A critique of the Literary Elements in Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
In the passage from the novel Brave New World, Aldous Huxley uses metaphors and powerful diction to characterize John and Mustapha Mond and their opposing views on societal and life values. Through the two characters’ dialogue, Huxley portrays Mustapha Mond as someone who does not believe in enduring any kind of unpleasant emotions within a civilized world. Meanwhile, John is characterized as someone who looks up to God as a reminder to keep his morals intact and believes that suffering is a humane part of life.
The passage begins with John expressing his views on God and the reason for his existence, arguing that if there was a God in this society, people would not let themselves be “degraded by pleasant vices”. The word “degraded” and “vices” signify disgrace and immorality, revealing that John is disgusted by the society’s system that encourages taking soma, a drug that is used to escape all responsibilities. He explains that God is the source that gives people patience and courage, which are the moral qualities that he lives by. Mustapha Mond counters by denoting the lack of purpose in putting oneself to “bear anything… unpleasant” and mentions that it would “upset the whole social order”. Huxley emphasizes the conflicting views of the two characters as Mond judges John’s beliefs as unnecessary in this civilized society. John asserts that self-denial is important for “chastity,” which is a strong belief in his religion, completely opposite of the usual behavior in the new world. As expected, Mustapha Mond discourages the practice of abstinence; he believes that stopping oneself from fulfilling desires will create “passion” and “neurasthenia” which are pointless feelings that will only create “instability” and cause destruction to the civilization. Mond’s objection to chastity reveals that he does not care about being humane and having useless emotions creates unhappiness or dissatisfaction.
Mond believes that “nobility” and “heroism” have no role in their society because wars are nonexistent, and everyone is happy with doing whatever their “natural impulses” desires. In his short speech, he concludes that even if there are upsetting feelings, soma will solve everything quicker and easier than “moral training”. He mentions that “half your morality” can be carried in a bottle and metaphorized soma as “Christianity without tears”. This huge dependence on drugs to fix all unpleasant emotions suggests that Mond has no intention of practicing morality; he just wants happiness quick and easy without thinking about anything complicated. On the other hand, John is familiar with the “tears” and passionate feelings, so he believes that everything that is viewed unpleasant in the new world is a valuable part of life. He quotes Othello to discuss the rewarding aspect of suffering in life, in which the suffering is worth enduring because of the “calms” after “every tempest”. He tells a story about a man who worked hard to get the girl that every man wanted to marry to further justify the pleasure and fulfillment after going through hardships. Mond, once again, sees no reason for suffering if they got rid of anything that could cause pain or discomfort. John, disappointed in Mond’s reply, criticizes him for getting rid of “everything unpleasant” rather than putting up with it. John is angry at Mond who fails to see the beauty of life and will just simply push away anything he dislikes, instead of trying to endure or “take arms” against the troubles. John concludes his lines by claiming that Mond makes life in the new world “too easy” where people are unable to express any passionate emotions that defines the meaning of life; he believes that even hardships are a necessary part of humanity.
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