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Brave New World Paperback – October 17, 2006
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"Community, Identity, Stability" is the motto of Aldous Huxley's utopian World State. Here everyone consumes daily grams of soma, to fight depression, babies are born in laboratories, and the most popular form of entertainment is a "Feelie," a movie that stimulates the senses of sight, hearing, and touch. Though there is no violence and everyone is provided for, Bernard Marx feels something is missing and senses his relationship with a young women has the potential to be much more than the confines of their existence allow. Huxley foreshadowed many of the practices and gadgets we take for granted today--let's hope the sterility and absence of individuality he predicted aren't yet to come. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Grade 8 Up-Brave New World by Aldous Huxley is a classic science fiction work that continues to be a significant warning to our society today. Tony Britton, the reader, does an excellent job of portraying clinical detachment as the true nature of the human incubators is revealed. The tone lightens during the vacation to the wilderness and the contrast is even more striking. Each character is given a separate personality by Britton's voices. As the story moves from clinical detachment to the human interest of Bernard, the nonconformist, and John, the "Savage," listeners are drawn more deeply into the plot. Finally, the reasoned tones of the Controller explain away all of John's arguments against the civilization, leading to John's death as he cannot reconcile his beliefs to theirs.The abridgement is very well done, and the overall message of the novel is clearly presented. The advanced vocabulary and complex themes lend themselves to class discussion and further research. There is sure to be demand for this classic in schools and public libraries.
Pat Griffith, Schlow Memorial Library, State College, PA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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In "Brave New World" we follow Bernard Marx, a civilian in London of the Alpha caste. He has been born through the same process and lived the same, carefully structured lives as of the rest of the people in his caste, but somehow he has come to realize that there is something wrong with their society. He longs and seeks to find true happiness, because he realizes that the feeling that everyone calls happiness is empty, shallow and deprived of something from deep within. One thing he wants that is unacceptable is a relationship with the woman that he likes, Lenina Crowe. When he tries approaching her with this mindset, though, he is thought of as peculiar by her, because all of the men she has ever been with have seen her as an object to make love to. Despite her loyalty to the way the government wants them to live, Bernard keeps trying to let her understand that a relationship is what people really need.
Bernard invites her to come to the New Mexico Savage Reservation with him on a vacation, as he has always wanted to go, and he had also wanted to see what Lenina would think of it. The Savage Reservation is a whole new culture for both of them- they cannot believe that there are still such `savage' things going on in the world that they live in. Watching some of the things that are going on in the Reservation, Bernard is mesmerized- but Lenina is disgusted. Then, they meet John- a Savage whose mother used to live in London. His father is of the Alpha caste and his mother is of the beta-caste. His mother lives in the Savage Reservation with him, and she is described as a `disgusting thing'- people from the city have never seen a person who looks aged, because there are so many treatments to keep them healthy and young looking. Lenina ends up wanting to be with John, and John ends up falling in love with her. It's a mutual affection, but they can't communicate it because John feels that he is not worthy of her, that he must punish himself for loving her. Whereas she, living in a society where casual sex is encouraged, does not understand his logic and gets frustrated when he starts talking about how he must prove himself to her. Lenina and Bernard's vacation is nearing the end when they get permission to bring him back to the city in an experiment to see how a Savage would react to all of the different things there. He becomes an object of amusement and causes a lot of trouble when he does his first stint in this "brave new world."
The subject matter was a little frightening at times. Though happily it didn't delve into moralizing so much as presenting two sides or options for modeling civilization. Niether is idealized, both with their own forms of ugliness. Instead it leads the reader into contemplation, which I prefer over insinuating an absolute.