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

Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley (1932)

Blog posts and presentations due: Monday, October 22

  • Group 3: Is the World State… actually so bad?
  • Group 4: Where is John really the most “free”– in the reservation, in the World State, or on his own?

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 the 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. It seems in some ways like a seductively good idea– isn’t everyone well off and safe in the World State? Why are Bernard and Helmholtz unhappy, and are they right to be?
  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?

8 thoughts on “British Soc & Mod Novels Blog Post 2 (Brave New World)

  1. Hansol, Lee

    10.Is pain really necessary for the possibility of true happiness?
    I agree that pain is really need for true happiness. If we are in the same condition, we don’t know real meaning and value of that. It is just continuous and ordinary thing in our daily life. We cannot feel happy as happy. We can know the real condition and our state when we are in the other ones. Then, our view broadens and we adjudge our surroundings more exactly. We need for comparison target. Also, the happy after the pain make the happy more valuable. After we cost our pain to get happy, Happy become looks like beautiful as much as amount of the pain. We can get more happiness than just its own worth. Not only the bigger quantity but also there is another thing. The choice and entropy. There is a famous saying Choice between birth and death. People who get only happy in the book cannot stand the choice. They are just a child and doll who trained to work as install. They don’t know the delight of choice that itself. The real freedom and use free will as human. And Entropy. It occurs unthought-of things. It gives surprising and deep thought. Changes of emotions itself is very meaningful and unpredictable things give us joyful. Only one color in life is boring, isn’t it?

  2. Heeran Kang

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

    I think that the World State provides people anything materialistic, but it deprives them of their own liberty or rights instead. Before the World State exists, people used to seek their own happiness in their own way. For example, some people could appreciate poetry, or other people could dedicate themselves to study on pure science. The thing is that only few people could get this kind of privileges granted as most people on the earth had to suffer from poverty and illnesses. To get through this dilemma, Ford creates the World State in which everyone is happy without any concerns about hunger or sickness, but also without being given any opportunities to discover what other things there are outside their solid social system.

    Therefore, Bernard consistently asks himself about what true happiness is. He wonders what his life would be like if he were not enslaved by the society. The World State forces people to get along with other people, and never encourages them to spend too much time being alone, which is because the world needs them to feel happy being a cell of the society. As it never lets people doubt the social system either, thus, they never get exposed to old things, and even some words, such as mother, father, or Shakespeare, are regarded obscene. People in the World State think that they are happy doing the same thing and thinking in the same way. There are only typical characteristics of each caste, and there is no identity of individuals at all. Nonetheless, in my opinion, if we cannot figure out what we are, there is no way we can say that we are truly happy as it is.

  3. Yoo Se Dong

    10. Is pain really necessary for the possibility of true happiness?
    In this novel, there is a new world which is called as ‘World State.’ In this world, people use a drug whose name is ‘Soma.’ It makes people produce happiness artificially and there are some people who do not agree to this world. I have seen this kind of things in the movie ‘Equilibrium.’ In that movie, people also use some drug to remove emotion so that they can live efficiently. By accident, the main character forgets to take a dose of drug and he feels it is wrong to remove their emotional things and pains.
    I think pain is essential part of life. Happiness can exist because pain exists. It is comparative thing. For example, when we get out of hot place and get some AC, we feel super cool at that moment. That is because we felt pain in previous circumstance. Because of pain, we recognize that something is wrong and learn how to deal with the situation next time. Another example is about familiarity of happiness. If we always feel happy, we will get accustomed to it. So there must be some pain for true happiness.

  4. Lee ji yeon

    8. Discuss the castes of people in the novel. Is it true that a society of only high intellectuals would be a disaster?
    I think a society of only high intellectuals would not be a disaster. At the beginning, it seems like a chaos because of intellectuals’ movement and even demonstration. So some people would contend the need of the castes system to build the stable world. However, I think that the protests are the necessary steps for a better society. Up to now, the public went through a lot of hardships and many people sacrificed themselves for building the democracy and having a right to vote and moving toward gender equality. In my opinion, this argument -a society of only high intellectuals would be a disaster- comes from politicians and a few of high classed people. They are afraid that their privilege and following benefit would be lost. Historically, they made people become ignorant and obey their policies to maintain their status. To retrieve and claim our indispensable rights, strife or struggle is only and definite thing. Owing to the struggle, people intimidate immoral people and make them nervous and honest. Therefore, a society of only high intellectuals would be not a disaster but a better society to which we are sincerely eager.

  5. SHIN Yunjeong

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

    As a person who lives in the time that the World State people would be startled by, I think a society which makes self-perception possible is more important than being happy. I am not sure that it is ‘better’ than that though. At first, I thought that Bernard and Helmholtz looked weird because it seemed that they were excessively digging into deep thoughts although they don’t need to do so. However I realized that the typical civilized human model (unlike Bernard or Helmholtz) is nothing more than weakness. Civilization of the World State is the reason which makes human weak. In our viewpoint, of course the civilized ones would not care, the happiness, a thing they praise so much, is a fake one made by a chemical drug called soma.
    By self-perception, people would have to cope with personal lack and dissatisfaction. However, during those cognitions, it occurs that people try to aim at something. Although conflicts among personal pursuits would be inevitable, I consider that it is more like an action towards ideal society, which would not be in existence eternally.
    Even the meaning of the word ‘humane’ can be changed by the state of people of the time, I think. Like what this novel says, there is no philosophically, humanly perfect world. This sounds banal, but it is because, as I said, a society with the flawless balance of two opposite concepts cannot exist. Also, when a person aims at specific values, whether it is stability or true rights, he or she must pay for them. In my opinion, it is better to recognize what a person sacrifices for oneself to get other things and expects not stagnant, false stability but changes than being just happy. I think that is more like a life of a creature named human animal.

  6. Kyeoung-a, Kim

    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 five castes in the novel – Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Epsilon (plus, a few of world controllers). But if there had been only one caste(only high intellectuals), the world state would have destroyed long time ago. As in the novel, “Even Epsilons are useful”. There are countless jobs & works in the world. Brain works, hard works, easy works, difficult works…. But all these ‘works’ should be done by somebody. Will the Alphas and world controllers like to do such works? Maybe another castes will be created among them. So the castes structure in the world state (with five castes) is an unwillingly ideal structure for a society with little agitation.

    However, the castes structure in the novel could be maintained because “Everyone is happy”. Everyone is satisfied with their castes. But in OUR WORLD, there is no Soma, there is no hyponopaedia. Not everyone can be satisfied. And that is why revolution(or rebellion) breaks out.

    In any world, Humans can’t live without castes. So, I hope someday there will be a satisfied society that everyone is satisfied with their caste, without something like Soma.

  7. Ma Chunyu

    There are more important things in the world than happiness. It is the intensification and refining of consciousness, some enlargement of knowledge. In the world state, the most perfect condition is making those conditioned people satisfied and pleasant with their specific condition. However, I think it is shallow happiness. On one hand, happiness means no pain, no emotional fluctuation but the stability. On the other hand, happiness means complacency and stagnation in a way. While the seeking for knowledge and refining consciousness mean progress. To be a real person, we need to think, to study. And then you will find a broader world and maybe also some of its problems. It is the base of improving current situation. And when you meet new things, experience some straits, get surprised or frustrated, and then reflect on this world, acquire more knowledge and finally have different felling about surroundings. I think it is the real goal of life. And happiness will also be more significant after some difficulties.

    In the world state, they are denied because they will make some people skeptical about their condition, especially those intelligent people. Maybe they will take arms to against the master or maybe they will create some art or technology which are both harmful for the stability and orders.

  8. Yoon Chang Ho

    Is John really more “free” in the savage reservation than the people in the cities?

    John was born in the Savage Reservation. Since his mother, Linda, was from outside reservation, Linda and John were stranger. No savage welcomed Linda and John. Because of their different think and behavior. Linda always did as what she learned in cultured society. And her cultured behavior had caused hate from the savage. Their hate also aimed her son, John.
    John was not “free” in the savage reservation because of the above listed reason. Then, is he free than the people in the cities? I think he is not. He always feels confusion since his think and behavior, from his mother, clash with the savage’s. He had never felt the emotion ‘free’. Although the people in the cities are always overseen and controlled, they do not feel confusion or lonely. Even the people in the cities think themselves free soul, useful individual to the society. They are absolutely free in the cities.
    In conclusion, John is not free in the savage reservation than the people in the cities.


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