Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Far in the future, the World Controllers have finally created the ideal society. In laboratories worldwide, genetic science has brought the human race to perfection. From the Alpha-Plus mandarin class to the Epsilon-Minus Semi-Morons, designed to perform menial tasks, man is bred and educated to be blissfully content with his pre-destined role.

But, in the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre, Bernard Marx is unhappy. Harbouring an unnatural desire for solitude, feeling only distaste for the endless pleasures of compulsory promiscuity, Bernard has an ill-defined longing to break free. A visit to one of the few remaining Savage Reservations where the old, imperfect life still continues, may be the cure for his distress…GOODREADS

O brave new world !? No, no thank you. I'd much prefer this cruel and horrible reality than be cowardly. Brave New World and 1984 have always been two books on my TBR list that I've thrown in the same category; not even having read them yet. I expected to enjoy 1984 more than Brave New World, however Brave New World turned out to be easier and more engaging than 1984 ( which I have yet to finish).

The story starts out with an exposition of the laboratory where the mass human capital is produced and more information of how the future society works and is structured. I personally enjoyed these starting chapters, even if some of the science stuff escaped me, The process of producing human beings like that and conditioning them was very sociologically interesting to me. However , the scene where babies were being "conditioned" to hate reading and flowers was disturbing. The entire method used to condition people was disturbing. People are being conditioned to accept their place in society and like it and not want to rise above their stations. To do their jobs, enjoy and buy new things. Work and enjoyment ! Everybody belongs to everybody. Individuality isn't allowed neither is monogamy. 

Bernard Marx is our main character at some point this changes to the Savage. Bernard Marx was disappointing, I first thought it would be interesting. He would be a self-aware member of this superficial society, however that's not the case. Bernard Black is an Alpha, a status that grants him certain privileges but, he's defected. He's shorter than normal alphas and is bullied by other alphas and is not recognized as an alpha by people below him. This has caused him to question things and that makes him self-aware. Then again, if he wasn't defected and treated so unfairly, would he still have become self-aware? This makes him an interesting character. But Bernard after returning from the Savage Reservations becomes popular and receives a lot of attention from his peers. He becomes the alpha he was meant to be. This was disappointing in a way and answers my question, no,  he would not have become self-aware.

Bernard and Lenina go on a trip to the Savage Reservations. Life in the Reservations is suppose to depict the old and imperfect life. The uncivilized life , I felt uncomfortable about this, because it felt a lot like the stereotype people might have of natives and how they're "uncivilized"'.  Even Lenina's reaction to life in the reservation was strongly ethnocentric.This wasn't a shock though, I suppose it is to be expected. The conditions in the Reservation were horrible and don't adequately show what the other imperfect life was really like. I assumed the 'uncivilized'; the opposite would be houses with normal families and traditional cultures. NOT a place that resembles a prison for people who wouldn't conform. In this place Bernard finds the Savage, the child of Linda somebody from the civilized world who got stuck in the reservation. Bernard brings the savage back to the civilized world.

Enter the Savage: The Savage is my favorite character  and succeeds where Bernard failed. The Savage is a stronger character ( well excluding him being young and having a severe case of blue balls). Him being from the reservation means he was never conditioned in the way Bernard and Co were and was very critical of the Brave new world he was in. The Savage learned to read in the Reservation and he read a lot of Shakespeare . I liked this about the Savage because he used Shakespeare to convey his thoughts, however this had a downside, because when Lenina makes sexual advances to the Savage he reacts badly. He reacts like an idiot, but I suppose only reading Shakespearean plays isn't the right way to from a very strong opinion of women.

The last chapters and the ending were interesting and entertaining. If I were to use one word to describe how the book ends. Well, I'll just say it was a............. tragedy.  


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