Dystopian Futuristic Society in the Novel Brave New World

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Updated: Aug 18, 2023
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Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World sets the scene within a dystopian, futuristic society in which humans are genetically produced and engineered into an ideal form of being. Set in the year 2540, this complexly-themed novel captures one vital subject question: personal happiness versus eternal freedom. The novel begins with a brief overview of the society’s composition. We are introduced to the Director in London at the Hatchery and Conditioning Centre where all life forms are created with fertilized eggs to create perfect humans.

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Then, we’re shown the ‘conditioning rooms’ where infants and children are mentally prepared for their future social status. The first group of babies are introduced as deltas, the lowest form of social member.

They’re placed in a room with books and flowers. When the babies try to reach for either of these objects, they are electrically shocked, conditioning them to hate and reject books and nature. This ensures that they will stay inside factories in their adult life and not leave to study education or explore nature. We then see an outdoor garden where naked children are engaged in sexual activity, encouraging them to be sexually and socially outgoing. Throughout the course of this novel, many themes are strongly presented such as technological advancement versus human nature, love versus societal norms, action versus apathy, quest for knowledge, religion versus societal norms, and family versus social acceptance among many more. But all these scattered thematic aspects could be combined under one central theme: happiness versus freedom. Huxley poses this question many times throughout the novel, reincorporating it at almost every stage of the story. In the beginning, we are introduced to the main character, Bernard Marx, whose personality and values prioritize freedom over happiness, as shown through a series of events.

The first example we see is when Bernard converses with his roommate, Helmholtz Watson. They disagree over the lack of monogamous relationships, and the substantial use of the drug soma. Soma is taken in this society where people are genetically engineered to not have freedom of feelings. This drug replaces their lack of feelings to induce a ‘happy’ state. Bernard, however, believes that people should have the freedom to think their own thoughts, make their own choices, and create their own happiness, instead of relying on this temporary artificial state of emotion.

Bernard Marx is a seemingly complex character who, in our opinion, has not quite earned the title of protagonist nor antagonist. Judging by his major role in the story, I cannot believe him to be simply a bystander either. Our reasoning behind this unpopular opinion is due to the way Huxley decided to introduce Bernard throughout the story, constantly changing our viewpoint and the way we, as the readers, feel about him. Bernard starts out in the story as a very unconfident, unorthodox character who feels unlike the other men in his society, as he is more petite and quiet compared to the others. Yet, he is very ingenious and intellectual, which leads him to hold divergent views about the morals of his dystopian society. Because of this, most would perceive him as the protagonist just because he doesn’t agree with the sexual and substantial drug use among his peers, but we chose to disagree with this. We argue this simply because Bernard only criticizes his peers instead of trying to act upon it and change the moral corruption of his society.

Multiple times we see Bernard trying to accommodate to the rest of society instead of standing up for what he believes in. Unlike Bernard, John The Savage has been perceived very positively throughout the novel, earning, in our opinion, the title of the protagonist. In a world where “babies” and “families” are severely frowned upon, John was born as a result of a brief love affair between a highly respected and feared director, and a woman named Linda. After she found out about her pregnancy, for fear of being disgraced by her society, pregnant Linda retires to a ‘savage’ reservation, where natural births are accepted and encouraged. Throughout his life, John embodies the teachings of the reservation and develops a very conservative view of the world. When discovered by the English traveller Bernard, he brings John back to his hometown in London to expose his director for natural childbirth, which is something publicly against. Due to John’s controversial ideologies and coarse state, he quickly undertakes the name: John The Savage.

Unlike Bernard, John constantly fights for his views on human rights, trying to educate people on a more natural approach to life. “Brave New World” is a timeless work of art. When we first read this book, we were unaware of when it was originally written. In fact, we had personally thought the book could have been written within this decade. To our surprise, it was written in 1931. As mentioned above, at the time this novel was written, it was deemed uncanny due to the extensive amount of heresy and unorthodox ideas such as plenty of drug use and sexual references, as well as the dystopian views. The reason why this novel thrived when it was first published, as well as today, is because of its timeless theme and relevance. The theme ‘happiness vs freedom’ is something many people can relate to on a personal level, regardless of the era. During the 1930s, WWII was still in play, and because of this, we can predict that many people actually struggled with this question of ‘happiness vs freedom,’ for example; Hitler was clearly a ruthless, evil leader in the world’s eyes, but to Germany, he was their savior.

This is because he promised his people happiness by taking away their freedom of interaction with the rest of the world, and as a result, the German people were given secluded, artificial temporary happiness. We see the same questions posed today, for example, school dress code. Many students want the freedom to express themselves, but schools want to enforce a stricter dress code, limiting freedom for parental happiness. Huxley’s book accurately compares reality to the fantasy of “what if”. We can both agree that “Brave New World” is probably one of the best books we’ve ever read. The novel was very easy to read and displayed exciting action throughout every scene of the book. The aspects of the story were clear, and very relatable. The only thing we disagreed with about the book was the extensive talk about sexual encounters, but we understand it was included in the book to shape its dystopian plotline. In saying this, we would strongly recommend this novel only to a mature audience and would give it an 8/10 rating, respectively.

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Dystopian Futuristic Society in the Novel Brave New World. (2022, Aug 27). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/dystopian-futuristic-society-in-the-novel-brave-new-world/