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