Literary Criticism- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
A Utopia is a world that is completely controlled by the government. The government controls every aspect of life in a utopia, and therefore everyone is always happy. In the novel “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley the setting is a utopia. In this world people are constantly happy, babies are cloned, and, ‘everyone belongs to everyone else.’ The criticism which I chose was written by Margaret Cheney Dawson, on February 7th, 1932. The argument that Margaret makes is that Brave New World is a, “lugubrious and heavy-handed piece of propaganda.
” The critic is saying that through the book Brave New World, Aldous Huxley is promoting, and trying to sell a utopian government. I agree with this statement because throughout the book there are examples that prove that Aldous Huxley thinks that a utopian world is a good idea, also through his writing Huxley is implying that a utopian world is the only way humanity can survive.
The most obvious way that Huxley promotes a utopia in his novel, is through the words of a character.
When the Savage, John, is talking to the World Controller, Mustapha Mond about the “brave new world” which they live in Mond says,
“They like it.It’s light, it’s childishly simple. No strain on the mindor the muscles. Seven and a half hours of mild unexhaust-ing labor, and then the soma ration and games andunrestricted copulation and the feelies. What more can they ask for?” (Huxley 204).
I think that the words of this statement by Mond is a very big statement because Huxley is coming out and flatly saying that there is not one bad thing about a utopian world. He says that it satisfies everyone’s needs, and that no one is ever unhappy because they do not have a reason to be unhappy. I also think that Huxley is trying to make the statement even stronger because the character who said it, Mustapha Mond, is the most important person in the utopian world. He is a ruler with much knowledge.
The other proof that this book is propaganda is isolationism, not fitting in, and not being the same as everyone else. These are some of the problems that we experience and struggle with in our lives. Huxley sees this and tries to sell us the idea of a utopian world by showing that sameness is good, and difference is not good. In the book two characters feel isolated, and different then the rest, Bernard Marx, and John the Savage. Bernard’s isolationism is shown when Bernard does not experience “the coming” and the solidarity service while everyone else does. “He was miserably isolated now as he had been when the service began- more isolated by reason of his unreplenished emptiness, his dead satiety. Separate and unatoned, while the others were being fused into the Greater Being.” (Huxley 76-77). Through this I believe that Huxley is saying that being different, and feeling different is not a good thing.
Although this is a very strong message that Huxley conveys, there is one that is much stronger. John’s struggles are much greater because he is much different from the rest of society. At the end of the novel john commits suicide by hanging himself, “Slowly, very slowly, like two unhurried compass needles, the feet turned towards the right; north, north-east, east, south-east, south, south-south-west, then paused, and after a few seconds, turned as unhurriedly back towards the left. South-south-west, south, south-east, east…” (Huxley 237). This quote is explaining how john is hanging, after he committed suicide. This form of propaganda is very strong because the reader starts to contemplate whether diversity and difference in the world really is such a good thing. Through these two quotes Huxley is also trying to prove to us that sameness is good because everyone is happy, this is why this book is propaganda.
I do agree with the critics argument that Brave New World is a heavy handed piece of propaganda because we see examples throughout the book that Aldous Huxley thinks that a utopian government is the ideal way of living. Also Huxley implies that sameness is desired rather then being unique and different. I think that Margaret Cheney Dawson hits the jackpot with her thesis which states that Brave New world is a heavy handed piece of propaganda. I totally agree with her, and through the examples my beliefs were only reinforced.
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