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how does the episode in the elevator portray robot-like characteristics of the...

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user6050765 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 23, 2013 at 10:25 PM via web

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how does the episode in the elevator portray robot-like characteristics of the lower-caste workers?

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may-stone | College Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted April 24, 2013 at 1:44 AM (Answer #1)

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The elevator is operated by a lower-caste worker.  In the era the novel was written, elevators were really simple machines that had to be operated by a worker, but in the science fiction future that Huxley sets the novel in, that job certainly could have been eliminated because they obviously have the technical expertise.  So the “liftman” in that passage is literally performing the function of a machine, which makes him robot-like.

 

Furthermore, the elevator is, to some extent, automated: when the liftman delays taking the elevator back down after the passengers get off onto the roof (he delays because he’s so delighted to see the sun), an automated message kicks in that instructs him to take the elevator down to the next floor it’s needed on.  So the lower caste liftman is also robot-like because he must slavishly obey the orders he receives.

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