What is the main conflict in Brave New World? Aldous Huxley's Brave New World
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley is a novel that is about a scientific utopia, an ideal state in which everything is done for the good of the society, where evils such as war and poverty cannot exist. However, the conflict arises when the technology of the New World fails to satisfy the needs and wants of its members. It fails because it denies the active mind of the individual. Individual freedom, and human emotions are denied in the New World, and for those individuals such as Bernard Marx, Helmholtz Watson, and John the Savage, there are conflicts with their insistence upon individual expression and the control of Mustapha Mond.
The central conflict lies between John the Savage whom Bernard Marx brings from the savages' Reservation and the New World. As a representative of humans as they once were before babies were "decanted," John does not understand the lack of literature and the arts; nor, does he understand that "everyone belongs to everyone else"--the promiscuity of the New World. In general, the dehumanization of the residents of the New World who engage in gratuitous sex and who are repulsed by death and who escape any troubling feelings by using soma troubles him.
This conflict of John the Savage with the New World represents the larger conflict of humanity vs. scientific technolgy, a struggle which man appears to be losing. Huxley himself wrote that the theme of Brave New World
is not the advancement of science as such; it is the advancement of science as it affect human individuals [because]....It is only by means of the sciences of life that the quality of life can be radically changed. The sciences of matter can be applied in such a way that they will destroy life or make the living of it impossibly complex and uncomfortable....This really revolutionary revolution is to be achieved, not in the external world, but in the souls and flesh of human beings.
John the Savage fights to retain his freedom to feel emotions, to suffer, to age, to fail; in short, he struggles to remain human. For,he realizes that he will no longer be a real man if he becomes socially stable in the New World because this stability depends upon soma, and orgy-porgies, and his relinquishing of individual thought.
Aldous Huxley's Brave New World is a satirical dystopian fiction novel that focuses on the perspectives of the multiple, British top-ranking residents and John, the American Savage from a New Mexico reservation.
A definitive main conflict is debatable, but one overarching conflict within the novel that occurs between many of the main characters, such as Bernard Marx, Helmholtz Watson, Lenina Crowne, and John the Savage is Man vs. Society(the lack of satisfaction that each of them have with their present society).
Bernard Marx is considered an outcast because of his diminutive stature and the fact that he spends the majority of his time alone. Despite being an Alpha of higher ranking than many in the society, he is dissatisfied with everything and everyone within the British "utopia".
Helmholtz is Bernard Marx's best friend and the ideal man in the novel. Within the first few paragraphs that introduce him, he is pursued by three women and rumored to have "had" many while maintaining his high position as a professional for numerous subjects. Despite his growing success as a paragon for what every Alpha should be, he experiences faint amounts of dissatisfaction with the orders of his caste, just as Bernard does.
She is an example of a typical Beta woman in the novel. She follows orders and doesn't question the nature of the utopian logic within her society. Despite this, upon meeting John the Savage and developing feelings for him, she loses track of her duties and feels the pain of her emotions for the first time. Her lovelorn state is the result of her conditioning, so it acts as an example of Man vs. Society on a mild level.
John the Savage
John is the most conflicted character in the novel regarding Man vs. Society. He was born and raised within a society that is primitive and not accepting of the behaviors that his mother, Linda, openly display once she is left to bear the responsibility of raising him. Because of her lascivious behaviors with the men of the New Mexico reservation, John is immediately an outcast who must rely on reading Shakespeare for comfort and enlightenment that he knows that none of the other boys his age will every understand.
When he is first allowed to live in the British "utopia", he considers it positively, but this shifts into disgust as he continues to live within it. His primitive conditioning prevents him from enjoying the offerings of sex and the soma that numbs all emotions, so he is an outcast in this setting also.