Sunday, February 7, 2010

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

When I think of dystopias, several books immediately come to mind, 1984, Brave New World, The Hunger Games, etc. It seems like everyone got to read Brave New World by Aldous Huxley for school except for me. To be honest, I sort of wish I had read it within the classroom setting, more on that later.

Brave New World opens in a laboratory setting, the scientists are making babies in a test tube, and people no longer care to make babies the natural way. Children don't grow up knowing who their parents are, kind of like in The Republic by Plato. The terms mother and father take on negative connotations in the society described. Parallel to the laboratory setting a woman named Leninia is getting ready for a hot date, and we learn people of BNW get it on with whoever they want, whenever they want without care of reputation.

Ultimately Brave New World is about control, reproductive control, and mood control. The people are controlled by these drugs which take away all negative feelings. There's stark contrasts between BNW and this fringe society in the book which lives on a reservation.

Now, Brave New World is supposed to be a satire, and I can certainly see elements of this, as the people don't pray to God, they pray to Ford. However, I think I may have got the book better if I had some sort of guidance, i.e. a teacher who is going to help me tease out the higher meaning of the book and some classmates to dissect it with. I know a lot of people hate those sort of experiences and have emotional scars from classroom reading, but I suppose I'm weird in that I enjoyed that sort of thing.

Overall, I do recommend Brave New World, just because it is a classic of the dystopian genre and well, if you read it in a group/book club, you'll probably get so much more out of it than I did. However, if there's a choice for you between reading BNW and 1984, I'm going to say choose 1984. Personally, of the two I thought 1984 to be easier  to connect with emotionally, and to understand.


  1. Nice review. I agree 1984 is a better read for an emotional connect. I read this book in one of my classes and it really bored me, so it definitely wasn't for me.

  2. I think if you're going to read or write Spunk, then this is a must read.

  3. 1984 was one of the first truly adult books I read when I was a pre-teen. I was really into politics (and into becoming indignant at corrupt political systems) so I loved it, even while it horrified me.

    I read BNW a few years later. The ideas a solid and have created a basis for many other dystopian works but the book itself just didn't do anything for me.
    The satire seemed to fall flat and end-up just making the book seem a bit childish and very dated.

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  5. I have been wanting to read this for a while now.

  6. PS Love the Orwell quote. I recently read and reviewed Animal Farm and LOVED his writing.