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.

Frequently Asked Questions about Brave New World

Brave New World

As in many works of dystopian science fiction, the main conflict in Brave New World is that between technology and human needs. Although technology is supposed to satisfy everyone's needs and to...

Latest answer posted September 28, 2020, 11:33 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

Brave New World

John's values and outlook on life are thoroughly incompatible with the World State: he despises the World States and everything it stands for, a theme quite strongly expressed in the confrontation...

Latest answer posted April 16, 2021, 8:21 pm (UTC)

3 educator answers

Brave New World

Though John does not appear right at the beginning of Brave New World, he supplants Bernard Marx as the one character the audience can most relate to on an emotional level. While Marx was an...

Latest answer posted September 28, 2020, 11:20 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Brave New World

The principal antagonist in Brave New World is Mustapha Mond. Mond's polished sophistry in his conversation with John the Savage is a more benign version of O'Brien's intellectual dissection of...

Latest answer posted September 28, 2020, 11:21 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Brave New World

John the Savage and Bernard Marx share a number of very important similarities. For one thing, neither man belongs in this dystopian society. Having been born and raised amidst the unimaginable...

Latest answer posted September 29, 2020, 11:56 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Brave New World

Ever since Bernard brought him from The Savage Reservation to the World State, John the Savage has been little more than a curiosity in a very public sideshow that provides the citizens of the...

Latest answer posted September 29, 2020, 2:26 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Brave New World

Yes, Bernard Marx is an Alpha. Alphas are the highest and most intelligent caste in the World State, and Bernard, an Alpha Plus, is one of the top minds of his caste. However, Marx is an oddity...

Latest answer posted September 29, 2020, 11:58 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Brave New World

The five castes in Brave New World are named after the first five letters in the Greek alphabet. They are Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Epsilon. The Alphas are the most intelligent caste, and the...

Latest answer posted September 28, 2020, 11:16 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Brave New World

John is considered a savage by the other characters because he was raised on an Indian reservation outside of the "civilization" of the World State. In the World State, concepts such as the family,...

Latest answer posted September 28, 2020, 11:32 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Brave New World

The dystopian society depicted in Brave New World is a throwaway society, a place where consumer products are casually discarded when they are no longer any use. Instead of trying to fix broken or...

Latest answer posted September 28, 2020, 11:49 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Brave New World

Brave New World is similar to our society in its emphasis on consumption. Written in the wake of the Great Depression, Huxley saw the economic problems that follow from a drastically reduced demand...

Latest answer posted September 28, 2020, 11:36 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Brave New World

Brave New World is a dystopian science-fiction novel written by English writer and philosopher Aldous Huxley. It was originally published in 1932. Set in a the year of 632 A.F. (After Ford), or...

Latest answer posted September 28, 2020, 11:37 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Brave New World

In Brave New World, characters often squirm or become scandalized when they hear the terms "mother" and "father." Mustapha Mond's description of the nuclear family is meant to be off-putting,...

Latest answer posted September 28, 2020, 11:44 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Brave New World

The most politically powerful character in Brave New World is Mustapha Mond. He, along with the other controllers in the World State, has dictatorial power over the rest of the population. Mond...

Latest answer posted September 28, 2020, 11:51 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Brave New World

Brave New World was considered a controversial work from the moment it was published in 1932. Ireland banned the book outright, considering it anti-religion and anti-family (likely mistaking the...

Latest answer posted September 28, 2020, 12:04 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Brave New World

Brave New World is a 1932 science-fiction novel written by British author Aldous Huxley. It is set in a futuristic world in which apathy and indifference are encouraged, intellect and mind power...

Latest answer posted September 28, 2020, 12:17 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Brave New World

There is money in the World State of Brave New World, which operates a state-regulated command economy based on high levels of production and consumption. One of Huxley's satirical targets is...

Latest answer posted September 28, 2020, 12:18 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Brave New World

Published in 1932, Brave New World is author Aldous Huxley’s version of a dystopian novel in which tragedy strikes a fictitious future civilization built upon the technological, social, and...

Latest answer posted September 28, 2020, 12:46 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Brave New World

In Aldous Huxley's classic novel Brave New World, the citizens of the World State are addicted to a recreational, mind-numbing drug called soma, which has a euphoric effect and provides a relaxing...

Latest answer posted September 28, 2020, 3:03 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Brave New World

Aldous Huxley’s 1932 book Brave New World is set far in the future, in 2450 CE. In the book, the year is referred to as A.F. 632. This futuristic setting is one of the key characteristics that...

Latest answer posted September 28, 2020, 3:29 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer
Next

Summary