The story of Brave New World by Aldous Huxley began in the year 2540 C.E which the book introduced as the year 632 A.F (After Ford) in London, England. The story mainly occurred in a utopian part of the city called “the World State”. Just like its name, the place is depicted as a very innovative world in which the state has controls on every process of the populations’ lives ensuring that each and every one of them always stays in a young joyful state with specific desires. The inner part of the city known as “Central London” is an area that contains diverse buildings ranging from skyscrapers to flats which are accounted for some activities like plays, works, and sports. As for the outer part, it is an entertainment place for lower castes of workers. Interestingly, even the countryside is being cultivated and used to its fullest.
Among all places in the city, “Central London and Conditioning Centre” is frequently appeared throughout the story as a workplace for many main characters. With thirty-four stories tall, the building views itself as thick and grey with lined windows. It is a factory with a tropical environment and multiples departments that contains varied improvement technologies which are used to predestined people’s roles in the World State. The very first department is a laboratory which focuses on the production of human beings. In this section, workers are presented themselves in all white surrounded by microscopes and other high-tech machines along with chemicals for fertilizing processes. The second department concentrates on “Infant Nurseries”. Looking into one of the rooms, books and flowers are scattering on the entire floor and babies are crawling around while being shocked by an electric mat. Besides those hubs, the story also took place in the garden as well where hundreds of naked children play around. Some are hiding behind bushes while others involved in sexual and erotic plays.
Apart from London, the story also took place in the Southwest of New Mexico, United States as well where “the Savage Reservation” is located. Unlike ‘the World State’, the reservation is a pure and preserved place which remain untouched by modern technologies and science of the New World. In this city, people are involved in a life cycle of birth, sickness, and death. People present themselves in different ways. Native people wear their own traditional customs while others appear in normal casual clothes.
The book illuminated diverse themes throughout the entire storyline including the use of technology to control society, the use of drugs, classes in the society, superstitions as well as the dangers of being in a controlled society. Starting off with technology, ‘the World State’ is depicted as a futuristic world where all types of modern technologies are located. From birth control, human production, and condition, technologies have been used throughout every process. For instance, people at Hatchery use electric shock to make babies dislike all the flowers and books. Moreover, they also use technologies in term of producing drugs and medical substances such as ‘Soma’, a type of drug that makes people high and happy. With the examples above, it clearly shows that technologies have played a really significant role in term of controlling people as well as processes in the society.
In addition to the use of technology, Brave New World also illustrates the common use of drugs as well. Throughout the story, most of the characters including Bernard, Lenina, and Linda, were very obsessed with soma. Whenever they felt down or frustrated, they always consumed some doses of soma in order to avoid the reality and make them feel better. This vividly explains the way people perceive and use drugs as the getaway tools.
Besides both themes above, how different classes play a role in a society also one of the themes that are demonstrated throughout the whole story. In ‘the World State’, people are divided into five different classes ranging from Alpha to Epsilon and each of them has a specific role. People who are born as Delta cannot spend their times reading books or getting any higher education like those in Alpha. This also illustrates a very important point in the actual world where the levels of wealth determine people’s position in the society. People have the perception that lower people should not cross a borderline towards the higher people.
In addition, the book also depicted the superstition side as well. Looking back to the story, Indian people were conducting a religious ceremony to save the town at ‘the Savage Reservation’. Moreover, John has whipped himself during his stay at the lighthouse as a way to reflect back his wrongdoing. Through these, it clearly explains that people were believed in superstitions like whipping oneself or drawing blood of a man on a cross until dead in order to wash away sins and make the village safe. In today’s world, people still continue to do those rites in some religious places.
The last theme mainly focuses the dangers of living in a controlled society. In ‘the World State’ where everything is being controlled by technology and some powerful officials, the population would not be able to have a full freedom or right in doing things. They have to accept their destined roles and obey all rules of State in order to survive happily. For instance, literature and writings were forbidden at that time. People like Mond who knew and read a lot of Shakespeare’s books was forced to hide the collections as well as some of his knowledge related to those or he would be exiled to another place. Plus, people must ask for permissions before traveling to outside sates or cities. Within those, it is easy to imagine and understand how fearful people were to live in such a controlled place.
The story of Brave New World also presented with a diversity of characters ranging from majors to minors. However, only the main and important nine characters will be discussed. Beginning with one of the protagonists in the story, John is the son of the Director, Thomas and Linda who was born and grew up at ‘the Savage Reservation’ in New Mexico. While growing up, he has been isolated by people around due to the shameful acts of his mother. As for education, he received some teachings from his mother as well as some philosophies of Shakespeare. John is an important person in the story because he has helped Bernard from being exile to Iceland, made the Director resigned, taught Lenina how a woman should behave as well as raised voices for some changes in the life at ‘the World State’. Without him, the sophistication and mysteries of the story would not occur and explain.
Apart from John, Bernard Marx is also considered as the protagonist of the story. He is one of the Alpha workers at the factory whose physical appearance seems to be a bit shorter than the standard due to some errors with the human production. With the unique appearance, he feels disconnected with others in the society. Moreover, the way that he believes in the sexual relationship, sports and others also seems to be different. Bernard played an essential role throughout the whole journey. He was the one who introduced John to ‘the World State’ and reunited him with his family.
Another important character is Lenina Crowne. Similar to Bernard, Lenina is also a worker at the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre as well. Yet, her job is to inject typhoid and sleeping sickness to destined offsprings. Throughout the story, she feels attached and develops desires for several characters such as Henry, John, and Bernard. With a unique and brave personality, Lenina outshines other female characters.
In addition to Lenina, another female character that stood out named Linda. She is one of the Beta castes and John’s mother who became pregnant because of some errors with her birth control. Feeling ashamed, Linda decided to start a new life at the Savage Reservation. After moving to ‘the World State’, she eventually died due to a high consumption of soma. The present of Linda was very crucial to the story. Without her, John would not be there so as the knowledge of reading and writing that taught by Linda.
Along with Linda, the Director of the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre, known as Thomas or John’s father, is also considered as a major character as well. He is the only person who can manage and take control of the centre and ‘the World State’ as a whole. Throughout the story, he has used his power of exiling people who disobey the rules or oppose him to outside places.
The next character is Mustapha Mond. He is one of the ten controllers based in Western Europe. Just like his name, Mond which means world, he has achieved and knew a lot of things ranging from science, literature, beliefs and real life-related. Mond was one of the most powerful people in the entire story as well as a person who truly understand what it was like to be different in the World State.
Another intelligent person of the novel named Helmholtz Watson. He is an Alpha caste who works as a lecturer at the College of Emotional Engineering. Just like his best mate, Bernard, Helmholtz appearance also failed to meet the standard. Though both of them are friends, Helmholtz has a very distinct personality and philosophy which are completely different from Bernard. Along with Helmholtz, Henry Foster, one of Lenina’s lovers, is also an Alpha worker at the factory as well. Unlike the two, Henry has a perfect physical appearance and intelligence.
Besides from those who live in ‘the World State’, Pope who was one of Linda’s lovers in ‘the Savage Reservation’, also played an essential role. Without Pope who gave Linda all the Shakespeare’s collections, John would not be able to develop the philosophy that he had and how the world works.
Going deeper into the storyline of Brave New World, the novel begins with one of the characters, the Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning Centre, providing a tour of his workplace to a group of students in order to show them how human beings are produced, predestined, and conditioned in ‘the World State’. The tour starts off by introducing students the change of human production from living to artificial offspring with the process of removing ovaries and raising them in distinctively designed tanks or glass bottles. He then told the boys that fetuses are assigned to specific caste ranging from Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Epsilon. Those who are in the bottom three classes have to go through a process called “Bokanovsky” in order to divide and weaken up. This duplicating process is used to make people satisfied with their destined roles while ensuring the stability of the society. After that, he guides the students to another process of speeding up the divination of a single egg called “Podsnap’s Technique”. Then, one of the Alpha employees named Henry Foster joins the tour due to the call of the Director. The tour goes on with both of them explaining the students about the practices of adapting offsprings into different environments, providing treatments as well as assigning them to different level of intelligence and sizes based on their castes. Later, they introduce the boys to Lenina whose job is to inject typhoid and sleeping sickness to destined fetuses. While greeting the students, Lenina suddenly reminds Henry about their afternoon date.
Since it’s nearly time for children to wake up from their naps, they skip touring some parts of the tour and move on to the Nurseries. They see delta babies being trained to dislike books and flowers by undergoing slight electric shocks whenever they receive and approach those objects from nurses. The director explained that the main reason of this process is to ensure that the lower castes will not spend times inefficiently reading books as well as to develop their interests in sports so that they can consume more goods and transportation while trying to enjoy sporting games. The director then conveys a story about a child named Reuben, who was able to recount an English speech within a night just by listening to a broadcast while sleeping as a discovery for hypnopedia or sleep teaching. He then explains that this development was very crucial at first and started to become useless later since it could only allow kids to remember and repeat yet they could not understand. Though it is not as effective, researchers still use this method for moral training. To make it easier to understand, the tour moves to a dormitory where lessons are being played while Beta children are sleeping in order to train them not to challenge Alpha castes.
After knowing how morals are taught, the Director then takes the group to the garden, where hundreds of children are playing and enjoying themselves in a naked state. Unlike before, children have to play games in sophisticated machines. While explaining, he suddenly heard a crying sound of a kid who seems to be uncomfortable with the erotic play. At that moment, a man known as one of the only ten World Controller of Western Europe, Mustapha Mond, comes to replace Henry and Lenina who need to go and prepare for the afternoon date. While Mond is warmly welcomed by students, he somehow feels nervous since he knew that the Director heard about him keeping books that are banned in the ‘World State’. The story starts to move back and forth between Mond, Henry and Lenina. To avoid awkwardness, Mond starts to explain the life of the World State along with the importance of the stability to the students. Then, he continues to introduce “Soma”, a type of drugs that allows people to remain youthful and enthusiastic throughout life. Moving to the changing room, Bernard is offended with the conversation of Henry and the Assistant Predestinator about Lenina. To enraging Bernard, they offer him some Soma making him curses. Shifting to another room, a conversation between Lenina and Fanny Crowne can be heard. While chatting, she tells Fanny that Bernard Marx has invited her to the ‘Savage Reservation’. Though she has been warned by her friend about the bad things of Bernard, Lenina still decides to go with him.
Being accepted by Lenina, Bernard feels overwhelmed and spreads the good news to people around as well as his best mate, Helmholtz Watson. Back to Henry, he and Lenina drink some coffee and head off to Westminster Abbey Cabaret after their date. Before going to Henry’s place, they both take some doses of soma until they become unconscious. As for Benard’s routine, he needs to participate in Solidarity Service every Thursday. Later, Bernard and Lenina go on a trip and eventually have sex together due to a larger consumption of soma in which makes Bernard regret afterward. The next day, he goes to ask for a permission to ‘the Savage Reservation’. While he is anxious about the approval, the Director unknowingly talks about his tragic trip there with his love twenty years ago. Suddenly, he feels that he has been revealing too much of his life so he says he will exile Bernard to Iceland as a threat. Then, Lenina and Bernard travel to ‘the Savage Reservation’. While trying to get Warden’s approval on the permit, Bernard suddenly remembers that he forgot to the scent tap so he phones Helmholtz. On phone, Helmholtz tells him that the Director’s threat is becoming real. To calm Bernard, Lenina offers him some soma.
While watching the ritual celebration, John’s present surprises Lenina with his Indian dress and fluent English. Wanting to sacrifice himself, John said that he could not because of his mother’s background. He then starts to explain that his mother, Linda actually came from another place and stayed here because of an accident. After hearing John’s father’s name, Bernard realizes that ‘Tomakin’ is actually Thomas who is the Director. John then takes two of them to visit Linda. She said that John was born due to some issues with her contraceptives. Feeling of ashamed to go back, she started a new life by sleeping with her lover, Pope and many other men in the Village although some are married in which makes John feels disconnected from others. Asides from sex and drink, Linda also taught John how to read and write. During his free time, John also read some Shakespeare’s books from Pope. With Bernard’s secret motive and John’s curiosity, the four of them decide to travel back to London together. Before heading back, Bernard needs to ask Mond for permissions. While waiting, Lenina takes a huge amount of soma to get herself of the disgusting sight of the Reservation. Feeling unease, John breaks into the cabin and attract to the beauty of Lenina who passed out on the bed.
Back to ‘the World State’, the Director is prepared for exile Bernard in front of the public workers by using stability as a reason. However, the present of Linda and John completely ruins his plan and makes him shameful of being a father instead. The story of John makes him popular in the society earning a new name ‘the Savage’ and Bernard seems to be quite famous as well. As for Linda, she always stays in bed taking soma. Although after watching a sexual movie together, John still refuses to have sex with Lenina which makes her angry and takes soma again. One day, Bernard arranges a party for important officials to meet John, but he refuses to come out making the guests mad. Then, Bernard takes John to visit Helmholtz. Surprisingly, both of them get close really fast leading Bernard to regret his decision.
Later, John proposes to Lenina when she visits his apartment. The idea of marriage frightens her yet she tries to have sex with him by using her naked body as a seduction. John hates it and chases her away. Suddenly, he receives a call about his sick mother and rushes to the hospital. Yet, the high doses of soma eventually killed Linda. With a broken heart, John shows his anger to people at the hospital while claiming that soma is a poison. Then, he is arrested along with Bernard and Helmholtz who was trying to stop John. Mond explains to John the important of soma in helping to stabilize the society and make every person happy living in the perfect technological world. John disagrees and wants to live freely while getting old.
Mond then exiles Helmholtz and Bernard who are different from others to Falkland Island thinking that it’s a great opportunity for them. On the other hand, John is sent to another island living in a lighthouse where he whips himself as tortures. After some words have spread, a group of people goes to visit John’s house and chant ‘Orgy Orgy’ while hitting one another. Waking up from bed and remembering all the immoral and bad things he has done, John decided to end his life by hanging himself inside the lighthouse.
After knowing and analyzing the Brave New World, I found myself interested in the storyline. Although there were some sexual scenes and conceptions, it provides me a very great insight of a brand new world where technologies could conquer and control every little bit of people’s lives and where drugs could provide happiness to people. Besides, the story showed the different classes in the society in which also applies in the actual world today yet in a different approach. The story also conveys the feeling of love from parents towards their children by showing how Linda looked after and taught John. The only thing that captured my attention the most was how the story illustrated in a very intriguing and unexpected way with many ups and downs especially through characters’ feelings. The book has left me a very strong impression; therefore, I would like to challenge myself and read other different books by Aldous Huxley as well. With all the things that I have learned through this book including the power of technology, complicated relationships, religious beliefs and how a society perceived and determined each person’s role, I highly encourage people especially my friends to take some times and read this book. I strongly believe that it would be such a great experience for them to gain some insights about the power of technology, drugs, relationships, and the hierarchy in the society. What really important is that they would be able to sense and experience how life in a controlled would be.
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