How does Brave New World illustrate the point of happiness and comfort? 

Expert Answers
timbrady eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I'm not sure I understand your question, but I'll give it a shot.  One of the goals of the World State is to make certain that individuals do not "feel," do not have a sense of themselves, and certainly do not have a sense that things could be "better."  In order to do this, the state tries to keep everyone in an appropriate state of euphoria (this probably refers only to the Alphas since they're the ones who can "think" and we get in trouble because of it).  You don't go to the movies; you go to the feelies which, while stimulating your senses, almost totally isolate you from feeling anything.  The society encourages sex, but only on a sensory level; anything verging on attachment is "forbidden."  Finally, should you feel "bad," you just go on a soma holiday.

I guess this brings about "happiness," but only if we define it on the most trivial of levels, as though the opposite of unhappiness were happiness.  I believe that this is the whole point of depriving their society of the language, the words, that make the expression of unhappiness/discomfort/whatever impossible to express.  John's problem is that he has knowledge of a world/language that is totally foreign to the inhabitants of BNW.  Perhaps if you can say it, you can't experience it, and it doesn't exit.  "1984" does this with "Newspeak."  More to say; out of worlds.  Hope this helps!

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Point #2 states well that in "Brave New World" happiness is supposedly the lack of unhappiness. However, there is no comfort to be taken from the lack of anything.  For,one can only be happy to the degree that one has prior knowledge of genuine sorrow.  Life is appreciated only after the realization of death and loss. 

Instead, the citizens of the New World are conditioned to feel nothing about death other than noticing the recycling of gases. "Soma" is taken to dispel uncomfortable feelings.  There is no real emotion in the people of "Brave New World." In fact, Huxley mocks the pseudo-emotion of the closing of the Solidarity Service, the "orgy-porgy."

Happiness and comfort are synthetic in "Brave New World"; they are engineered by the state. Unable to bear this artificial life, Helmholtz is banished; he asks for the a cold, bitter climate so that he can actually feel something and feel alive rather than stultified by the artificialty of the New World.


krishna-agrawala | Student

Happiness in Brave New World (BNW) is limited to physical pleasure and absence of anxiety. Comfort in can be defined as absence of discomfort, and to that extent the concept of comfort in BNW and as it exists in our real world are same. However in BNW comfort is a substantial contributor to happiness as compared to real world.

Many ingredient of happiness in real world are absent in BNW. These include things like pleasure we get out of loving others and the feeling of being loved. Similarly, BNW lacks the opportunities of deriving happiness from having done something worthwhile and something well done - the glow in the face of a boy scout, who has helped an old lady to cross the road.


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Brave New World

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