What is a good thesis for a comparison/contrast essay of 1984 and Brave New World?Both authors give a warning about the future and I would like to explore the message that they are sending to us...

What is a good thesis for a comparison/contrast essay of 1984 and Brave New World?

Both authors give a warning about the future and I would like to explore the message that they are sending to us through the characters actions in the two novels

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Certainly, both Aldous Huxley in his furturistic novel, Brave New World, and George Orwell in his novel of 1984, also futuristic in the era in which it was written, foresaw the loss of individuality within controlled states.  Orwell's dark vision of the future portrays the personality of Winston Smith being erased and his thoughts controlled.  Likewise, the New World controls thoughts; however, there is a genetic engineering which mainly does this by means of creating people of certain intellectual and emotional levels.  Added to this caste system is the hypnopaedia, or sleep conditioning, of the New World.

Yet within Huxley's New World, there are men who secretly rebel, as does Winston Smith.  Whereas Winston keeps a diary of his personal feelings, Helmholtz of Brave New World reads forbidden books and writes.  Clearly, there is dissatisfaction in both of the worlds created in the narratives of Orwell and Huxley.  When the Savage arrives in the New World, he feels deeply this dissastifaction as all feelings and thoughts are artificially generated.  There is no sorrow, therefore there can be no real happiness, the savage learns in the New World.

So, here are some commonalities which also point to the differences between the two novels under consideration.  Perhaps a thesis that compares and contrasts the two novels could point to similarities in theme and in character as well as their differences.  For instance, a comparison between Winston Smith and one of the main characters such as Bernard Marx and/or Helmholtz--even John the Savage, who, like Winston loses his personality--will serve you.  Certainly, you can draw parallels among them as they seek the assertion of their own individuality in a world that is tightly controlled. 

teachersage eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Brave New World and 1984 are alike in envisioning a dystopic future in which the state robs individuals of their deepest humanity. The two governments depicted, however, are different in the ways they attempt achieve their goals. Brave New World's government succeeds by making life very comfortable for its citizens through conditioning, consumerism, orgies, and the drug soma. The citizens, thinking they are happy, don't realize they are being cheated of the pain, art, religion, and deep relationships that make us fully human. 1984's government succeeds in maintaining power by crushing outer Party members into conformity through fear, surveillance, dumbing down the language, and economic deprivation. 

A comparison/contrast paper could compare and contrast Winston Smith to John the Savage. Both rebel against their dystopic worlds. However, Winston fights back through pursuing such comforts as a loving relationship. He also fights back by trying to join a purported underground rebellion. He does not want to die, but to live.

In contrast, John the Savage embraces an austere lifestyle without a woman to prevent himself from being corrupted by the comforts of his new world, and in the end, he commits suicide as a way out.

A thesis might say something like this: Both Winston Smith and John the Savage rebel against the soulless conformity of their dystopic worlds, but the different natures of their dystopias dictate different modes of rebellion: for Smith, rebellion involves embracing ordinary human comforts and a love relationship, while for John it means rejecting the temptations of both materialism and superficial sexual relations. 

Read the study guide:
Brave New World

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question