Brave New World Study Guide
Brave New World: Chapter Summaries
Brave New World: Themes
Brave New World: Characters
Brave New World: Analysis
Brave New World: Quotes
Brave New World: Critical Essays
Brave New World: Multiple-Choice Quizzes
Brave New World: Questions & Answers
Brave New World: Introduction
Brave New World: Biography of Aldous Huxley
Introduction to Brave New World
Brave New World is a novel by Aldous Huxley. Published in 1932, it has since become a classic of the dystopian genre. The novel is in many ways a reaction against the contemporary utopian vision of a future free from socioeconomic ills, which arose due to the advent of Fordism and modern capitalist precepts. One of Huxley’s central theses, and one of the novel’s most iconic assertions, is that human nature demands the right to struggle and suffer. If there is no bad to offset the good, then people are simply living in an extended state of limbo, unable to appreciate the full emotional spectrum available to them.
In comparison to other famous dystopian works, such as George Orwell’s 1984, Brave New World is a rather gentle dystopia. People enjoy complete social freedom and access to material goods and artificial drugs that simulate happiness. However, it is this subtly reinforced public passivity that allows the leadership of the World State to remain in power. Notions of innovation and a broader sense of human history are suppressed, because they stimulate competition and reflection. This is compounded by the inability of World State citizens to form meaningful emotional connections due to a combination of drugs and social taboos. Ultimately, without anything to struggle against, people become complacent and docile. The central question the novel poses is this: is it better to live in a state of uncorrupted contentment that is devoid of individuality, or is it better to have individual freedom, even if it entails personal suffering and struggle?
A Brief Biography of Aldous Huxley
Aldous Huxley (1894–1963) was an English fiction writer and thinker best known for his works of satire and science fiction. Born to a highly intellectual family with a scientific bent, Huxley nurtured his wide-ranging interests from a young age. In his adolescence, he became partially blind, an event which turned his attention from medicine to literature, which he decided to study at Oxford. After university, Huxley devoted himself to writing fiction, and he published his first novel, the satirical Crome Yellow in 1921. In 1932, he released his best-known work, Brave New World, a dystopian novel that uses science-fictional elements to evoke a society shaped by mass production and psychological manipulation. Other key titles include the nonfiction works The Perennial Philosophy (1945) and The Doors of Perception (1964), which reflect Huxley’s later investigations into mysticism and psychadelic drugs, respectively.