In Brave New World, what is Soma? Can it be compared to Prozac?

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amymc | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

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Soma is a governmentally provided drug to the people living in the Brave New World.  It represents a way to escape pain, discomfort, embarrassment, sadness or anger and to enhance joy, arousal, and an overall sense of well being.  It is non-addictive (physically or mentally) and has no negative side effects on the mind or body whatsoever.  Individuals are rationed their soma, encouraged to take it, and at times, the soma is used as a means of crowd control in the unlikely situation that a group becomes disorderly.  Clearly the government in the society is using soma to calm and control its citizenry.  Of course, the citizenry is high all the time, so they don't really mind.

Prozac is also a legal drug that is prescribed by doctors to alleviate depression and anxiety.  Its purpose seems to be just like that of soma.  In fact, people have compared the two because many people feel that Prozac is a catch-all type of remedy for everyone and that people are prescribed it when they don't really need it.  Unfortunately, Prozac can be addictive and has been linked to feelings of suicide in some cases.

In both cases, people are being medicated to avoid problems and negative feelings.  This avoidance may lead to negative consequences after all.

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