Brave New World The author of Brave New World is Aldous Huxley. He was born in Surrey in England in 1894. He was educated at Eton, and later he attended college at Oxford where he earned a degree in English literature. For awhile he taught and was a critic of music and art . During the writing of this book he was experimenting with mind altering drugs.
He specializes in fantasy and sci-fi books. In 1959 Aldous Huxley received a the Award of Merit for the novel from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He came to the U. S. in 1937 and was living in California at the time of his death on November 22, 1963. The purpose of this book was to share a prophecy he had about the future.
The main theme of this book had to do with a utopian society. As all utopian societies do, this one was obviously flawed. The goal of this society was to have full control over all the citizens. The book begins with a tour around a laboratory where scientists are artificially creating babies in a process called decanting. Lenina, one of the main characters, is a woman who does not always understand the ways of the society in which she lives. She is instantly attracted to a fellow citizen named Bernard.
Bernard is different than the other men Lenina usually dates. He is shorter than most men in his category, known as, Beta. Some of his ideas that scare Lenina. She tries to suppress his inquiries by reminding him that all bothersome thoughts and feelings can go away with the help of Soma. Soma is a drug that seems to be similar to present day Prozac and other anti- depressants. The citizens of the society depend on Soma to get them through every day.
The master of this society is a God-like character named Ford. He is not present in the story, but they base their lives around his teachings. The ritualistic times of worship include chanting and orgies. Relationships are frowned upon, or anything else that requires human emotion. The idea of love or passion seems to scare them the most because there is no scientific reasoning or ways to control it.
Lenina is scolded for being with the same man for too long. Bernard often questions the wonder and joy of what it would be like to have an emotional connection with some like a spouse or a family. He reveals a dissatisfaction with the lifestyle in the Ford society. After some inner conflict Lenina decides to court Bernard and they spend some time together. They go on a trip to an Indian reservation where life remains untainted and natural.
At first Bernard and Lenina think of it as an adventure until they witness a human sacrifice. Lenina realizes she and Bernard both left their soma back in their room. They are forced to suffer through the pain of real human emotion. Their reaction was even more intense due to the fact that their whole life was centered around their own happiness and they could not understand why someone would give up their life to help their community. Every action they took in live was purely for themselves and their own false sense of security.
During the traumatizing ordeal the two outsiders come across a woman and her son who don not seem to belong. It turns out that the woman, Linda is really from the civilized land and was lost their during a vacation. Before the trip Linda was accidentally impregnated by one of her partners and had her son in the village. Lindas son, John, had a very strange upbringing. He was constantly told about life where his mother used to live.
He was also taught the ways of the Indians he was surrounded with. He never quite gained the acceptance of the natives, nor his mother; because of this he turned to God. the God of Christianity. Although Christianity was not the practiced religion; the leaders believed it was important for the youth to know all aspects of spirituality. His mother taught him how to read. He read Shakespeare and identified with the characters and was able to express himself through the words of Shakespeare.
He became the medium between the two worlds. Human nature is evident in his character. . After learning of her history, Bernard and Lenina persuaded Linda and her son, John, to return with them. John hated the outside world.
He could not understand the meaningless life that the society led. Lenina tried to seduce him, but he truly loved her and would not be satisfied by a purely physical relationship. This frustrated Lenina. Soon John received a phone call telling him that his mother was about to die. When he arrived he learned that her death was due to a over dose of Soma.
He tried to say Good bye, but he was interrupted by a group of children who were instructed to view the death as a form of conditioning. Conditioning is when they would try to get children accustomed to abnormal behavior. John became so angered by the casualness of his mothers death that he pushed one of the children down on his way out. He was immediately arrested. An ally named Helmholtz Watson came to his defense. John and Helmholtz were obvious threats to the stability of the society, so the government officials decided to meet with them. After a debate on life, love, and freedom of the human spirit; Helmholtz and John were banished.
This decision was made out of fear on the part of the government. the knowledge John had gained over his life time exceeded that of anyone they knew and that gave him too much power over them. John argues, Well, Id rather be unhappy than have the sort of false, lying happiness you were having here. The question comes up of weather or not it is better to have an ideal, easy life rather than a life where you learn something and feel a sense of accomplishment. The answer will vary upon the person questioned.
At the end, John leaves the society to be alone. The main point of the society was that everyone belonged to everyone else. John could not live that way. He moved to an abandoned lighthouse where he was hassled by reporters and other types of media until the very end. He refused to succumb to the temptation of an easy life without meaning.
To me, he seemed to model the life of Jesus Christ. In a world where his beliefs were laughed at; he knew that a peace with his God was the most important goal in his life. I would rate this book excellent. It was written very well with good description, but not so much that you would become bored while reading it. It was a little difficult to read; it required your full attention.
This book was thought provoking and had insight on how societies evolve and work. I would recommend this book to a student who was concerned with current events and strong feelings towards moral issues. After reading this book I now know that when governments gain too much control they corrupt the people. I also learned that it is better to deal with thoughts and feelings then suppress them. We have fear and other feelings for a reason. We cannot deal as a society until we learn to deal with ourselves without the help of drugs.