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How does Brave New World present the struggle between individual identity and...

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lindahut | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 24, 2013 at 11:03 PM via web

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How does Brave New World present the struggle between individual identity and community belonging with relation to the concepts of freedom and slavery presented in the novel?

 

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 25, 2013 at 11:55 AM (Answer #1)

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The dystopian world in which Lenina and Bernard live is one that is based around the suppression of the individual for the good of the community. This is something that is reinforced at various points in the novel, most particularly through the hypnopaedic sayings that are parroted by Lenina in particular and are used as a form of social control:

Every one works for every one else... When the individual feels, the community reels

It is ironic that Lenina uses these phrases or soundbites in her conversation with Bernard to justify her own behaviour and also establishing how peculiar and strange his desire is to be by himself and to not participate in community activities. Bernard is of course one of the people responsible for creating these hypnopaedic sayings, and it is therefore ironic that when he questions them and tries to break free from the "truth" that these sayings present, he is defeated at every turn by the way that others treat those hypnopaedic sayings as being uncontrovertible truth. In the novel therefore the primacy of the community over the individual is presented through brainwashing as being a "truth" that all cling on to and a "truth" that those who question have to be exiled. One of the essential ingredients of this dystopian future society is the suppression of individual needs and wants. In the case of "dangerous" individuals such as Bernard and Helmholtz who struggle to assert their individuality, the community does away with the problem, literally, by removing such subversion from their midst.

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