Brave New World is a widely known dystopia which basically pioneered and established and canons of this genre. Students around the world study this novel, its themes and motifs, as it is truly a seminal work of the 20th century.
Aldous Huxley was trying to poke fun at utopias, writing parodies of Herbert Well’s Modern Utopia and Men like Gods. However, his creative genius changed the course of literature, producing a genre that accurately reflected the trials and tribulations of the modern world.
In this article I would like to give you some tips on how to write a successful book review of such a celebrated dystopia of Brave New World, and how the issues the author touched upon are still relevant today.
The Role of Technology
Aldous Huxley explored the role of technology in the transformation of humanity. The World State’s prosperity in Brave New World is predicated upon its technological advances. Even people can be grown in the lab, which excludes the necessity of birth, family and romance.
Despite all the ostensible material affluence, the inhabitants of the Brave New World do not have the same level of spiritual richness. They can have it all, but it does not bring happiness. Rampant consumerism and easy entertainment prevent people from truly comprehending their existence and deriving genuine feelings and emotions from everyday experiences. They simply dull their own senses and indulge in meaningless activities that help them forget.
At the time of writing Huxley was aware of the alienation problem which many workers underwent due to the invention of the assembly line. They could not touch or see the results of their labor. Therefore, their work turned into an automated activity, and they were merely machines to satisfy the needs of huge corporations.
All in all, technology is portrayed as a negative phenomenon which deprives people of depth and spirituality.
The Free Will
In Brave New World people are created to fulfill a specific societal function and occupy the allocated place in the World State. This rigid caste-like system is meant to ensure that everybody is useful and happy in their own shoes.
Because nobody has to struggle to make the right choice and can simply follow the ride of the pre-ordained existence, there is no fear or uncertainty. If somebody gets even a little anxious, they are prescribed a miraculous drug “soma” which solves all the problems.
The embryos have chemicals induced in them to stunt their development to a certain extent. Everybody has just the right brain to perform the work they are destined to perform. Kids are even trained to love and hate particular things like flowers or books which are related to their future occupation.
On the one hand, the absence of free precludes dissatisfaction with life and depression. On the other hand, a question of morality arises as such practices diminish the values of a human being to that of a machine that is intended to fulfill a designated function.
If you are a smart reader, you would be able to spot some allusions which permeate the novel. For instance, the title Brave New World is a reference to the Tempest by William Shakespeare.
Just like Caliban, Bernard Marx, the main character of Huxley’s novel, is an outsider. Another Caliban figure in the book is John – the savage from the reservation. He preserved his humanity, when others have long forgotten what it means – to be human. He is that noble savage Rousseau talked about in his Emile. John falls in love, has a family and fears death. He is a representation of a state of nature, whereas the World State is the epitome of human corruption.
I would advise to pay special attention to the names and their connotations. For instance, from Arabic Mustafa means “the chosen” and Mond means “the world” from French, which signifies the role of this person as a world controller. Lenina is reminiscent of Vladimir Lenin, one of the leaders of the Russian revolution, and this name clearly points at the brainwashed state of this young woman. The author encoded profound senses into Brave New World, and it is your job as a review to see below the tip of the iceberg.
Of course, Aldous Huxley does not encourage people to turn into Luddites and start smashing their devices for the sake of spirituality. He simply warns us about the danger of mindless consumerism and obsession with gadgets which proved to be a legitimate fear as the future rolled around.
The author does not imply that everyone should be free to do whatever they please. Freedom presupposes responsibility, respect and tolerance towards others. One needs not only to know their rights, but also their duties and obligations before humanity.
Most definitely Huxley does not stand up against sex. However, he draws reader’s attention to the decline of bonding and long-term relationships by depicting a grotesque society with unlimited sex and limited sympathy. Freudism was supposed to free people of sexual constraints, but instead, it led to promiscuity and devaluation of love and care.
All the themes the author references are universal and significant even in the contemporary world. Therefore, I would highly recommend this book to everyone who wants to comprehend today’s society by looking at it through an amplifying glass.