Psychoanalysis is a series of theories related to the unconscious mind pioneered by Dr. Sigmund Freud starting in the 1890s. By the late 1920s and early 1930s, psychoanalysis was prevalent and well-known. Aldous Huxley wrote his dystopian Brave New World as a parody to critique psychoanalysis and also to critique society’s obsession with new-age thinking that was quick to override traditional family values.
Freud’s work was groundbreaking because it separated personality into three entities: the id, ego, and super-ego, and Huxley used these three entities as the basis for his social criticism.
First, the id contains one’s animalistic urges, like hunger or sexual desire. This is the first aspect of the personality to develop and can be seen in infants. In Brave New World, children are taught to engage in erotic play to satisfy their urges from the id. In a tradition nuclear family, this behavior would be repudiated.
The second aspect to develop is the ego, which is intended to help the individual respond to the impulses from the id. In the narrative, it’s common for adults to participate in sexual orgies which depicts the lack of ability to control urges from the id.
The final aspect of the personality to develop is super-ego, which is the internalized moral code and conscience. Typically, an individual’s super-ego will develop directly based on the moral values of one’s parents. Since there are no parents in the narrative, humans instead gain their super-ego by sleep teaching, which ultimately results in adults who are able to work but who act like children with regard to their urges.
Freud would say that characters in Brave New World have fixations and have stunted their psychological functioning.