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Brave New World

1932 novel by Aldous Huxley

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A Brave New Social Division

  • Jul 6, 2010
Rating:
+5
Another excellent example of a negative utopia which generally is named in the same breath as Orwell's 1984...but there is very little in common beyond that.

The book opens by showcasing it's perfection of societal division, where social groupings and career roles are predetermined by a eugenics program implemented after years of research and development.  As well, within the opening introduction, we discover that the old social mores and customs have been eliminated in favour of insuring the happiness of the populace by providing rations of Soma and by encouraging the intimacy between couples (through providing a social stigma to long term relationships; the opposite of the very traditional religious views of the time the book was written).

The contrast of this new social hierarchy is provided by a trip to a Savage Reservation, where John was born out of the social paradigm of London.  Here, the strict social protocols are not adhered to and John is brought back to modern society where he is astonished to learn of the imposed and very different social roles.

The book, while well written, is mostly a projection of Huxley's view of how the future will evolve in a world (at his time) was beginning to learn of ways to effect individual evolution and how this evolution could be structured in an efficient way for the appeasement of the masses.  Through the end of the book, I discovered however that my perception on the adjustment of John to the New World to be disappointing and not very fluid in presentation as Huxley seems to reject his own presentation of a perfect world.  The perfect world seems to celebrate John's 'return' though I also find that with the existence of Savage Reservation's to conflict with this celebration of John and the interest in his incorporation as the social stigma seems to be rampant regarding the need to adhere to the new social protocols.

I also found that the end of the book to be very unsatisfactory in the event of John's ultimate rejection of the New World (Lenina's death, while archetypal in intent was wholly dissatisfying).

All in all, while the book seems to present some ideas very worthy of consideration in the context of our societal evolution, it is quite contradictory as far as the unfolding plotline and as such is a far inferior example of a "negative utopia" when compared with 1984.

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July 06, 2010
Fantastic review, Ryan. This is one of my favorites as well.
 
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More Brave New World (book) reviews
review by . July 04, 2010
   John and Mond debate the value of the World State’s policies, John arguing that they dehumanize the residents of the World State and Mond arguing that stability and happiness are more important than humanity. Mond explains that social stability has required the sacrifice of art, science, and religion. John protests that, without these things, human life is not worth living. Bernard reacts wildly when Mond says that he and Helmholtz will be exiled to distant islands, and he is …
Quick Tip by . January 12, 2011
Reread this when my kids had to read it in school and remember why I liked it so much.
review by . July 30, 2010
   One of the noticeable things about this novel at its conclusion is that you don't really find any fully likable characters. While most novels have a clear and defined party you should sympathize with and join for the journey throughout the work Brave New World does not. Lenina, John, and Bernerd all have appalling or ironic behavior that make them difficult to like. The other characters, while developed and rich are even worse. This isn't a bad thing but an interesting story …
Quick Tip by . November 06, 2010
This is far from my favorite dystopian novel but it does have a lot of great elements in it.
review by . June 14, 2010
To me, Brave New World and 1984 are two sides to the same dystopian coin, but it's 1984 that tends toward popularity and glory, while Brave New World is often only discovered by people who are already fans of the science fiction genre and looking to expand their classics reading.      I, too, am guilty of this and only discovered Brave New World a few years ago.  Now I say to myself "How can you call yourself a Science Fiction fan without having read this (and …
review by . July 01, 2010
Brave New World is often compared to the better known 1984 dystopian novels which describe a future run by an overbearing government. Brave New World was actually written first and in my opinion is the worse of the two but that does not mean it is a bad book by any means.      The story tells the tale of a future where human beings are no longer conceived but instead cloned and have been categorised into pre-determined roles due to controlled levels of intelligence - alphas, …
Quick Tip by . August 26, 2010
It is undeniably prophetic how closely Huxley comes to extrapolating trends that reach into today's post-modern world.
Quick Tip by . August 09, 2010
Plausible, creepily plausible. But I buy most of Huxley's philosophy wholesale.
Quick Tip by . August 08, 2010
Frightening, sickening, and yet ever-so-real. It's like our world right now! ACK!
Quick Tip by . July 15, 2010
I know it's a classic, but I really didn't love it. There are much better utopian-esque books out there.
About the reviewer
Ryan ()
Ranked #1056
I am an avid reader and enjoy being introduced to new material that I have not encountered. I am interested in all genres but find that I am most drawn to Science Fiction.
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About this book

Wiki

The novel anticipates developments in reproductive technology, biological engineering, and sleep-learning that combine to change society
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Details

Author: Aldous Huxley
Genre: Intelligent Science Fiction , Dystopian

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