With ref to BNW and 1984: The subtler the workings of a dystopic society, the greater the control wielded by the ruling state. Is this true? An example of what i mean by 'subtler'- the conflict...

With ref to BNW and 1984: The subtler the workings of a dystopic society, the greater the control wielded by the ruling state. Is this true?

An example of what i mean by 'subtler'- the conflict between individual and society. in brave new world individuals are conditioned even beore they are born such that there is no conflict between society's workings and the individuals themselves- they are all happy. in 1984 the reconciliation of the individual to society is through brute force, e.g. doublethink, propaganda, mindless swallowing of slogans, etc. Does this actually suggest that brave new world's workings are more insidious than 1984's? Or that the ruling state in brave new world holds more power over the individual that the inner party in 1984?

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sagetrieb eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I have some trouble with your use of the word "subtle."  The power in 1984lies in control of language, which is the worst sort of tyranny, perhaps, or so Orwell argues in "Politics and the English Language." Winston Smith creates a space for protest through words in his diary, something which ultimately proves fatal and signifies the impossibility of rebellion when the state holds full control over meaning through control of language.  It is true that Winston is tortured to believe new meanings, but the real point is that reality can be "changed" by those in power. In short, the inner party gained control via language, which raises the question as to  how the power structure gained control in Brave New World.  Through language?  The point in BNW seems to be the maintenance of control through constant pleasure so that the power of rebellion is quelled before it arises, making no reason to rebel (not quite like the gin in 1984, but worth a comparison).  In short, I think I would rephrase the question so as not to judge subtlety or degrees of insidiousness (if you are working on an essay on these texts), but to compare and contrast the mechanisms of each--both dystopias work, after all, and so judging the best or worst seems to dance around the real issues of the how in each--so we can learn from those imagined experiences.