Aldous Huxley‘s Brave New World was written to satirize the early “utopian” dream of altering human nature in order to create a conflict-free society The “dystopia” is a futuristic, unified world that is seemingly filled with blatant moral and ethical decay but in which every person is conditioned to be blissfully happy The novel is primarily seen from the perspective of Bernard Marx, who, isolated and ridiculed, is a direct contradiction to the ideals that the society presents. Bernard’s circumstance immediately presents the reader with the flaws of the World State, the singular power of the planet centered primarily around the ideals of Henry Ford and the mass»consumption mentality of the “roaring twenties.
” Huxley takes the general mentality of the early 20’“ century and accelerates it hundreds of years into the future by intensifying the negative aspects of society and reversing established moral standards.
The novel immediately introduces the reader to the apparent immoral foundations of the World State, and they are made weary of anything related to the society, The first chapters explain the planet’s “Bokanovsky‘s Process” of manufacturing multitudes of identical humans and the illustrates the civilization 5 conditioning” methods, placing the humanity of every member of society into question.
The explanation of the dystopia’s psychological and “biochemical technology that makes possible the production of virtually identical human beings, t t introduces Huxley’s theme of individuality under assault” (Higgins). People are taught from their birth to reject isolation and independence, to always be a part of society Without the differences in human nature to have unique ideas and beliefs, it eradicates the need for unique ways to subdue the population and maintain stability.
Humans are manufactured on massive assembly lines like machines and meticulously conditioned to fit in their designated places in society so that they will not desire any other task. They are conditioned based on their predetermined chaste through electroshock and hypnopaedia to ensure their mental passivismt The structure of the entire world is designed to provide the greatest amount of happiness and security to everyone, under any circumstances. Even in extreme cases like Bernard and Helmholtz, citizens who are “flawed,” they are accommodated for the benefit of themselves and the rest of society, The motto of the World State is “Community. Identity. Stability.” and the World Controllers are determined to maintain their three ideals even at the cost of art, individuality, and emotional freedom Bernard, the premier focus of the novel, is the reader’s connection to civility in the World State.
Bernard struggles between his desire to conform to society and revel in the happiness that others enjoy and his desire to be truthful with himself and feel genuine emotionsr He does not initially conform to society because he is incapable of doing so. In the world where everyone is conditioned to judge and be judged based off of physical prowess, Bernard has been hindered. He has been conditioned as a high-class, “free thinking” Alpha, but he has the shorter, stunted physique of a low»class Delta which caused psychological turmoil within him He is psychologically conditioned to crave admiration and respect, but he must fight to gain his status, The reader is meant to sympathize with Bernard because he represents the moralities of modern society in a world where modern morality is considered hereticalr.
He appears to be disgusted with people who cannot think beyond their hypnotic phrases, and makes a point of stating the statistics behind every hypnopaedic phrase that is said in his presence He denies the bliss inducing drug soma, prefers isolation over socialization, and desires more than a purely sexual relationship from Lenina. Bernard is a living confrontation to the World State, but he is incapable of fighting the state in fear of losing the position that he has striven for. He speaks to Lenina about nature and solitude on their date, and tries to make her experience it with incredibly unsatisfying results, She, despite Bernard’s hopes, was conditioned to fear nature and solitude, and she conforms loyaly. Even the mere mention of behavior contradicting his conditioning is nearly met with a transfer to Iceland.
The Controllers fear that his anti-social ideas might spread if he is allowed to speak of them: “The greater a man’s talents the greater his power to lead astray. It is better that one should suffer than that many should be corrupted” (Huxley), In the faith of maintaining the stability of the world, Bernard‘s, and any other progressive thinker’s, ideas are a threat to the well-established social order and have to be contained before they do irreversible damage to the minds of others. Ultimately, though, Bernard embraces his previously despised society upon the opportunity to garner attention from his affiliates through the showcasing of John “the Savage.” By revealing John’s biological relations to the Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning, an embarrassing ans smutty proposition, Bernard gains his “Alpha“ place in society that he had never had access to because of his stunted physique and altered mind set.
His sudden shift in character reveals the hypocrisy of his previous “rebellious” attitude. He appeared to be disgusted with the ignorance of his peers, but he was disgusted with them because he could not be them He had mentally transcended the majority of society, but grew bitter and resentful because he was still conditioned to despise his loneliness. Once he found a way to “fit” into his chaste, he took the opportunity for all it was worth. The reader loses the ability to relate with Bernard as he becomes part of the social machine, losing all of his bitter individuality that draws the reader to him. Yet, with this transformation, Bernard satisfies one of humanity’s greatest desiresr By embracing his acceptance, he becomes a representation of each individual’s aspiration to connect with something bigger, to become a part of society rather than to reject it John “the Savage” becomes the focus of the novel following his introduction at the Savage Reservation, a place that contrasts the futuristic world with a society that is considered archaic by modern standards Bernard’s acceptance of society marks the transition to the development of John’s symbolism.
As Bernard represents the immersion into society, John represents the escape from society. For the majority of his life, John was rejected from his community, and had toNcomfort himself with the fictitious tales of Shakespeare and the World State. When the opportunity arose for him to live in one of his reveries, he took the opportunity to flee his neglectful community with enthusiasm. The futuristic word was romanticized by his mother Linda, but “John’s naive optimism about the World State. . . is crushed when he comes into direct contact with the State The phrase “brave new world” takes on an increasingly bitter, ironic, and pessimistic tone as he becomes more knowledgeable about the State ” (SparkNotes Editors). John had convinced himself that the World State was a place where he would finally find the happiness and security that he had been denied his entire life, but he was more of an outcast than ever.
John retreats into a shell of Shakespearian quotes and literature whenever he feels uncomfortable because it becomes his last remaining source of assurance. Shakespeare’s works give him comfort against the moral workings of the World State, but they provide him no real insight because he “mindlessly quotes Shakespeare without understanding the rationale behind it i , [W]hat is King Lear than simply more hypnopaedia? John wasn’t indoctrinated in his sleep, but the lessons he has imbibed are equally unreflective“ (Shmoop Editorial Team). John‘s unquestioning repetition of Shakespeare’s work is eerily similar to the unquestioning repetition of conditioning phrases. John, too, has been conditioned. John’s circumstance presents Huxley’s theme that every person has been conditioned by the world around them, just not as overtly as in the World State.
The threat against pure individuality remains even in the freest of societies because every person is imbued with the morals of their society, and every person desires to connect with another, John, an escapist by design, realizes that his Shakespearian philosophy cannot save him from the infectious temptations of the World State and resigns to hang himself because he would rather die with his morality intact than to relinquish it. The world presented by Huxley is emphasized through the juxtaposition of the two characters afflicted by isolation, Bernard and John. They each suffer from a sense of individuality and purpose in a society where those aspects of life are predetermined Bernard and John are human characters in the world comprised of machine-like people, and are miserable because of this circumstance, Either of them satisfies a human desire within them at the expense of another: Bernard, to feel acceptance at the expense of sacrificing his individuality; John, to maintain his morality at the expense of rejecting civilization Neither of them are able to succeed in the satisfaction of their humanityi Bernard’s sociality shatters and he is sentenced to an island of isolation and John succumbs to social temptation and hangs himself for doing 50, showing the indestructibility of the World State.