1 minute read

Brave New World

Men like Gods, Brave New World, Nineteen Eighty-Four

a novel by A. Huxley, published in 1932. An anti-utopian satire, originally conceived as a parody of H. G. Wells's Men like Gods (1927), it describes a scientifically determined future where history and the family have been abolished, and Henry Ford is the deity. Reproduction takes place in bottles by ‘Bokanovsky's Process’; humans are graded from Alphas to Epsilons, subjected to neo-Pavlovian conditioning, and take their places in a utilitarian World State manipulated by Controllers. The plot hinges on a discontented Alpha Plus, ‘Bernard Marx’, who journeys to a New Mexican reservation and brings back a Natural Man reared on ‘forbidden’ books. The Shakespeare-spouting ‘John Savage’ is at first intrigued, then increasingly disgusted by the New World's sterile hedonism—sex without consequences, the ubiquitous use of ‘soma’, an all-purpose pleasure drug—and lack of individual freedom; his debate with ‘Mustapha Mond’ is used to dramatize Huxley's own ethical scepticism about purely technological progress. Located in the ‘seventh century of Our Ford’, Brave New World deals with contemporary political and scientific ideas (reflected in characters' names like ‘Lenina’, ‘Benito Hoover’) and the then-competing world systems, communism and capitalism. The novel remains popular, partly due to its prophetic elements. Some aspects, such as state slogans ‘COMMUNITY, IDENTITY, STABILITY’ and mental conditioning, anticipated Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, but Huxley's focus was on ‘the advancement of science as it affects human individuals’, not the nature of totalitarianism. See Utopia and Anti-Utopia.

Additional topics

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Edward Bond (Thomas Edward Bond) Biography to Bridge