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What is the warning/point that Aldous Huxley is giving his readers in Brave New...

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nicknack | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted May 4, 2011 at 10:18 AM via web

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What is the warning/point that Aldous Huxley is giving his readers in Brave New World?

Please give me some key ideas and examples, including quotes (if possible).

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 4, 2011 at 12:56 PM (Answer #1)

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In the foreword of Brave New World by Aldous Huxley states explicitly his theme as the "advancement of science as it affects human individuals."  Here are some key points of this theme:

1.  Scientific advances to life are what change the quality of life.  In Brave New World there is no longer natural procreation by humans; in fact, the words mother and father are considered obscene.  In the CENTRAL LONDON HATCHERY AND CONDITIONING CENTRE, eugenics is used to "predestine and condition" human beings.  There is a caste system, a system in which people are relatively content.  This genetic engineering is the truly "revolutionary revolution" that is acquired in the soul and flesh of the residents of the New World.  For instance, Lenina tells Henry Foster how repulsive she finds the clothes of the Deltas--"What a hideous color khaki is"; and, she also finds Epsilons repellent,

"I'm glad I'm not an Epsilon."

"And if you were an Epsilon," said Henry, "your conditioning would have made you no less thankful that you weren't a Beta or an Alpha."

In order to make people love the castes in which they are fashioned, this "deep, personal revolution in human minds and bodies," sleep conditioning, known as hypnopoedia, is conducted; children are taught to love their castes, to believe that "everyone belongs to everyone else," and to believe in consumption and detest nature.  As insurance for this contentment, soma is distributed so people can go on "holidays" from reality. When Lenina and Henry go to the Westminster night club, for instance, soma is served with their coffee. 

2. Social Stability must be established in order to control people. In order to deal with dissent and confusion, power must be centralized and government control increased.  In the New World, there are ten World Controllers of the totalitarian state, one of whom is Mustapha Mond.  People are kept "stable in contentment" through their conditioning, and by means of silence about the truth.  No one reads literature, no one knows any history other than what is taught.  Time is measured after the year of Our Ford, the year that Henry Ford created the assembly line method of manufacture. 

Sexual freedom compensates for diminished economic and social freedom.  Sex is encouraged among people because it helps people reconcile themselves the "the servitude" which is their fate.  All individuality has been eliminated as it is dangerous to social stability.

To make people love their servitude, the ministries of propaganda control the dissemination of information. One character, Helmholtz Watson, named by Huxley after the founder of the Behaviorist School of psychology, John B. Watson, has a distinguished career as an emotional engineer and writer.  He composes slogans and simplistic rhymes designed to promote the values of society and pacify people.  And, although he feels that there is more that he could write, his conditioning prohibits him from appreciating Romeo and Juliet when John the Savage reads to him in Chapter 12.  He laughs at the idea of a person loving one person so much.

3. Despite all the conditioning and stability, man cannot be happy without a struggle, without suffering.

The character of John the Savage, born naturally, literate, and human is in total opposition to the New World.  He alone understands that sorrow must exist if one would be human,

"All right then...I'm claiming the right to be unhappy."

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