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?

21 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

    4.
    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.

  9. Na, JongIn

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

    To start this discussion, we need to define the word ‘happy’. Being happy can be relative one, but I think it is the feeling which people have when they are calm. Some people can say that being happy could be exciting one, but I think when people are happy, they act in calm way. And being happy is really important thing in our life. In our life we encounter many problems and we feel exhausted many times. To overcome this, we need to be ‘happy’. Without this, it is not possible to live in a good mood. So I think being happy is the most important thing in our life.

    In World State they should avoid being happy because it makes people want to live ‘in their own way’. World State want to build just factory of people, not a society of people. It means that they do not care what people feel and think because it does not help them make ‘prefect factory’. If the State allow people feel ‘happy’, then people will try their best to find what makes them happy, so it can interrupt the plan of the state. That is why the state does not want people being in happy.

  10. Jeong Hayong

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

    My answer is yes it is. Though i made a presentation that the World State is good, because there is no pain at all, i think pain is necessary for the possibility of true happiness. We needs the oppositions. For us to feel free, there must be a regulation. For example, students in high school want to be free from their duty, and feel free when they are out of school. Similary, to feel happy, we need something to make us feel unhappy so that we feel happy when we are apart from it. In this case, It is pain. However, as you see in the novel, people in the World State avoid all kinds of pain by taking ‘soma,’ which is like drugs or alcohol in real world. They take soma when they meet any kinds of challenges, so that they can never solve the problem or achieve higher things. It means they just live and stay in the position they belong to. As Huxley intended to show us, they just live like the dead. People can feel more high-quality satisfaction by achieving something or soloving problems than by avoiding everything like people in the novel. For these reasons, I think pain is necessary for the possibility of true happiness

  11. Lim Hyeonju

    First of all, to think about this question, there should be a standard for “free”. In my standard, being “free” is a state that I can express and act on my own with my own thoughts both physically and mentally. Based on this criteria, I think John is freer than people in the cities.
    Of course John is not completely free. He is influenced by his mother who has faith of the World State. Savages do not like John as well as his mother. So he cannot get along with savages and loneliness is inevitable for him. From his loneliness and very weak sense of belonging, he is not free mentally. Nevertheless, the reason why John is freer is that I think people in cities have never had their own ideas. John expresses his ideas by himself, not made by anyone, through his reading of various literary works forbidden in the World State.
    However, since people from the World State are trained in spite of themselves to love or hate certain concepts, they have virtually no idea of their own as human beings. They think they are free, but the idea is also manipulated by controllers within the framework of the World State. Therefore, John is freer than people in the World State.

    1. Lim Hyeon ju

      My comment is about “9. Is John really more “free” in the savage reservation than the people in the cities?”.

  12. Hoe Jong. Sim

    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?

    It is quite ridiculous that Bernard and Helmholtz are not happy, because they are from the top caste in the World State. Many things, such as reputation and authority, are guaranteed. However, thoughts and ideas are restricted. These are based on the instinct like desire to eat and sleep. The World State totally controls what are going on. All most every single person in the World State has the same values. The people cannot accept any different ideas, because they have been programmed. Unfortunately, Bernard and Helmholtz are the exceptions. Their nature does not match with the World State and they cannot adjust the things that they have. How could they be happy, when their thoughts are completely denied and even mocked? I think that they have suffered from that they have seen around them. They have felt the world is odd, but that the people in the World State think that Bernard and Helmholtz are heretics. In my opinion, although the caste system is basically wrong and immoral, the other castes, even the epsilons are happier than Bernard and Helmholtz. They just do their tasks and they don’t have any paradox inside their minds. As a result, I think that it is the natural consequence that they are not happy. I totally understand what they feel about the World State.

  13. PENG YUAN

    10. Is pain really necessary for the possibility of true happiness?
    Yes, pain is necessary.
    When we mention pain, we tend to think about lots of desperate things such as failures, deaths, illnesses, poverties and loneliness. Meanwhile happiness is always connected with joys, successes, family and sweet. A majority of us regard pain and happiness as two thoroughly opposite notions the same as sweet and bitter, success and failure. But as far as I am considered, pain is the minute hand while happiness is the hour hand that is to say pain is necessary when reach for happiness.

    Now, please Imagine there is a wonderful world where people are perfectly suitable for their jobs, no worries about poverty and failure, and even no annoying flies, people are young forever and away from any kind of diseases. Yes, that’s the Wold State, the brave new world in the book. However, does everyone feel happy in such a world?
    No, because the citizens have never tasted pain in there whole life and were “born” to own special flair. And what about John?
    He suffered from bullying and was insignificant, causing that he was merely touched and healed when Lenina smiled at him. The reason that John easily felt happy is that he grew along with pain and sorrow.

    Consequently, pain is necessary for the possibility of true happiness.

  14. Lee so jung

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

    To define is the world “free ” is for everyone is difficult. In my opinion, free is what I want to do regardless of other people., however, in these sense john does not free. The reason is in the savage reservation is controlled by people in the cities. He can not move outside the region. It is that right that he does not have to experience other area. If Bernard does not suggest to leave with him, john can not go city. Also, John not only in the reservation but also is a stranger. Because he is always different everywhere, tormented by other kids in the reservation. Then, It is naturally almost impossible to escape from people’ eyes. If he really frees, he does not care about Linda’ action that she gets along men or follow Benard. people in the cities also ignore person who is different on physically and mentally. It rather makes uncommon person obesses with getting along with peopleso I think john and people in the cities does not feel really free.

  15. Yujin Choi

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

    In my opinion, pain is essential to feel happiness. People often say that a light side is more bright because there are a dark side too. If we can enjoy infinite happiness without any pain, we may not even realize that it is real happiness. It is obvious that we will contantly suffer a lot in our daily life. But, because of this kind of pain, we can recognize that it is the bright side of life when we enjoy happiness.

    In contrast, the society of this book regards emotions as negative and tries to remove the cause of pain. Also, the society recommends people to use a drug called ‘Soma’ to relieve any possible backlash. I think the way to suppress the basic need of human, emotions, cannot control people at all. By feeling several emotions, people recognize that happiness exists in their life because they feel and have pain.

    Similar with the above context, I think that feeling pain is important and helpful to enjoy happiness of life as well. We can grow up and learn lessons by being hurt. Considering these kinds of factors, pain is not only vital to feel happiness but also has a positive effect on life.

  16. Chaehwa Song

    7. The role of sex and love in the novel. Do you find the novel offensive? Why?
    I want to discuss about question 7. At the Brave New World, the ideal was keep saying that “love” is should not to be exist and is one of notion to be behind the times. Ironically, they insist to have a sex with several and various people. The novel says that sex and love should not be equal thing, and this makes me to confuse about the role of the sex and love. In my opinion, the role of sex is, more or less, enjoyment and pleasure at the time, like playing a game. While the role of love is the result of excessive of enjoyment that people should avoid, because it makes them to disturb a rational decision I believe. So, are these two notions are making the novel offensive? Yes, I think these make readers to feel uncomfortable reading the novel. The time of the novel is so extreme to make people to think extremely. Including a hierarchical society, there is no deviation from the set format and rules, no individuality. As a result, the notion of love and sex is offensive to readers’ ordinary ideal.

  17. Lee JinSung

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

    Before we talk about values ​​that are more important than happiness, I think happiness is something we should know about. First of all, people in the World State of Brave New World seem happy. But from our perspective, their lives are not happy. Because we know only the happiness we have learned. On the contrary, when people in the World State see us, the happiness we seek can be pitiful to them. Because happiness is a subjective concept and a learned concept. But to say that the happiness of the people of the World State is wrong, we must recognize the existence of greater value. We call it justice, also called humanity. Therefore, the question of whether there is more value than happiness can be taken as a question of whether happiness prevails over universal values. I think the answer is no. The other values ​​in the World State were denied because the happiness they manipulated and other universal values ​​were incompatible. If they accept other universal values, they will deny the happiness they manipulate and can not sustain their society. In conclusion, universal values ​​such as humanity and justice were denied in the World State because they were inadequate to maintain the social structure created by the ruling class.

  18. kim jung yeon

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

    In my opinion, pain is absolutely necessary for the possibility of true happiness. Ironically, people feel pain when persuing true happiness which is very challenging. If their standard is relatively low, they would feel no pain. True development comes when one faces difficulty and feels pain. Pain can be seen as a chance of development. In the novel, people have no desire to elevate their class. Educated in this way, they feel no pain at all. If there is they take soma to forget about it. I do not think this is an ideal way of life. Admitting the present status is different from adapting to the present. Soma is a way of avoiding the pain, not directly facing it. For further happiness, we must face the difficulty and pain. The happiness in the novel does not seem to be real.

  19. Kang, ByunHyun

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

    Yes, it does. We could see a lot of siblings of rich people being rude or doesn’t have social skills. They don’t need to have such value because they have money and power to cover it. Ironically, we all don’t want to feel pain just like the rich people. What if the rich or the man in power lost their things would they be able to live this life? I would say no. We admire happiness in a way we achieve it not as a well-made thing as we are borned. With pain we can earn and protect the value of joy. The power to keep it safe will make us stronger. It will make us to fight back to the injustice. I don’t want to a world which everything is made. Any person could pursuit happiness not only living under the rich or the power. We learn through pain so we can build a better place by ourselves without money or power.

  20. An Hee Jin

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

    Being happy is the most important value in life because people live seeking happiness, there is no people who naturally want to be unfortunate. However, depending on the perspective of people, shapes of being happy is various. In the World State, the meaning of the happiness is defined as having sexual relationships with who they want. People in the World State also think that living adapting their class and work as their duty in the society is the happiness. The awareness about the happiness in the World State is different from the real world where we are living. Their awareness and definition of the happiness is made for the society. It means happiness is just a kind of a method to make people follow the society system. The people are controlled by what they like and what they are thinking as happiness, but actually those thoughts about the happiness is formed by the society. Mustapha Mond didn’t permit the people to think about the happiness because thinking deeply about happiness can lead people to counter the social system. And the Being happy may be most important thing to the people in the World State. Also, being happy is realized in their life because they live as what they are recognizing about the happiness. However, they actually know fake happiness. Finally, being happy was denied for sustaining the society system (caste). In the real objective of view, their happiness isn’t realized.

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