Brave New World by Aldous Huxley is a really unique and interesting novel. Right from the start, I felt that Huxley used satire as an effective literary tool. In the first chapter Huxley makes a very bold statement. As the world is getting excited about the march of science, Huxley shows that this could very likely lead to a dystopia. The march of science makes the world unnatural and controlling.
At the start of the novel, they show how each human is given their own social destiny. This reminded me of a package being assembled in a factory. The whole idea had a really chemical feel to it and gave a chilling opinion of what the future holds with science. Also, the five classes: alpha, beta, gamma, delta, and epsilon reminded me of devolution as the caste system is something that the world is trying to evolve from.
In the second chapter, I felt like Huxley continued to press the idea that science would take away the natural beauty of the earth. When Reuben and his parents are mentioned it is likened to pornography. The way in which the government conditioned perfectly capable citizens to act a certain way was also interesting. The lower classes were conditioned to be afraid of beautiful things, so they would do work and not think.
The fact that science could have such power in society so that people could be conditioned to hate beautiful things is frightening, and Huxley exposes this. This chapter also shows that science is manipulating human beings in more than one way. In the first chapter, Huxley showed how human beings had been conditioned through biological factors. Now Huxley was showing that we can also be conditioned through psychological factors as well.
The third chapter once again showed how science could potentially devolve a society. The scene at the start made me uncomfortable when it was said how child fornication is desired now. The introduction of the soma drug also shows how society is becoming less and less natural. The idea that one pill can completely control the circle of life and give a man that much power is concerning. Man has stumbled upon more power than they deserve in this story.
In chapter four more interesting ideas were thrown my way. The hypocrisy that exists with love in this society is somewhat amusing. Sex is seen as somewhat of a taboo thing, and yet it is encouraged at some ages. Also, the way in which Bernard lusts for Lenina is interesting. Despite the fact that society is attempting to condition away from these feelings, Bernard is still able to use human nature to find lust for Lenina.
Chapter five is also uncomfortable to the reader. The fact that at this meeting a massive sex orgy is performed is awkward. This act also makes Bernard feel really awkward and socially isolated at this point as well. Bernard establishes his character in this chapter. He shows that in many ways he represents the ideal person from Huxley’s era.
He is a moral, rational person put in a society where those values don’t really exist. Bernard is starting to show that he is sort of the last hope for the world, and I feel that will play out more in the later stages of the book.
In chapter six when they visit the savage reservation Huxley continues to establish important ideas. Bernard discusses with Lenina how he did not actually want to have intercourse with her earlier in the night. His reason for this is that it is not really adult-like. This shows that natural acts that cannot really be created by science are seen as immature.
Acts that date that far back in history are not possibly held to the same standards as something created scientifically. The fact that intercourse is seen as something childish shows that the government has really made a statement about the direction they would like to go in. If something is not manufactured scientifically then it is of lower quality. These ideas will continue through the coming chapters.