1000 Books In 10 Years; Vol. 167: Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley

 

O brave new world!  Though it opened to a very critical response from the literary world, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World found an audience for his dystopian novel and has since seen the work highly syllabised throughout high schools and universities across the English speaking world, and for good reason.  The novel is unique in that it doesn’t even introduced the protagonist until fifty some pages into the novel and just when the reader becomes invested in that protagonist, the novel shifts and picks up a new protagonist more than halfway through the novel.  The fist portion of the novel outlines the society which Huxley has created so that the reader might be able to contextualize the narrative, and while conditioning and genetic engineering has been applied to humanity as Huxley thought it might be, he is very much spot on about the use of drugs being applied humanity to keep them happy and docile.  Indeed, in a society where people are raised on fairy tales, depression is the natural end as not everybody’s lives can live up to the expectations that are laid out before us as children.  Indeed, anyone can succeed, but not everyone can succeed, so disappointment is reserved for the masses.  In Huxley’s world though people are not presented such fantasy when growing up, but rather are conditioned to enjoy the work that they are predetermined to do.  There is, of course, the question of choice.  Nobody really chooses where they go in life, but rather the government usurps that choice in true Hobbesian fashion.  In reading Huxley’s landmark work, it is easy to see where Orwell drew much inspiration for his classic work 1984, but Huxley’s world, though as despotic as Orwell’s, is a much happier one, and those who don’t suit the predetermined nature of life have a much more enjoyable option than Orwell’s protagonist, though John Savage is not offered the same options as the other protagonists of the novel.

Rambler About Rambler

Jason John Horn is a writer and critic who recently completed his Master's in English Literature at the University of Windsor. He has composed a play, a novella and a number of short stories and satirical essays.

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