Rating: 3.5/5 stars.
I like books that make me feel. I felt pretty anguished and surprised when I read about babies being electrocuted on page 20. Why would anyone electrocute innocent babies, you ask?
‘They’ll grow up with what the psychologists used to call an ‘instinctive’ hatred of books and flowers. Reflexes unalterably conditioned. They’ll be safe from books and botany all their lives.’
No! Not books! Condition them to detest Doritos or cottage cheese – anything but books!
I also like books that make me think. Here is a quote that made me think (I sent it to a friend via text, too):
“The sexophones wailed like melodious cats under the moon, moaned in the alto and tenor registers as though the little death were upon them. Rich with a wealth of harmonics, their tremulous chorus mounted towards a climax. louder and ever louder…”
“Sexophones”. Indeed, Aldous Huxley created a society in which consumerism and sex run rampant. It’s difficult to briefly delineate the place the characters inhabit, but it’s basically a world in which one is biologically engineered and born into a specific caste. There is no passion, and people go through their days fulfilling their duties and taking mind-relaxing/numbing drugs. Sex is spoken about casually, monogamy and motherhood are absurd concepts, and everyone lives to ensure everyone’s happiness.
Huxley held my attention throughout the story, and I appreciated his utilization of ostracization, oppression, conformity, psychology, etc. to finely flesh out his anti-utopia. Each character contributed meaning to the book overall, and I enjoyed how John and Linda were introduced in the middle of the story but served as main characters by the end.
Perhaps it is because I read 1984 beforehand, but Brave New World did not grip me enough to make me absolutely adore it. However, I would still recommend it to anyone looking for a great dystopic read that raises some thought-provoking questions. The fact that this book maintains its relevancy in 2012 after several years have passed since its publication shows its strength.
2 responses to “Brave New World by Aldous Huxley”
I remember reading this for a literature class….The thought of having your place in society predetermined and being in a drug-induced state in order to cover up real emotions was frightening. However, I couldn’t help but think that there might be some merit in Huxley’s dystopian world since there’s no war and there seems to be waaaay less discontent (or so I was led to believe) due to everyone having a role (and being high nymphomaniacs all the time) that they are content with filling.
The merit of the world in Brave New World is a debatable topic – I think one thing to consider is that despite the fact that they are “less discontent”, not everyone is given an equal opportunity to achieve in that society. In fact, one reason why they may be less discontent is because they are brainwashed since birth that that is how they should be. The few people in positions of power dominate the system and control everything, whereas everyone else just goes along. Society in itself isn’t improving much, excluding the technological advances, and there are myriad things wrong with society in Huxley’s book. Furthermore those who do not fit into the social mold or deviate just a little bit are ostracized – I’m curious to see how many citizens were actually sent away in total to the islands mentioned in the novel. Perhaps if we as humans weren’t capable of or were not aware of abstract concepts like true love, passion, etc. then Huxley’s dystopian world may be more forgiving, but because humans do possess that power it all comes off as disturbing and wrong.
Thanks for reading and commenting!