Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

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Through my high school years for English class, I got to read novels such as the Chrysalids, Fahrenheit 451, and 1984. I very much enjoyed all these novels and their common dystopian theme. But I never had the chance to read Brave New World. Finally, two years later, I found the time to read it. I wish though that I could have read this book in high school. I can just picture analyzing the themes, the characters, and the setting. I can also even picture myself writing a comparative essay on 1984 and Brave New World or writing a comparative essay on the civilized people of the brave new world and the savages. But thank goodness, I don’t have to do that. Maybe its because I read 1984 few years ago, but I also don’t find them to be so very similar except for the dystopian theme and a brainwashed society.

The book starts of describing the development of people in the modern world. Humans are genetically engineered and have clones and different levels of hierarchy. It is hard to understand exactly what is happening because the reader knows nothing else about the world that Huxley created. In 2014, the readers have been more exposed to such terms as genetically engineering  so the readers can somewhat understand what is happening. But eighty years ago, I don’t think people were familiar with such things thus this concept was very profound for them. It is easy to understand why eighty years ago people were so impressed with these new ideas of a utopian world, even now, when people are more familiar with technology, this book doesn’t fail to impress with its ideas of the future.

Everyone is happy. Nobody works hard. Everyone belongs to one another, meaning everyone can have sex with anyone. Concepts such as mother and father are considered dirty words. Soma is what they call a holiday. It is actually a drug that manipulates the people and makes them forget about ‘unpleasant’ thoughts. There are people who still live by the old ways with no technology, living in monogamy, and having babies. These people are savages. There is also no religion. There’s nothing that could make people feel upset.

The readers are introduced to the characters of Bernard and Lenina, whom I presumed would be the main characters of the story. That was proven false when in the middle of the book, the actual main character, John the savage is introduced and Bernard fades into the background. I actually had high hopes for the character of Bernard. He is described as Alpha-Plus, meaning that he is a top of the line persona, but he is different because he is little bit strange from everyone else. First of all , he isn’t as tall as other Altha-Plus man, he enjoys being on his own, he is in love with Lenina and doesn’t like seeing her with other man. Lenina also likes Bernard overlooking his differences and she enjoys only having one partner at a time. Both of these characters are introduced in a way that the readers see that they are different from the others. Now, the downfall. Bernard and Lenina go on a visit to New Mexico, where the savages live, and they find John, who is the son of Beta and a Controller, that were left on the island. Once John is introduced, we see that the character of Bernard is not strong as presumed. Bernard gets permission to allow John and his mother to get back into society. John brings Bernard popularity and fame. The popularity and fame shows that Bernard is not different from anyone else and he starts  enjoying all the parties and promiscuous sex. Furthermore, when the savage tries to start a riot and is caught, instead of supporting John, Bernard blames everything on him and begs for mercy. Huxley made the character rather pathetic. Ugh he had so much potential. As for the savage, I also had high hopes for his character once he was introduced but once again was disappointed with his development. I was expecting John to be a strong character, that once he joined the society, he would try to help others In some way instead of stupidly trying to start a riot randomly. The character is then sent off to live in isolation, where he inflicts self-harm due to his religious beliefs. In the end he ends up committing suicide because, even though this is not stated but is implied, he finally gives in to sin and has sex with Lenina. He considers sleeping with Lenina a sin because he likes monogamy and the ‘old’ type of love while she is everything but. Lenina’s character is also turns out to be nothing but eye candy for other characters. The readers do not even know what happens to her afterwards. I guess she just goes on living.

So maybe I’m just interest in heroic stories. Nothing in this book was very important except for the society Huxley builds. I guess I wanted more from the characters.

I read that when the book came out, it received negatives reviews because nobody thought this kind of society could happen. But look at the world now, we are already half way there. Technology, drugs, modification, people choosing careers over families, etc.

I realized I tend to make many claims and no arguments for them. I apologize for that, I do have arguments but im always too lazy to write them out and assume people know what Im talking about.

I enjoyed reading this book. Did I like it? Eh. I honestly love the world Huxley created.

I couldn’t bring myself to read Brave New World Revised. I skimmed through some pages and frankly, half of the time, I did not know what Huxley was talking about so I just gave up. Even though the chapter titles did seem interesting, when I started reading them, it seemed irrelevant to what I thought it’ll be.

Now, do I ever read anything without assumption? That is a good question. Yes, but all the assumptions come when I start reading the actual book.

I would suggest this book for others to read but I’m not going to lie that it fell short of my expectations.