow ugly, old and become ill. Mustapha lets him go.
John leaves London, to pick up his old way of life again, outside London in the country. But people come to visit him, to view him and talk about him as a weird specimen. Reporters and sensation seekers don’t leave hime alone and keep pestering him. To forget about his beloved Lenina he whips himself with a strong twig, but when she comes to visit him too, he gets so enraged that he whips HER to death. After that he hangs himself…
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