Trepidant of Dystopian Societies: Brave New World and V for Vendetta
Throughout the novel, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and the movie V for Vendetta, directed by James McTeigue, the author and director both reveal and display significant messages about how dystopian societies function and maneuver of how dictatorial governments rule the civilization. Through the political analysis of dystopia within the novel and the movie, readers are revealed to the ultimate impuissant that ordinary civilians have within a society dominated by an authoritarian government.
Furthermore, both the novel and the movie explore the aforementioned ideas of how political power subsequently leads to the revelation of the flaws of humanity. The bureaucratic power possessed by the government in Brave New World and V for Vendetta is used to fear citizens, regulate information and knowledge to intellectually limit an individual and lastly to control people particularly through the use of technology and media.
In Brave New World and V for Vendetta, the government uses technology to control and indoctrinate people. In the novel, the author portrays his antagonist through the embellishment of technological methods of supremacy to emphasize the ability to show people’s impotence of resistance against such force. The author raises the terrifying danger that advances of how the sciences of psychology and biology can be transformed by the government into technologies that changes the way humans think and act. In the World State, people are designed to be superficially perfect and their desires and feelings are controlled through designed birth. Moreover, to control births, the government uses the Bokanovsky method that allows society to pre-ordain what kind of life people will be born into. He states, “Roses and electric shocks, the khaki of Deltas and a whiff of asafoetida- wedded indissolubly before the child can speak”
Infant babies are conditioned in the most extreme ways as portrayed in the novel, Delta babies who are categorized in the lower caste are conditioned by being shocked whenever they approach books or flowers. Therefore, books and flowers which are associated with pain and loud noises so that the babies would disrelish reading and would despise the idea of luxuries but rather prefer factory jobs which are designed specifically for lower castes. Their future is predestined and shaped for them, and the government makes sure they are prepared for their role that the dystopian society has proclaimed they should have. Furthermore, there are many different techniques which the government use to control people such as hypnopaedia to teach children about morality and class distinctions by placing speakers next to them which repeats slogans and messages while they sleep to ingrain the transmissions in their memories. These messages promote societal ideals regarding echelon roles and proper behaviour regarding sex and conformity.
Similarly, the technological methods the government in the novel uses to control people is also demonstrated in V for Vendetta. In the movie, the government uses technology such as surveillance cameras to monitor citizens and control them if they do things that are contrary to the rules of the government. V states “People should not be afraid of their government. The government should be afraid of their people” (McTeigue, 2005). V encourages society to stand in unity to take control over the government, he believes that if the people live in fear of the government despotism continues but if the government have fear for the people, there would be liberty. The government uses surveillance to monitor the society but the people are taught that it is for their protection but in reality, the government uses this propaganda to obtain their trust and to control the citizens the way they want without any suspicion.
Likewise, at the beginning of the movie, indoctrination is portrayed when Lewis Prothero who is The Voice of Fate is pontificating and maundering about the United States, homosexuals, Muslims and godlessness. He indulgently misemploys his position of public authority by using the autocratic party line as a rationalization to vent his chauvinist, bigoted opinion in an endless stream of an emotional pathological rant, burning with the outrage of disgruntled but hypocritical self-righteousness. He has hatred for minorities and he believes that they do not belong in society, he also rants his opinion on television to brainwash people to think that what he is saying is true.
This demonstrates the way how Aldous Huxley and James McTeigue apprise their meaningful message about how the government brainwash people through media and technology. It is also important because they both satirize the way people let others control their thoughts and conform to the attitudes of society instead of thinking for themselves. In Brave New World and V for Vendetta, the government use technology to control and brainwash citizens as well as, using media to fear people. In the novel, the government control society by restricting freedom. The citizens of the World State are subjugated by their leaders and are deprived of all emotions except for happiness, the government uses Soma to control the emotions of the people to maintain and create stability in the society.
The narrator states “ There is always Soma, delicious Soma, half a gramme for a half-holiday, a gramme for a weekend, two gramme for a trip to the gorgeous east, three for a dark eternity on the moon” (Huxley, 47). Soma is used for making the citizens feel happy to circumvent on the reality that they live in an authoritarian society, people depend on Soma because they are addicted to it and they find it impossible to maintain social order and prevents them from feeling any negative emotions such as sadness and anxiety. This significantly portrays Aldous Huxley’s message because the government forces society to take a drug to suppress their feelings and also to depend on it with their whole life. In order words, Soma represents oppression of freedom of thought and artificial happiness because whenever they take the drug, they are hypnotized and they cannot freely make decisions or think for themselves.
Similarly, in V for Vendetta, government use persecution and fear to their advantage against society. Evie states “They got things under control. But then they started taking people away… all the black people and the Pakistanis. The homosexuals. I don’t know what they did with them” (McTeigue, 2005). The Norsefire government attacks all members of all other races by sending them to die in concentration camps and to extirpate their ethnic achievements. They discriminate and restrict their freedom by throwing people in prison because of their religion, skin colour, sexual orientation and solely going against government policies.
In Brave New World, Soma represents a restriction of freedom because it puts people in a hypnotic state to avert them from asking questions that defy the structures of the society. In V for Vendetta, the government infringe people’s freedom by creating a genocide against individuals who have different sexual orientation and skin colour. In further connection, World state relishes more control by restricting freedom to think and act to retain inflexible boundaries and in V for Vendetta, the government sets curfews, limits human liberties and the right to oppose through fear and torture. Above all, the government induces different tactics to control people to believe the society is a happy place even though there might be imperfections that the government thinks they need to annihilate for society to be perfect. The only way this is possible is when people conform to the ways of the government.
Next, the government use fear and terrorism to apprise people. In Brave New World, the government use fear to prosecute people who rebel against structures of society. The author states “And so, Mr. Marx, I give you your fair warning.” If I ever hear again of any lapse from a proper standard of infantile decorum, I shall ask for your transference to a sub-centre preferably to Iceland… That’ll teach him a lesson” (Huxley, 85). Bernard Marx is threatened by the Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning to be exiled from society because Bernard fails to conform to societal norms, he also experiences different emotions and decided to stop taking Soma to suppress those feelings which made him have alternative thoughts.
The World State suppresses emotions to inhibit threat and rebellion against the government’s order and because Bernard did not conform to this rule, the DHC called Bernard and enemy of The World State and decided to exile him to prevent him from corrupting the rest of the society. Likewise, in the movie, the government uses death and horrific events to terrorize people. In V for Vendetta, V explains that the reason why Mr. Detrich was executed was because authorities found that he had a Quran in his home. Mr. Detrich was also killed because he was homosexual even though it was closeted, also because Qurans and other religious books are censored by the government but he violated the laws of the authorities and he rebelled against the government he died.
This is significant because, in Brave New World and V for Vendetta, both use fear as agitprop to manipulate the thoughts and beliefs, for individuals for example, Bernard and Mr. Detrich were both punished for acting and expressing their individualism, they rebelled against the government and suffered the repercussions. Aldous Huxley and James McTeigue show the readers that superior people can be upstaged by those they feel are subordinate. They also emphasize how any action against an individual can be justified by believing it is good for society because the government feel threatened by people who want changes in society, the only option is to terrorize and destroy them.
In other words, government use media and horrific events to tyrannize people in fear and to make them not have the bravery to rebel. In the novel, the narrator states “The Nine Years’ War” began in A.F.141… The noise of fourteen thousand aeroplanes advancing in open order. But in the Kurfurstendamm and the Eighth Arrondissement, the explosion of the anthrax bombs is hardly louder than the popping of a paper bag”
After the cataclysm of the war, there was Global economy collapse which created an anomalous economic loss, the government tried to forcefully impose their new ethics in the society. Authorities forced citizens to meet definite commission of consumerism to restore the economy, people rebelled against the government and it led to violence and massacre. The war gave humanity the impulsion drastic change that discarded democracy, social conditioning, religion and liberalism.
In V for Vendetta, the fascistic British parliament inculcates fear into their people by displaying the utmost views of other governments around the world. The government runs a television network to show that Britain is ravaged by war and disease. For example, the epidemic outbreak, the government wanted to see if humans would react to the news so they force people into illegal testing centres.
In conclusion, fear is used to repress people and divest them of their individualism and desire. This is another scheme government use against the people to avoid rebellion and to also prove to them that they are just ordinary, powerless people who cannot elude an autocratic leadership.
The novel, Brave New World and the movie V for Vendetta both interpose on the issue of how the government uses technology and media as propaganda to sovereign and instill fear in the society. The comparison and contrasts are very significant because it delineates and reveals how the government take advantage of their power and use it to dominate people. Aldous Huxley and James McTeigue both distill important messages in the novel and in the movie.
In the Brave New World, the author’s message to the readers is about how society will be taken over by technology and science. In the future, society might turn out into the World State and would create a world where love, family and parents do not exist. The hidden message in V for Vendetta is the effect of societal roles in individuals. V gets the community involved and makes them believe that there is hope for a change in the government and a new beginning for everyone.
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