The Brave New World Response Paper
After reading the novel Brave New World by Aldous Huxley I realized that this is no ordinary story. It predicts a future overpowered by technology and government and where the people have no true freedom of choice. This book made me think about whether the utopia depicted in the novel would be a perfect place to live or a terrible place to live. It is hard to distinguish where the line is drawn between making life simpler and losing the meaning of life. Although some may look upon this type of life with envy I personally would rather have to work hard and earn my living than to lose the chance to make my own destiny.
The first thing that made me dislike the idea of this utopia was the fact that the government overpowered the world and took over every single aspect of it, causing the loss of freedom. Never having to worry about a job or food or the basic needs of life is something most people would appreciate as is the case in this society but at the same time it is not worth losing all of your freedoms for.
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Freedom is more important to happiness than having wants and needs automatically satisfied. One freedom that is taken away in the story is religion. I feel that religion plays an important role in people’s lives.
It represents our principles and values. We choose to believe in what we want based on our own ideals not the ideals that someone else has imposed on us. Mustapha Mond when referring to the Holy Bible says that “they’re old; they’re about God hundreds of years ago. Not about God Now” (Huxley 237). Mustapha Mond is saying that with the evolution of time the need for religion has disappeared and has been replaced by the worship of one man who is Ford, the very person who is responsible for the construction of this controlling, freedom-less society.
In this civilization, the people are isolated from one another, divided into five different classes which in descending order according to rank in society include Alphas, Betas, Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons. In every society of our world there are classes of people of all sorts, we are all essentially genuine in our own ways but to have these classes so defined as in the brave new world is a crime. No one is given the chance to move up and make more of themselves. The members of each class are ranked according to their mental capacity and physical appearance which are also predetermined before their birth.
This seems that it would take away all individual motivation and dreams. If you think about it sometimes dreams are all we have. It is unfair that even before you are born your future is already written out for you. Another reason I do not see brave new world as a utopia is the conditioning of the people which has lead them to a lack of individuality and care for each other’s well-being. Due to their conditioning, they do not fear death but accept it as a way of life, they view life as expendable. This goes against the most basic of human instincts.
If the loss of a life means nothing, wouldn’t that convey the idea that the life itself meant nothing? The people in the book are also deprived of their history, culture, and background. According to my views, these things are an unquestionably important aspect of life and I would go so far as to say that I could not live without them. If the people of the brave new world were granted these things that signify individuality and freedom such as the ability to create their own culture, it leaves the possibility for revolution which is the very reason they are not given ability to obtain them.
The society also feels that parents, family, and friends are primitive but these are all essential to a happy society in my view. In our world, parents pass on to their children their own values and principles, what they may become as a result of their upbringing could be anything, it is not predetermined therefore they control their own destiny making them free. Emotional attachment to another person and monogamy is discouraged by the utopian society and considered improper, this is wrong to me, love and care for others is what makes our world so great.
This discouragement is described through this excerpt from the text, “Four months of Henry Foster, without having another man — why, he’d be furious! If he knew… ” (Huxley 40). Lenina, a character in the book, is being frowned upon for being with one man for an extended period of time. This idea that relationships and attachment are bad restrains people from getting too emotionally involved and putting their loved one’s needs before the society’s. In the utopian society, “you’re so conditioned that you cannot help doing what you ought to do” (Huxley 244). Thanks to their conditioning, nobody even considers fighting for themselves.
All of this is what makes our world what it is today, all of which are repressed in the brave new world. Another example that led me to feel the way I do about this novel is the character of Bernard Marx. Bernard is an alpha-plus and therefore should be living the “good life” but even though his mental status is that of an Alpha-plus, his physical appearance is similar to that of an Epsilon. He is described in this excerpt, “They say somebody made a mistake when he was still in the bottle—thought he was a Gamma and put alcohol into his blood-surrogate” (Huxley 46 ). He quickly becomes an outcast and does not get along with the opposite sex.
This shows that even in this society there are imperfections and racism, so even in the “perfect society”, the bad aspects of our world remain just in a more subtle, unrecognized manner. One can clearly see that even though this world in the novel may seem perfect to its inhabitants, it is absent of free will, self-choice, and free thought. Is that really perfect? It was best said by Mustapha Mond, “The key to happiness is enjoying who you are and what you do”. In a society where who you are and what you do is not defined by your own actions but forced upon you by someone else means that the true happiness of life does not exist.