Compare and contrast the use of soma in Brave New World with the use of the drug like Prozac in our world.

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clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Soma is used in A Brave New World as a drug of instant gratification and a means of escape.  It puts the user into a state of euphoria by dulling their mind and senses.

Similarities to Prozac:

  • Users of Soma cease to care about immediate problems.  Anti-depressants have a similar effect of dulling the senses.  When on a Soma trip - characters cannot experience extreme emotions (positive or negative) which is very similar to the effect anti-depressants cause.
  • The number of people on anti-depressants is on the rise (especially with the availability of new drugs as well as the fact that it is suddenly socially more acceptable).  Virtually everyone in the book takes Soma.  You could argue that the popularity is somewhat similar.


  • Prozac (and most other anti-depressants) takes several weeks to build up in the system.  Its effectiveness is based on a regular regimen and unlike Soma does not cause a "high" shortly after consumption.  In this way, Soma is more like an illegal drug (cocaine or marijuana) or even alcohol.
  • Soma is used by the government as a method of general control - it aids the brainwashing that is also taking place throughout the novel.  If a drug was ever used in such a capacity today, we would probably consider it dangerous and reminiscent of the holocaust.  In fact, again, marijuana has a similar "brainwashing" effect - and its health risks are still a forerunner for its illegality.
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Brave New World

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