Do you think the castes of the World State reflect the contemporary society, or are they simply hypothetical? Explain
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Clearly the origins of the caste system come from India, which even now still is characterised by the strict social structure that dominates. What Huxley does is to take this system and make it world-wide in this 'brave new world' that characterises this novel. Thus, although the basis is in fact, the world we are presented with is clearly hypothetical.
Keeping in mind that Huxley is British, he is culturally--to add to theten's point--akin to Charles Dickens who saw British society as a "prison" in which people were cast into a level of society from which they could not emerge. This theme of Dickens is prevalent in many of his works, so Huxley may have taken it and added the scientific design for the New World in which technology has superceded humanity. That he modeled his concept of the caste system on reality, but exaggerated it, is definitive of satire, is it not?
I agree with the above post, & want to add that many do have a view of society as separated into castes. Many people (even in America) think that someone who does "the dirty work" or works a blue-collar job is stupid, lazy, or less intelligent than someone who runs a Fortune 500 company. I think that Huxley's clearly hyperbolic satire arises from a (I hesitate to say natural-I think I'll just go with cultural) viewpoint that establishes a hierarchy fo work in society.
In my opinion, the castes were mainly hypothetical. However, I believe that the author came up with the idea partly because of contemporary problems.
Lots of political thinkers as far back as Plato have thought about the issue of who does the "dirty work" in a society. Huxley is trying his own take on this. He is saying that there are some jobs in society that people will not like. He is saying that when people have to do jobs like that they rebel and cause social instability (strikes and such).
Because he wanted to describe a society with no conflict, he felt he needed to come up with a way to ensure that no one would be unhappy about their position in life. No one would have frustrated ambitions or hate the fact that they could not get ahead in life.
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