The Power Of Technology in “Brave New World” By Aldous Huxley And “Nineteen Eighty-Four” By George Orwell
Both the Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, the populace are manipulated and controlled with the use of technology, however the power of technology is portrayed differently in the two novel. In the novel Brave New World, technology and medication is used in order to control human reproduction, while in Nineteen Eighty-Four technology is used to control human consciousness. Both novels reveal that through the use of technology, human are dehumanized in to objects rather than subjects, this is especially the case in the Brave New World where human are transformed into objects passively.
In Brave New World, the technology control method limits people’s imagination and creativity indirectly. After every birth, new born babies are further conditioned by the nurses. This is illustrated when the Director leads his students into the Nurseries to examine the process. First, “the nurse set out books and bowls of roses in a long row across the floor”. They later brought in the babies, and they crawled with squeals of excitement towards the rose flowers and books. When this happened, a nurse pressed down a little lever on a switchboard and “a siren shrieked, alarm bells maddeningly sounded”. This suggests human are physically manipulated in order to prevent them from developing emotional connection to their surroundings. In other words, human are prevented from developing critical thinking and independence, thus everyone passively accepts their living conditions. Furthermore, sleeping education are used to teach children in a dormitory where the sleep with repeated sentences broadcasted. For instance, the Director is very excited to say “Till at last the child’s mind is these suggestions, and the sum of the suggestions is the child’s mind”. This indicates that they are forced to accept an abnormal life prospects where they are presented with a limited perspective of the world.
In Nineteen Eighty-Four, technology is used to create an environment where people’s emotions can be controlled. The relevant technology used for control is the telescreen. The telescreen “received and transmitted simultaneously”, which cannot be turned off, has the power to monitor someone movements and issue orders to people to correct people behavior. Also telescreen is used by police where people’s every move is monitored, “in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and except in darkness, every movement scrutinized”. This demonstrates that the populace lives in a society where authority and order is never questioned. In addition, technology is used to devastate human’s minds and bodies. This is shown when O’Brien said,
“How many fingers am I holding up, Winston?”
And if the party says that it is not four but five – then how many?
The word ended in a gasp of pain”.
O’Brien uses pain to inflict a sense of fear in people. As O’Brien increases the pain, at the end Winston agrees with O’Brien that he is holding up five fingers, even though he knows that O’Brien is holding up only four – he agrees that anything O’Brien wants him to believe is right. In Room 101, O’Brien straps Winston to a chair, then fixed Winston’s head so that he cannot move. He tells Winston that Room 101 is “the worst thing in the world” and informs him that rats are on the other side of the wall. O’Brien picks up a cage full of huge, squirming rats and places it near Winston. When O’Brien presses a lever, the door will slide up, and the rats will leap onto Winston’s face and eat it. Moreover, Winston said “Tear her face off, strip her ti the bones. Not me! Julia! Not me!”. The rats are the most horrible thing for Whiston, in the face of his greatest fear, Julia was finally betrayed by Winston. O’Brien, very happy by this betrayal, and then he removes the cage.
Furthermore, comparison between the two novels demonstrate that technology is the most effective tool in controlling people and tricking people in to the ideal of utopian society. In Brave New World, embryo manipulation can make everyone satisfied with their lives without questioning the rules. Thus human desire and greed are controlled in order to prevent disorder. Also, human are objectified into reproduction machines without emotion and desire. As an outsider, John who is from the savage area starts to question the authority. He cannot bear with the deprivation of freedom and independence, in the end chooses to end his life. On the other hand, in Nineteen Eighty-Four, physical torture is enforced on the protagonist Winston. He lives in a society where all kinds of torture methods are used to make everyone obey the Big Brother. However, physical obedience is not enough, one must consciously admire the Big Brother. In the end, Winston is successfully manipulated and consciously obeys the Big Brother. In contrast, the protagonist John, from Brave New World chooses suicide with his own conscious will.
In the end, both novels portray the uses of different technologies for controlling and manipulating people. Control and manipulation are used for prevention of disorder. Without human consciousness and desire, conflict is unlikely to develop in society. In Brave New World, technology is used as a tool for people to develop reliance on technology starting at birth, while in Nineteen Eighty-Four, technology is used brutalized into violence to control everyone’s mind. People are monitored everywhere, and prevented from developing critical thinking. Thus, they will not question authority, and order, the Big Brother becomes the unquestionable ruler. In comparison, technology is used for effectively in Brave New World, where the use of the drug soma provides instant satisfaction to control the populace starting at birth. People are completely controlled by technology. The State does not allow people to think or behave independently. Although this method is violating the law of nature, it is an undoubtedly useful one.
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