Is modern life really a version of the brave new world?
In Brave New World Revisited, Huxley discusses the modern world's resemblance to his dystopia. Make your own case for or against his prophecies. Is modern life really a version of the brave new world? Be specific in your answer, referring to social, political, and economic trends. If modern life is a brave new world, what solutions can you offer?
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This essay question requires that you mine the daily news and history of the last fifty years to see if social, political, and economic trends have panned out as Huxley predicted.
I would recommend you begin with reputable news outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Time Magazine, The Economist, BBC World News, Newsweek, and other periodicals and search under key words that I offer below (in italics) as well as broader terms such as "social" and "economic." When you encounter an article where the analysis is too complex, visit an encyclopedic source to get general background on the topic. For example, Wikipedia, while flawed in some areas if an article is not complete, has been proven to have over 90% accuracy rate on complete articles when compared to other encyclopedias. Use it to get a general idea of the social, economic, or political issue, and then dive deeper into a periodical's archives on the subject.
First of all, stem cell research and its controversy have been in the news lately, as President Obama overturned President Bush's ban on research of certain stem cell lines. Our moral dilemma as a culture (and world) are what we do with frozen embryos that no one is implanting and bringing to term. Do we use them for research to cure such devastating diseases as Parkinson's? In the 1930s when Huxley wrote this book, there was no such thing as the "Central London Hatchery," yet today we have essentially warehouses of embryos in limbo. There were no test tube babies (the advent of that would be 50 years later) or any laboratory involvement in the conception or birth process.
Now, this thesis you must write demands you take a stand and make an argument, so where do you stand on stem cell research and test tube babies? On birth control? On the Octomom? (She's a great anecdotal example to explore, as the reaction of our society to her has been fascinating and complex -- and according to a recent Newsweek article, hypocritical, saying that modern medicine and reality TV and Oprah/Dr. Phil phenomena have led to her abuse of the system). If you do not feel that stem cell research and test tube babies are dystopian signs, then you must show us how these advances are solutions to other social problems we face.
Economically and socially: in these areas, some critics argue that today the rich are richer than ever and that the middle class is declining. The U.S. minimum wage has not kept pace with inflation and the cost of food and housing, so some argue that the poor are getting poorer. Do you believe that? If so, who today in the U.S. are the Alphas and the Betas, and so forth?
Because the areas of "social, political, and economic trends" are so very broad, you will need to select an area in each to home in on and do some intensive research. Don't try to address all aspects of our society, but instead develop a strong opinion once you have combed a variety of legitimate resources.
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