Is there a villain in Huxley's Brave New World?Who is the villain and why?

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mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Brave New World, the villains are found by looking behind the names: Marx, Ford, Lenin, Benito Hoover, Trotsky, Watson, Malthus, and Pavlov.  All of these real people are satirical targets for Huxley.

  • Marx and Lenin were Communists and Socialists who sought to make everyone equal, without status.  This only led to abuse by the totalitarian government and the death of the individual.
  • Benito Hoover is a combination of Benito Mussolini and Herbert Hoover, both ineffectual government leaders who subvert individual rights and freedoms for the sake of government control.
  • Pavlov and Malthus abuse science and likewise undermine the individual.  Pavlov said that humans can be conditioned and manipulated by stimuli.  Malthus believed in population control because, he said, the masses would drain the state of its resources.
  • Ford, as you know, developed the industry standards of mass production.  He was also a known racist.

Taken together, these men of government, industry, and science are ridiculed in the novel for trying to achieve easy and cheap goals at the expense of individual freedom and rights.  Huxley saw a new world order in which the government could control the masses all in the name of science and industry.  Not only was Huxley correct, but it all began the year after the novel was published in 1933 when the Nazis came to power.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In my opinion, the only true villain in this book is the society itself.  The society is what Huxley really disapproves of.

To the extent that any one person is a villain, the only one I can think of is the director.  He seems to be out to get Bernard without really having a reason to hate him.

But the Director is not really that big of a character.  It is really society that is the villain.  Society causes John's death.  Society does not allow Helmholtz or Bernard or Lenina to be who they want to be.

mkcapen1 | Student

I agree with the previous editor.  Society is the villain as a whole.  In the society people do not develop close relationships with one another, sex is merely a form of physical release, and people who are the least bit outspoken or different are sent off to live far away where they can not influence others.

When John enters the civilization he is viewed as something peculiar because he is supposed to be a civilized entity from a savage land.  They refer to him as the savage when in truth his values and ideals are more civilized.

After everyone is sent away John lives by himself away from people but they find and hound him.  When he gives up his personal values and engages in the society approved behaviors he feels shame and ends his life. 

In a way I see Lenina villain because she is the one who lures him into sexual depravity that makes him feel the need to hang himself.

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Brave New World

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