Homework Help

What specific historical allusions is Huxley trying to make in Brave New World?

user profile pic

mariannbenn | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 17, 2011 at 12:14 PM via web

dislike 1 like

What specific historical allusions is Huxley trying to make in Brave New World?

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

mstultz72 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 18, 2011 at 12:39 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

Huxley takes the title of his novel Brave New World from Shakespeare's The Tempest:

"O wonder!...How many goodly creatures there are here!...How beauteous mankind is!...O brave new world that has such people in it!"

Names are also symbolic:

  • A.F. ("After Ford"): time is kept according to Henry Ford's assembly line technology.
  • Bernard Marx: named after Karl Marx, a proponent of the socialist/communist state
  • Lenina: named after Lenin, the cruel head of the U.S.S.R.
  • Hemholtz Watson: "named by Huxley after John B. Watson, the founder of the Behaviorist School of psychology)"
  • John: a "Noble Savage" based on the work of the Romantic writers (Rousseau) who said that:
  • a person raised in a primitive world, away from western civilization, has a purity of heart that civilized people lack (although Huxley does not portray the primitive world as a paradise)
  • Neo-Pavlovian conditioning: kids are negatively conditioned to hate books and nature using the methods of Ivan Pavlov's work with conditioning of dogs
  • Caste system: loosely based on the Hindu Caste system which also has five levels (priest, warrior, merchant, artisan, outcast)
  • Centrifugal Bumble-Puppy: a spoof on football which requires elaborate equipment and played in a large field.
  • Soma: "an intoxicating drink prepared from a plant and used in Vedic ritual, believed to be the drink of the gods."

 

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes