Discuss the theme of the use of technology to control society in Huxley's Brave New World.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Technology is central to the World State's control of society. First, babies are engineered in laboratories using sophisticated technologies that determine their intelligence and aptitude, and in the cases of the lower castes, engineering produces large batches of identical twins.

After the babies are born, technology is used to condition them to be satisfied with their role in life. Tapes play the same words over and over to them as they sleep. We witness Delta babies conditioned through loud noises and electrical shocks to hate books and flowers.

As children grow, a carefully calibrated technology keeps them in place. They are conditioned to consume—to pursue sports that require a huge amount of equipment and to throw out and replace clothes rather than repair them. Birth control technology prevents women from pregnancy so that all the babies can be produced in the lab.

As adults, members of the World State have access to pharmaceutical technology in the form of soma, a drug that keeps them sedated and happy. Sophisticated multimedia technology offers them fully sensory films to help keep their minds off of unpleasant thoughts.

Technology can administer pain, as with the baby Deltas, but primarily, it is a seductive mechanism that conditions people to conform to society and keeps them from thinking for themselves.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team