In Brave New World, how does the author reference social criticism?

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The novel Brave New World takes many social values to their extreme in order to show the cruelty that motivates them, and in this way, it stands as a work of social commentary. For instance, the birthing system is an extension of eugenics, which was a popular movement at the time. The portrayal of this process in the novel emphasizes the ways that eugenics seeks to determine the weakest members of society, not so that it can make society strong, but rather because capitalist society requires a weak underclass of workers. In Brave New World, this means interfering with the development process of children in order to handicap them—something that can be compared to systems of poverty and segregated schooling when the novel was written and still to this day.

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Huxley, writing in the early 1930s, critiques social trends that put security and materialism ahead of such human values as deep, passionate bonding with another person, sacrifice, and creativity.

Huxley uses satire to poke fun at the embrace of shallow values by creating a society that uses conditioning, drugs, and ceaseless indoctrination to mold a population of docile consumers who do what they are told. People are conditioned to want endless sociality but only of the most superficial kind. People, as Mond explains, were willing, after the Nine Years War and a Depression (similar to World War I and the stock market crash of 1929), to trade their independence and critical thinking skills for security.

We are expected to laugh at a society where people are conditioned to throw clothing out rather than repairing it, where all sports are dependent on complicated and expensive equipment, and where free, promiscuous sex is encouraged over fidelity to one partner. Our society, however, has gone so far in this direction that novel loses some of it laugh lines and shock value—but not entirely. We still can well relate to John the Savage's horror at this drugged, infantilized society.

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In "Brave New World," Huxley questions the values of 1931 London by using satire and irony to portray a futuristic world in which the trends of Britain and America are taken to extremes.  Classified as a novel of ideas with characters and plot secondary to the expression of Huxley's social criticism, the novel abounds with social commentary.

One salient example of Huxley's satiric commentary on values is Chapter 5, Part 2 in which Bernard attends the Solidarity Service, a service used to reinforce what was instilled as a child--Community, Identity, Stability.  Much like a religious revival meeting, the members in attendance reach a religious-like fervor.  Hymns, chanting, and dancing--even a communion of soma--lead to an unholy final culmination of sexual orgy instead of religious ecstasy.  Of course, in Huxley's satire, he points out the deep-seated need of humans for mystic belief.  However, this need has been cleansed of emotion.  For, soma and sex have replaced religion.

Even in the New World, there is a social caste system with Alphas and Betas sensing and enjoying their superiority over Deltas and Episilons, with whom they have been conditioned not to associate. Also, the other Alphas ridicule Bernard who is different:  shorter and hairer.  Lenina faces social stigma as she desires to go with just one man, rather than be indiscriminate in her sexual activities. That the residents of the New World spend their lives involved in mindless and harmless entertainment is certainly a commentary by Huxley. Then, of course, all the members of the New World have been conditioned to scorn the Savage Reservation where people are dirty and age and have sickness--another social stigmatism.

Finally, the concluding chapters in which Mustapha Mond discusses the New World with John the Savage is very telling.  For, he admits to John that he loves much of the old world, but in order to be in control, things must be as they are in the New World:  Individualism is sacrificed for banal contentment without wars. 

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In Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, how does the author elaborate on the idea of social criticism?

Their society attempts to eliminate social criticism.  Everything they do is an attempt to keep things stable, and to keep the people "unquestioning."  One of their hypnopedic learnings sums this up: "When the individual feels, the community reels."  Every attempt is made to smooth over any emotions that might lead to thinking about/criticizing their society.  There are mindless games, the feelies, and, of course, soma.

John, on the other hand, is always interested in feeling; he lives by the older Shakespearean sense that feeling, and feeling intensely, is an important part of life.  He is the critic of their society, their "death watch" at the hospital, their mindless sex that has no attachment in it ... he insists that people feel; because of this, he is a danger to their society.  He is not the only one; others have been exiled, all Alphas, because their conditioning isn't as intense as the lower classes.  But, as predicted, their thinking leads to instability and things don't go well.

You can have freedom or you can have stability; you can't have both.

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