08/04/2010

THROWBACK THURSDAY - BRAVE NEW WORLD by ALDOUS HUXLEY (1932)

This is an event hosted by Jenny at TakeMeAway . It is a weekly (though I've not been that regular lately) corner to write about good reads from the past. Those books we so much loved and we don't want to forget.

Aldous Huxley's BRAVE NEW WORLD is part of an unforgettable trilogy of masterpieces to me which are strictly connected each other. The other two novels are 1984 by George Orwell and Ray Bradbury's FAHRENHEIT 451. They are all science fiction dystopian novels, not my favourite genre,  but the three of them left an indelible mark inside me. There is science fiction and science fiction. These three novels are amazingly interesting and frighteningly premonitory.
They all imagine life in a dystopian society, under totalitarian regimes, in which human beings are dehumanized and totally deprived of their freedom.

In Brave New World , set in the future year A. F . 632 ( 632 years after the advent of the American magnate Henry Ford), the stability of the World State is maintained through a combination of biological engineering and exhaustive conditioning. The citizens have not been born but "hatched" to fill their predestined social roles. In infancy the virtues of passive obedience, material consumption and mindless promiscuity are inculcated upon them by means of hypnopedia or sleep - teaching. In later life the citizens of the World State are given free handouts of soma , the Government  - approved dope. The World State's motto is: "Community, Identity, Stability". The World State is divided into ten zones, each run by a Resident World Controller. "His fordshisp", Mustapha Mond, the controller of the Western European Zone centred in London, heads a hierarchical, factory-like concern with a mass of Epsilon- Minus Semi - Moron bred for menial labour at the base and with castes of increasing ability ranked above them. Immediately below Mond there are a caste of Alpha- Plus intellectuals. Bernard Marx and Helmhotz Watson are members of this elite, but both have developed subversive tendencies, taking delight in such deviant pleasures as being alone and abstaining from sex.

The only other human beings permitted to exist beyond the pale of the World State are the inhabitants of the various Savage Reservations. Segregated by electrified fences from the Fordian hell which surrounds them, the savages still get married, make love, give birth and die as of old. It is while visiting the Reservation in New Mexico that Bernard Marx meets a savage named John, whom he brings to London. John's disruptive presence in London will give the reader the possibility to share his perspective of that full totalitarian horror of AF. 632.

My favourite pages in this novel are in chapter 16. Mustapha Mond, the Controller of the Western European Zone, and John the Savage talk about books and the main values in the World State : Order and Stability. Bernard Marx and Helmhotz Watson are there too. According to Mond the freedom of knowledge is the first they have to deny their citizens. Freedom must be sacrificed to maintain order and stability...

READ CHAPTER 16 - CLICK HERE

6 comments:

JaneGS said...

Amazingly, I haven't one of the trilogy though all three of my kids read Fahrenheit 451 for school, and liked it! I tend to not like this kind of genre either, but I do like to read books that have impacted our society, so I think I will have to deal with this hole in my reading.

I love your Throwback Thursday posts, btw. Always so interesting, and usually nostalgic for me.

MARIA GRAZIA said...

@JaneGS
Thank you Jane! I'll take it as a huge compliment since it comes from a very intelligent, sensitive reader like you!

M. Gray said...

Good for you, reading a genre that is not your favorite. My latest manuscript is dystopian. These look good. I like how the second takes place in Europe. Mine is in the US and I think it would be great to write about another place.

MARIA GRAZIA said...

@M.Gray
I really enjoyed them. I even used them with my best classes -since they are rather complex texts. They are food for brain & soul. They are appalling and compelling and help you to understand the present world. Do you know why I love Fahrenheit and Brave New World so much? Because they deal with the theme of the importance and power of books. Those are my favourite pages. The freedom the read and to know must never be taken for granted. They are our strength, sometimes our only strength in order to defend our freedom.

Luciana said...

I really like "Brave New World", my favourite part is exactly the same as yours! I liked it so much when I read it! I couldn't believe it is your favourite also! I haven't read "1984" and I have only watched the "Farenheit 451" movie, but I liked it, although it was scary. I'm not a fan of this kind of literature too, but sometimes it's not the genre what's important, what matters is the story after all...

MARIA GRAZIA said...

@Luciana
Great! Another thing to share!
I actually didn't like the movie based onF451, while I love the book. These books are not my favourite genre but they are so full deep meaningful pages. One has so much to learn from them...