What is the definition of "Civilized" and "Uncivilized" in Brave New World?

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mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Civilized as defined in Brave New World by Mustapha Mond is not what people in the United States or Great Britain consider civilized.  After all, the reader finds that, in the end, Mond himself realizes the consequences of the New World and its mores; that is, he is fully aware of the sacrifices of the New World's civilization to the humanness of its citizens. He even tells John the Savage that God does not change, but civilization does.  Now God has been replaced by the good of society.

The motto over the door of The Central London Hatchery reads, "Community, Identity, Stability."  The civilization of the Brave New World exists within a totalitarian word.  Community, one's identity, and stability are all manufactured by the government and defined within controlling parameters.  There are no individuals, thus there is no freedom.

So, to answer the question which asks, "What is the definition of the word civilized in Brave New World?" civilized means that a member of the New World has been conditioned correctly, acting in accord with his/her caste, adhering to the standards of consumerism and "solidarity."  There is absolutely no real choice of actions or thoughts--all actions and thoughts are dictated by the state through biogenetics.

However, all is not perfected in the New World.  There are yet atavistic yearnings for motherhood that must be relieved with drugs to simulate feelings of pregnancy, there are moments of discontent that must be subdued with soma, and there are cases of Alphas who, in their intelligence, realize the flaws of their society and yearn for what is truly human.  Mustapha Mond is such a man, but because his is the Controller, he can secretly satisfy the yearnings of his heart and intellect through reading while he enjoys his power in the New World.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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To me, being civilized means that you willingly submit to a government that is meant to protect your life, your liberty and your property.  You also respect these rights in other people.  I am not sure that either of the societies in the book is civilized by this definition.

Clearly, the brave new world is not civilized by my definition.  They do not have any respect for the freedom that people should have.  Instead, they control peoples lives as much as they possibly can.

I am not sure that the savages are more civilized.  The are clearly very intolerant of difference -- they are quite harsh to John and Linda because they are different.  But we don't see enough of that society to know if they are civilized by my definition.

shamaaa's profile pic

shamaaa | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

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A civilized person is one who respects others, treat others as s/he would expect of others, and have an open mind. Civilized doesnt mean to be onl..., Jeffrey Mcpeanne ... A civilized person is one who respects others, treat others as s/he would expect of others, and have an open mind. Civilized doesn't mean to be only...

not reclaimed from savage life; rude; barbarous; savage; as, the uncivilized inhabitants of Central Africa

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