In Brave New World, what evidence have we seen so far that proves that there is an all-powerful state?

Expert Answers

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

From the incipience of his narrative, Aldous Huxley exposes the irony of his title taken from Shakespeare's The Tempest.  For, there is nothing of the heart--nothing "brave"--at all in the society of the New World.  The most basic of human actions, that of physical reproduction and all that it entails has been removed.  Not only has this regenerative act which makes men human been removed, the urge to do so has been negated and made vile to the inhabitants of the New World.  Through hypnopaedia, the "treatest moralizing and socializing force of all time," the citizens are made to believe that giving birth naturally is a repugnant act.  In fact, there is nothing intimate or personal regarding the act of intercourse; citizens are encouraged, in fact, to be promiscuous as, in this way, "everyone belongs to everyone else," and, therefore, no one belongs to anyone; no one person has any real value.  The individual does not exist, for the individual in a society--one who thinks for him/herself--is often dangerous.

All thoughts, all actions are controlled in the New World.  In the Hatchery, a limited number of Alphas are manufactured as are calculated numbers of other mental and physical denominations.    The limited number of Alphas ensures that there are not too many thinkers to disturb the order of the society.  And, so that there is no mixing of the more intelligent with the lesser, hypnopaedia conditions Betas to hate Gammas, for example.

Emotions, too, are controlled.  Whenever one feels a twinge of discontent, soma is taken.  In fact, soma is given to people regularly as a preventative against any insurgency.  There is no true religion, either, which could give rise to ideas and feelings, nor any recordings of past history.  All is in the present of the New World.  Consumption is the activity; the years are counted from the assembly line manufacture of the Ford.  B.C., standing for "before Christ," and A. D. "anno dominum, or year of our Lord," have been eradicated.  The inhabitants of the New World know no more than what they have been conditioned to know.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

You do not say at what point in the book we are supposed to be looking -- you just say "so far."

But you can see that there is a state like this right away, even in the first lines of the book.  We are told in the very first paragraph that there is a "World State."  That means that the whole world is one country now.

Then we find out how powerful the state is.  We go inside the Hatchery and find out that the people inside are growing human beings.  They are making them to be exactly the way the society wants them by controlling the way they develop inside the bottles.  This shows quite clearly that the state is very powerful.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team