- Mass Market Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Harper & Row; 37th Printing edition (1969)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0060830956
- ISBN-13: 978-0060830953
- ASIN: B0016RNX8C
- Package Dimensions: 6.8 x 4 x 0.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 2,560 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,204,246 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Brave New World Mass Market Paperback – 1969
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While the situation may appear immoral from our perspective, we can clearly see that the people are satisfied with the way things are. In fact, efforts taken by John to disrupt society result in anger. The argument between the Mustapha Mond and John illustrates how the "old traditions of the past" interfere with the utopia of the present. Everything has turned out for the greater good of all.
This book was one of the most difficult books I have ever read. No, it was not difficult in the sense that the reading was hard - in fact, the writing style I very much enjoyed unlike 1984 by George Orwell. The reason why it was so hard for me to read was that I instantly saw parallels between the book and the present day. From the book's obsession with sexual activity and the "next big thing" to the escapist type of reality in which the character's occupied seemed disturbingly like culture today.
In the world that Huxley created, the men and women are merely shells of real humanity. They have all the physical appearances of real people - however, they go through life numb, unfeeling; drugged and pacified by their diversions and addictions to government supplied media and drugs. Hollow men who neither feel nor truly desire to feel anything deep - except for some strange cases. Those strange cases provide the very medium with which Huxley tells the story. For the first half of the story, the book is told from the perspective of Bernard Marx - a rather pathetic and sensitive man who was born - or should I say engineered? - into the highest class of society. Marx, however, immediately does not fit into society due to his abnormally small stature which is highly similar to members of lower class. Marx has a prolonged superiority complex that makes him a brooding bitter, and - to use a quote from Toy Story - "a sad, strange little man" that ostracizes him from the rest of society. The latter half of the story is told from the perspective of another man who is able to very well look at society from the outside in - I will not spoil who it is though I will say he is probably the most "human" of all the characters here.
Silence Is Violent ("Car Radio", Twenty-One Pilots)
In this world, one simply does not have time for silence. There is always things to do - from watching the latest feely (reminiscent of risque and nonsensical movies today) to engaging in games with one another, one can just not be solely alone in silence except for perhaps when they are asleep (though it is encouraged to leave one's radio or television on to enjoy one's rest more). As one of the leaders of this strange world put it,
[A]t sixty our powers and tastes are what they were at seventeen. Old men in the bad old days used to renounce, retire, take to religion, spend their time reading, thinking - thinking!... Now - such is progress - the old men work, the old men copulate, the old men have no time, no leisure from pleasure, not a moment to sit down and think - or if ever by some unlucky chance such a crevice of time should yawn in the solid substance of their distractions, there is always soma, delicious soma...
To have even a notion of wanting to be alone is seen as irregular and almost rebellious against the state - antithetical to the World State's Motto of "COMMUNITY. IDENTITY. STABILITY"
Everyone Belongs to Everyone Else
This is one of the most disturbing aspects of Huxley's society. Their view on sex is, as Bernard himself noticed, infantile and impulsive. When it comes to the State's citizen's sex lives, it is very base. Family has been dissolved thanks to the advancements of science - people are born out of test tubes and conditioned to never get too close to one another. Almost to maintain a certain distance from each other at all times. Now that fetal development in the lab has been perfected and the family has been dissolved, what can there be left to do with sex? Have fun of course. The book explains this rather uncomfortable subject a bit more in depth, but citizens in the world state are encouraged to sleep around all the time with different partners. Thanks to powerful contraceptives and the dissolution of family, one does not have to worry about any of the baggage that might come from having intercourse with multiple different people. This reminded me a lot of the hook-up culture that is prevalent in today's media and, frankly, all around us. People still have to deal with baggage, but that has not stopped them from trying to pursue this type of ideal.
As one gets to the climax of the story, there is a very interesting dialogue between one of the key characters and a leader of the State. Actually, I think the entire dialogue may be the biggest highlight from the book. To summarize without giving too much away, the character remarks at how devoid of meaning the lives of the World State's citizens are. By extension, the character goes onto say how this is not life and how he wishes for life with all its faults and glories. Without them, he contends, it is not really life that you are living but something base - sub-human almost. A point that certainly makes one think.
As I read this book, it affected me personally. I got mad and I got frustrated. I see that our society could end up this way. Though Orwell may have been right about some governmental ideas, Huxley is the winner in predicting how people may be made complacent to authorities. As I finished the book and ruminated on the ending, I thought for a long while on it. Then, my frustration went away and was replaced with hope. There is hope in this real world and there is meaning. As long as people long for that hope while it may be found and pursue meaning - a meaning that goes beyond themselves - then that will be our world - a brave one.
Ghigo1972. "Community, Identity, Stability." DeviantArt. N.p., 15 Feb. 2012. Web. 12 Jan. 2016.
Teecup. "Life Is a Tale Told By an Idiot by Teecup." Redbubble. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Jan. 2016.