British Soc & Mod Novs: Blog Post 2 (Brave New World)

Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley (1932)

Blog posts and presentations due: Monday, October 23

  • Group 3: There are hints in the book that the World State inherently doesn’t work or has problems. What are they?
  • Group 4: Is it true that a society of only high intellectuals would be a disaster?

Write a post here of about 200 words discussing one of these questions; or make your post a reply to someone else’s post.

Your presentation must present an opinion or argument; it cannot just summarize the story. You must e-mail or speak to me before your presentation to have it approved.

  1. Discuss satire and humor in Brave New World.
  2. Discuss the historical meaning of the character names (Marx, Lenina, Ford, Bernard [Shaw]). Why does Huxley use them?
  3. Most World State members are happy, though people like John, Bernard, and Helmholtz are not. Why? What is wrong with World State society?
  4. Are there things in life better than being happy? Why are they denied in the World State?
  5. Huxley once complained that a society where people were controlled through childish pleasures wasn’t much different from California! Do you think there are cultures now that are too much like the World State?
  6. Discuss how factory production (even of people) is depicted or satirized in the novel.
  7. The role of sex and love in the novel. Do you find the novel offensive? Why?
  8. Discuss the castes of people in the novel. Is it true that a society of only high intellectuals would be a disaster?
  9. Is John really more “free” in the savage reservation than the people in the cities?
  10. Is pain really necessary for the possibility of true happiness?

14 thoughts on “British Soc & Mod Novs: Blog Post 2 (Brave New World)

  1. Kim Soyeon

    In the novel ‘Brave New world,’ sex and love are totally prohibited. People of the ‘utopia’ have never thought about the definition of family, and they even feel guilty for pronouncing a word ‘mother.’ People think mentioning about sex and love is dirty, and every person, regardless of gender and sex, enjoys free sex life without emotional communication. All of those things are because of the society full of ‘science.’ Exceptional development of science makes people lose their humanity. However, they are offensive for me. It is a great contradiction because people make a lot of relationship without any hesitation. It looks like a jungle of animals.
    Lack of knowledge about ‘rational love’ and ‘family’ makes the society more ‘scientific’ and ‘efficient’ as Ford wants. I think this is the most significant reason why the society finally gets worse-some characters try to rebel-. It also makes people to judge people only with someone’s appearance, financial power, and honor, not their true personality. People who try to settle, such as Marx, Lenina, and John, finally do not succeed. And John, the ‘free’ savage, dies in tragedy. However, no one of this society feels sorry for the failure. Even John do not feel that much sorry for his mother Linda’s death. I think he just misses ‘someone’ who raised him, not his ‘mother.’ The novel does not accept the revolt about everything, so ‘Brave New World’ is not very enjoyable for me.

  2. Park Ye Jong

    4.Are there things in life better than being happy? Why are they denied in the World State?

    Of course, being happy is the most important to human life. However, happiness in Brave new world is extremely restricted because people’s happiness is all about sex and drug. It seems that their happiness is no difference with animal’s happiness. Although sex, food and drug deliver them to instant happiness, there are many other things which make human being worthy and valuable. For example, when people invent something or overcome hardship, they feel accomplishment and it is better than instant happiness. People also feel happiness when they feel negative feeling like sadness or sympathy. Even if it gives people frustrated, it makes life more changeable and colorful. In Brave new world, government does not permit valuable happiness to people. Government decides people’s life, education and work. Because it becomes easier to control people, and government officials think this is the best way to make the world peaceful. That’s why people in this novel looks like robot or animal. Their job does not require deep thought and high intelligence and after work, they eat delicious food, take Soma, watch porn movie and do sex. In conclusion, I think being happy is the most important in human’s life, but happiness in brave new world is not real happiness.

  3. Suh Yujeong

    Most World State members are happy because the society makes them think they are happy by sleep-learning, psychological manipulation, and classical conditioning. In World State, if people get depressed, they just eat Soma which is soothing drug.

    Bernard Marx is not happy because he is shorter in stature than the average member of his class and that gives him an inferiority complex. Also, Bernard does not enjoy communal sports, promiscuous sex and Soma which the most people in the society enjoy. At the end, he exiles to the island for non-conformist behavior despite his pleas.
    Helmholtz Watson is a gifted writer but he cannot use his talents creatively in World state because the society does not allow. Mustapha Mond believes that literature and scientific freedom must be sacrificed to secure of societal happiness. And this is the problem, the society brainwashes people as “everyone belongs to everyone else” and they do not allow art, literature, and scientific freedom.
    At first, John yearns for World State life, but he realizes that the society is just the ostensibly civilized Society based on principles of stability and shallow and brainwashed happiness. And John loves Lenina but because of his mother Linda, he repels by her forwardness and promiscuity so he rejects her. John is stricken with remorse because of his mother’s death and disappointment with Lenina so wants to go to the islands, but Mond does not allow it because he wants to see what happens to John next. Finally, John hangs himself in despair at the end of the story.

  4. Magali Le Corre

    7.The role of sex and love in the novel. Do you find the novel offensive? Why?

    Sex and love play an important role in the novel Brave New World. Human beings in this novel are reduced to heartless people, where the only type of happiness can be found through sexual relations and sexual experimentations. They are meant not to feel anything, as it would actually be easier for the people of the government to control them. I think that the less emotion someone feels, the easier it is for that person to follow what he/she has been told to do. To love is prohibited because you would not be as effective as if you were emotionless. And it also seems that there is also no point of loving someone if you are not going to do any sexual reproduction with this person. And like Huxley wrote in the book, “But everyone belongs to everyone else” (p90), it helps spreading the idea that you should not love someone, but rather experience a short period of happiness by having sex with a lot of different persons. I did not find this novel offensive, because it is just a perverted way of portraying the human being but not that incorrect. It is actually possible to make comparisons with today’s society and the society described in the novel to see if we, as human beings, tend to go this way or not.

  5. JongHoon Park

    8. Discuss the castes of people in the novel. Is it true that a society of only high intellectuals would be a disaster?

    There are 5 classes according to castes of people in ‘Brave New World’ : Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Epsilon. In regards to the question above, there is a scene in the novel where Mustapha Mond says that the society of only high intellectuals already collapsed long before because they only thought about themselves. They were also clever enough to derive their own benefits. Finally, everyone in that society suffered a great loss and initiated a new system, the castes. However, was the ‘only high intellectuals’ the real problem? I don’t agree with it.

    In fact, I think that the main defect of that kind of society is lack of mutual control among people. In addition, mutual control is essential because it will prevent everyone’s right from being invaded by others. Although there are only high intellectuals in the society, if they could become considerate of others’ positions and regard them, it would be a much better society where every members are happy. However, we have to be careful and notice that ‘mutual control’ would not be accomplished by government alone, but mainly by people’s voluntary participation which is from their mind! Then it would be the heaven instead of a disaster.

  6. Aniqah Syairah Ruslan

    1. Discuss satire and humor in Brave New World.

    Huxley’s Brave New World can be seen as his way of mocking the society that he was living in and the future of the society. The story was heavily dependent on the ideology of technology advancement, the rise of science, social conditioning and the rise of political power. In general, how the civilization of the “modern” world is made amidst these factors or issues. One can argue that this novel acts a warning to the society of the possible future if they fully succumb to these modern ways.

    Huxley satirizes the issues of the society with the intention of exposing their true nature and just how despicable they can become if the society grants them the power over their lives. The society in the World State is obsessed with the advancement of technology, science and other factors, to the extent of the people living there are manufactured rather than born, implying that the humans living there are merely robots or “animals” that are devoid of having emotions, sense of individuality or even a heart. One example of the human being depicted as objects of manufacture is the mass manufacture of twins, which hints the reader how the society does not tolerate individuality or “high art”, and if they do have individuality, they are considered to be the outcasts, regardless of their caste system. This is evident through the treatment of Marx and Watson by the society. Huxley satirizes the inflexibility of the society towards individualism and practices conformism as if it is their religion.

  7. Minwoo Kim

    I think John was more “free” and “happy” in the savage reservation than in the world state. He was also alienated in the savage reservation admiring the brave new world but we can find that he did not adapt to this inhumane and totalitarian city that is so limited that the city kills the individuality. The people of the world state are just designed to be happy and free. There is no dignity of human-being in this city. He said he wants to be alone and wants to have a right to be unhappy. We can know the fact that he chose the “loneliness” of the savage reservation instead of the terrible “interference” and brainwashing of the brave new world.
    Also high-level Mustapha Mond was aware of the unreasonable and foolish system of the city and said that all citizens in the city are living in a restricted bottle. His awareness and recognition are evidences that the world state is not free. There is only pressure in a way of brainwashing making people a layperson of the real value of life of individuals.
    I think a standardization can not makes the people(haman) who have various personalities free.

  8. Minji Kim

    10. Is pain really necessary for the possibility of true happiness?

    I think pain is necessary for the happiness. Pain and happiness are in a compatible relationship. One cannot exist without another. We don’t know it’s a happiness if we don’t suffer a pain. In the brave new world, all the people are customized and trained to think that sexual relationship and drug(soma) is the only way to get a happiness. But even though they are being brainwashed from their birth, people like Bernard, Helmholtz and Lenina feel emptiness
    Helmholtz and Lenina are the typical ideal types of human. They have attractive appearance, intelligence and at the highest class in the society. They should be happy because they are living the best life among the society but they are not. I think it is because they haven’t suffered pain for real. Since they don’t know what pain is, they fill emptiness and don’t realize their life is happy one. Of course I think people living in brave new world doesn’t have real happiness. But this is because I live in another society and know brave new world society’s happiness is an empty one. But for them who don’t know other society, people in high class should feel happiness because they are living the best life in their society. In order to that, alpha plus feeling emptiness instead of happiness is because they haven’t suffered pain. They don’t know their life is a happiness.

  9. Gang tae yang

    Question 8,
    The society portraied this novel “brave new world” is composed of five castes. The highest society is alpha: the caste of intellectuals. Alpha caste rules this society. Next classes are beta,gamma,delta and epsilon. Also, epsilon is lowest caste in the society. Anyway, All people in the world state in this story assigns their future before the birth. In other word, the people in this society is determined their position, number, tendency and even their nature.
    The Supreme director of this society, Mustapha Mond says this is necessary to maintain the society into the stability. Also, he argues that the society composed by the high intellectuals (In this story, alpha class) cannot avoid the disaster. At the same time, he mentioned that an experiment to create the society by only alpha class ended dreary and made a terrible outcome: death of almost every people, civil war between the members, slander to each other. Simultaneously he asserts that alpha caste socialized when they are working of the alpha class.
    But, we need to know that the alpha class in this society was created by the society. That community emphasized the superiority of the alpha than other classes, made them hating each other castes, tamed the epsilon to conform with the common sense of the society to use an advanced technology. So, I think that failure only caused by the their education and propaganda. Then I think that the society only composed a intellectuals can be created or maintained by the developed technology and science.

  10. Seol Hanbin

    7.The role of sex and love in the novel. Do you find the novel offensive? Why?

    There is no love in the novel. There is only sex. People in the World State can have sex with anyone anytime they want. Who is their partner is really not a matter. They just have sex for fun. They uses sex for making them pleasant like a soma. It is no less than tool. Even worse, they can have relationship with boy or girl when they are children. The physical relationship starts very early. What makes this novel offensive is that people that produced by the World State is more like animals rather than humans. They don’t know what the love is. Because they are manufactured, not born, they don’t bear the emotion of love as well as any other emotions. Love can be taught to human by mother from when human beings are in mother’s belly, and it makes human beings more like human. The Brave New World deprived love of human, which is very violent, and denied mother. It makes mother offensive creature. Then, it is natural that people couldn’t recognize love and just pursue euphoria.

    Rulers of the World State established the notion of sex and love in this way to easily control people. Under the name of happiness of the whole, the rulers tamed his citizens by sex and soma. Simple hedonic happiness makes people dull and numb to everything other than physical pleasure. Like animals once they are satisfied with simple happiness, they don’t complain anything and don’t argue about the world, which is so convenient. This settings are effective only to the rulers, in contrast to the World State’ purpose of existence. Sex and love are just a means of controlling people properly. They do not have profound meaning. In the World State values that our world has don’t mean anything or are the opposite way around. So, the World State and the people are more savage than the reservation and its people in that the World State doesn’t retain emotions that is human beings’ traits.

  11. Yena Lee

    Most World State members are happy, though people like John, Bernard, and Helmholtz are not. Why? What is wrong with World State society?

    Most people in the World State are satisfied with their environments and castes because they are set to be happy and satisfied with their statues before they are born. However, John, Bernard, and Helmholtz are not. There are some reasons why they are not happy depending on their individual situations. In John case, he is not born in World State but in area or preservation where everything is different from world state. When he lives for a while in World State, he is depressed and discouraged about the way of living in World State. (he couldn’t adjust to new surroundings.) He wants the right to be unhappy, to read Shakespeare’s work, and so on. In Bernard case, he is born having a flaw that he is short because of the chemical problem. The feeling that he is different comparing to others develops into an inner indignation. Finally, Helmholtz is in the Alpha-plus group. He is too smart to be in World State even he feels emptiness and meaningless about what he is doing. He is bored to take somas, and recreational sex but he wants to save his energies to find something value. I don’t think the perfect society which everyone can be satisfied can exist. Even it looks perfect, there is always exceptional thing or mistake. In this society, some exceptional things including John savage, Bernard, and Helmholtz made some changes in this society.

  12. Ahn Min Jeong

    3. Most World State members are happy, though people like John, Bernard, and Helmholtz are not. Why? What is wrong with World State society?
    Most World State members are happy, but people like John, Bernard, and Helmholtz are not happy. I think they are different from others of World State, so they are not happy. There are some reasons why I think.
    First, Bernard is not tall as much as Alpha, so He is ignored by others. Also, he is so sensitive and can’t understand some customs of World State. He feels loneliness and emptiness more and more. When he was a protector of John, he feels happy because many people treat him well. Many people treat him as an Alpha Plus. However, When John refused other meetings with people, his happiness is broken. Other people don’t treat him well anymore. He feels unhappy when their treatment disappeared and he was just Bernard Marx, not a protector of John.
    Helmholtz is an intelligent and good looking guy. However, He also feels left out. He is too smart, so he makes himself feel left out. Besides, unlike Bernard, he feels emptiness at other point. He is impressed about Shakespeare. He wants to write his poetry and recite it to others. When he recites his poetry, he feels happy. However, World State doesn’t accept Shakespeare and his poetry. So he can’t feel happy in World State.
    John is a savage and stranger of World State. That is, it is certain that he feels left out. At first, he used to yearn for World State. However, he is disappointed about it soon because it is too much different from his world. Also, he can’t understand ideology of World State. He loves Shakespeare and other writings, but World State does not have them. Even World State doesn’t have family, love, and freedom. Thus, John feels unhappy and kills himself.

    I think World State society is wrong, because they don’t have freedom. Also, World State society does not accept difference. They love happiness and stability, so they think freedom and difference will break them. They also regard art, science, and religion as enemies. However, I think freedom and difference are keys of true Brave New World. Even though all people are not always happy and stable, they can feel happy sometimes because of freedom. They can feel happy accepting differences. They can feel happy thanks to art, science and religion. Though they can’t feel happy all the time, they can feel happy sometimes with instability. It is not important to be happy all the time. It is important to be happy for what. Therefore, the world with freedom and instability is true New Brave World.

  13. Jeongeun Lee

    Of course there has to be pain to know true happiness, just like there has to be darkness to know the light. People in World States are deprived of ability to distinguish happiness because they have never experienced any kind of pain. They don’t have family, friends, or a lover. Just like robots, they do what they have to do in workplace and spend the rest of the time having sex with whomever or going to the theater which really has no meaning. Not a single activity arouses any sentiment in them. In fact, they are just conditioned to think that they feel happy rather than actually rejoice themselves. Most people in World State are basically mindless. Consider Lenina, if she had a time when she was harassed or beaten by men, she would say she is really glad that now every man apparently adores her. Without pain, she cannot even feel how beautiful the moon is.

    In contrary, for John, he shows plenty of emotions a person is supposed to feel in certain situation. He feels sad when his mother Linda dies; he gets angry with a doctor who does nothing to save his mother. We can easily infer John has been quite peaceful and human in the reservation before he comes into the world of robots. Based on his experiences of common sense in the reservation, he easily notices people in World State are somewhat insane. This suggests that what he has and feels in the reservation is a kind of happiness although he might not realize to call it happiness.
    With the contrast between Lenina and John, I definitely think pain has to be a standard for happiness: No pain, no happiness.

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