Aldous Huxley: Brave new World as seen by Keith Booker

keithbooker

M. Keith Booker
Professor
(Ph.D. University of Florida)

 

The title of Aldous Huxley’s novel, Brave New World, refers to a poem within the novel itself. The poem, is speaking of beautiful things, when John first brings up the poem, he is speaking about Lenina. John and Lenina just met, and he is mesmerized. He thinks she is as beautiful as anything he has every seen, which is why he quotes the poem.
John, “The Savage” says, “O brave new world!” multiple times throughout the novel. The first time John says. “O brave new world!” is on page 139, when John is quoting, Miranda, The Tempest, From Shakespeare. The last time John says, “O brave new world!” is on page 210, when the soma rations were being given out, at the end of the book. The first time was about Lenina being so incredibly beautiful to him, the last time, was when John, is saying that the beautiful world had been ruined, and that maybe by quoting the poem, he might be able to change the world.

The title, Brave New World, is referring to a wonderful new world, that is perfect, and undisturbed. However as the novel progresses, it is apparent, that the world is not so perfect after all, so the meaning changes into, a world that will hopefully change into a wonderful one.

(from a Dystopian literature: a theory and research guide)

pg 171 – It portrays a hedonistic (pursuit of or devotion to pleasure) future society in which individuals spend most of their time in the pursuit of instant happiness through sex, drugs, and mind-numbing multistory entertainments like the popular “feelies” .

Huxleys future society mask a deep-seated lack of individual liberty.

divert attention from social problems and stop rebellion.

Acts like the subtle manipulations that inform modern bourgeois society in the west .

The central cultural hero of the society is Henry Ford, who is worshiped almost as a god .. why?

What is Fordism? (Just for me)

Fordism, named after Henry Ford, is a notion of a modern economic and social system based on an industrialized and standardized form of mass production. The concept is used in various social theories and management studies about production and related socio-economic phenomena.[1] It is also related to the idea of mass consumption and changes of working condition of workers over time. Nowadays different theoretical positions assume that Fordism has either been replaced or continues to exist in various forms. – Wiki

pg 171. All aspects of life in this society are designed to increase consumption. children are only allowed to play games that indulgences in this hedonistic society.

Slogans

  • The more stitches the less riches
  • Ending is better than mending

brave_new_world_social_classes_by_qbark-d4ujz5s (1)

Society 

pg 172 – Alphas – members  of the highest class who will occupy positions that require advanced intelligence […] episilons low intelligence but high physical strength and endurance for menial task. In an echo of the lack of individual difference in We, these lower classes are mass-produced by a “Bokanovsky Process” (alows up to 96 infants to be created from one fertilized egg.”

– For this reason lack real individual identities.

– Both thought and feeling are strongly discouraged in this society, and much of the technology of this dystopia goes into the development and productions of goods designed to promote a hedonistic pursuit of pleasure that will prevent the buildup of potentially subversive political energies.

Soma has “all the advantages of Christanity and alcohol; none of their defects” (42)

pg 173 – Mustapha Mond reminds them of “our Ford’s” declaration “History is Bunk.” He then goes on to explain the official rejection of the past that constitutes such an important element of the official ideology of this Fordian Society:

“He waved his hand; and it was as though, with an invisible feather whisk, he had brushed away a little dust, and the dust was Harappa, was Ur of the Chaldess; some spier-webs, and they were Thebes and Babylon and Cnossos and Mycenae. Whisk, whisk – and where was Odysseus, where was Job, where were Jupiter and Gotama and Jesus? Whisk – and those specks of antique dirt called Athens and Rome, Jerusalem and the Middle Kingdom – all were gone. (24)

pg 173 – the past is insubstantial and immaterial, and therfore irrelevant to this society in which materialism is all.

“We don’t want people attracted by old things. we want them to like the new ones” (168)

pg 173 Shakespeare is a central presence in Brave new World.

pg 174- Johns the savage had an old copy of the complete works of Shakespeare. Apart from him only Mostapha Mond has read it. Mond explains that his work evoke the kind of strong passions that the World Government, in the interest of “happiness,” seeks to suppress.

“That’s the price we have to pay for stability. You’ve got a choose between happiness and what people used to call high art. We’ve d sacrificed the high art. We have the feelies and the scent organ instead” (169)

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