Is “Brave New World” Really Brave?

“Community, identity, and stability” was the main motto of the World State, the revolving society in Aldous Huxley’s novel Brave New World. Published in 1932, Brave New World depicts a society that is perceived as ‘utopian’, with changes and sacrifices made in order to keep the society not happy, but content altogether. However, when the individual and worldly character John comes into the man-made society of goals to achieve “community, identity, and stability”, the world is turned upside down and the true aspects and sacrifices are shown, proving that the ‘utopian’ society that was once believed is not utopian any more. In the World State society in this novel, sacrifices and many severe changes are made from the world around it, such as emotions, individuality of the person, and freedom, showing bravery, the ability to face dangers or pain. Taking away the important and valuable parts of human life was what ultimately made the World State society ‘brave’, in order to create a content society based on “community, identity, and stability”.

One way that bravery is shown in the society is by the elimination of individuality within humans. “‘We prefer to do things comfortably,’ said the Controller. ‘But I (John) don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin’” (253). In Chapter 17 of this novel, the Controller Mustapha Mond and John the Savage have a discussion about what the World State society doesn’t have that John believes is important, all pertaining to the individuality of the person. The World State society had banned all the religions, books, poems, and earlier practices of other societies, such as the one John was raised in. Since John was surrounded by a variety of poems, books, and religions that helped him express his life, John does not only believe that people need to be content, however they also need to be free and happy. This reveals that great measures that had the risk of becoming dangerous to the people and society were taken in order to keep the “stability” part of the motto functioning. It ends up becoming one of the ways that the society was ‘brave’ because of the dangers that the lack of color and sense of the individual and the world could potentially bring.

Another way that the society of Brave New World depicted bravery was in the elimination of emotions and the way of life of the people. In the World State, the idea of families, relationships, and emotions are all considered unusual and avoided by the people. In order to maintain population without having any relationships or families, babies were grown and raised in incubators rather than a woman’s womb. “Fertilize and bo-kanovskify-in other words, multiply by seventy-two-and you get an average of nearly eleven thousand brothers and sisters in a hundred and fifty batches of identical twins, all within two years of the same age” (8-9). This quote of the book reveals that along with individuality, the quality of an individual human life was not considered anymore, showing another sense of bravery of the society. Human life was then considered quantifiable rather then qualifiable to the people. Taking away a huge aspect of our modern world away was dangerous risk that the society took in order to fulfill the “identity” part of their motto.

The third and final reason to why the future society in Brave New World was actually brave was the introduction of the new God, medicine, and “happiness” of the people – soma. “…in the solid substance of their distractions, there is always soma, delicious soma, half a gramme for a half-holiday, a gramme for a week-end, two grammes for a trip to the gorgeous East, three for a dark eternity on the moon” (55). This shows that in order to make up for the loss of freedom, individuality, emotions, and values of the society, soma is incorporated in order to keep the people feeling a fake sense of happiness to make them content. The introduction of this tablet is what the society revolves around on, since they are taken when people are feeling confused, depressed, sad, not ordinary, or for no reason at all. The replacement of a God with soma is the bravest move and way in which the society was indeed a Brave New World. It shows, in a way, that the people can be controlled using one thing that could fake emotions and character and replace it with a feeling of content.

Altogether, the World State society of Brave New World was completely changed, and the people were completely conditioned into something that society could control in order to keep everything and everyone content. The change and elimination of individuality, emotions, and the introduction of soma were the ways that this society showed bravery, as it impacted the way of life and the thoughts of the people. The changes and creation of the society itself can be a way of defining bravery, the readiness of facing danger and pain, since it had the risks of everything being corrupted. In these ways, the World State society was a “Brave” New World indeed.

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