brave new world critical essay

Brave New World

Aldous huxley, ask litcharts ai: the answer to your questions.

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Brave New World: Introduction

Brave new world: plot summary, brave new world: detailed summary & analysis, brave new world: themes, brave new world: quotes, brave new world: characters, brave new world: symbols, brave new world: theme wheel, brief biography of aldous huxley.

Brave New World PDF

Historical Context of Brave New World

Other books related to brave new world.

  • Full Title: Brave New World
  • When Written: 1931
  • Where Written: France
  • When Published: 1932
  • Literary Period: Modernism
  • Genre: Dystopian fiction
  • Setting: London and New Mexico, under the fictional World State government
  • Climax: The debate between Mustapha Mond and John
  • Antagonist: The World State; Mustapha Mond
  • Point of View: Third Person

Extra Credit for Brave New World

Lukewarm Reception. Though Brave New World is now considered to be one of the most important works of dystopian fiction ever written, its reception in the 1930s was much more restrained, even negative. It was dismissed by some reviewers as an unsophisticated joke and as repugnant in its account of promiscuous sexuality. Granville Hicks, an American Communist, even attacked Huxley as privileged, saying his book showed that Huxley was out of touch with actual human misery.

The Doors of Rock and Roll. As one might expect, Huxley's book about his experiences with hallucinogenic drugs, The Doors of Perception , was a cult classic among certain groups. One of those groups was a rock and roll band in search of a name. After Jim Morrison and his friends read Huxley's book, they had one: The Doors.

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Brave New World

Introduction to brave new world.

Aldous Huxley ’s dystopic novel , Brave New World , was published in 1932. It became an instant hit for the way it presented the futuristic world as amazing and stunning at that time when WWII was still not on the horizon and the people were technologically not as advanced as presented in this novel. On account of the ingenious presentation of that social fabric, the novel was ranked as the best English novel of the century. Huxley wrote sequels in essay form Brave New World Revisited (1958), and with his final novel, Island (1962). The story revolves around the World State where people have been put into hierarchical order after they come out of hatcheries and are graded on the basis of their functions and performance duly monitoring and surveilled.

Summary of Brave New World

The story starts from the Hatching and Conditioning Centre, located in London where its director and assistants are lecturing the touring boys. They learn about processes Bokanovsky and Podsnap used for creating identical human beings through the embryonic processes in which different human beings are produced in factories into separate castes of Alpha and Beta at the top. The Alpha takes up the higher positions in the World States and other positions go to other castes in hierarchical order. The last race, the Epsilons, are occupying the final stage at the bottom of the hierarchy for doing labor. One of the employees also informs the boys about the vaccination procedure. From there, they visit the Nursery and see the programming of the infants through different techniques. Such as the use of ‘Soma’ drugs to escape unpleasant experiences.

When the students come into the open, they see games and sexual acts where a World Controller, Mustapha Mond, delivers a lecture to the touring students about history, the State’s narrative , and the nation’s ideology. Simultaneously, Lenina talks to Fanny about her intimacy with Henry Foster at which Fanny rebukes her for becoming too intimate and not being promiscuous. However, Lenina also informs her that she has already met Bernard Marx, a short and funny-looking guy for an Alpha caste and different than his peers.

Meanwhile, Bernard becomes furious about Lenina’s mention in the conversation of Henry and one of the assistants. Engaged in work, Lenina then informs Bernard that she would be gladdened to have the trip to the Savage Reservation. Meanwhile, Bernard meets his friend, Helmholtz Watson, for having disenchanted from the World Estate on account of their shortcomings. When Bernard applies for permission to visit the reservation, he has to go through the rigors of listening to the director’s tales before winning it. The director becomes nostalgic by mentioning his own trip to Reservation twenty years ago with a woman who was never to be recovered. He also learns about his exile and reviles at it but then moves to the reservation.

When he is on the reservation, he and Lenina are surprised to see its aging population contrary to the youth of the World State. They also watch religious rituals going on and they meet John, who narrates the story of Linda, his mother having met years back. Bernard senses Linda associated with his director in the past and learns about her ostracization from the village because of her willingness to sleep with various men and her book reading habit developed by Pope, her former lover. When Bernard agrees to take John to his world, he also asks him to take Linda with him.

Then Bernard promises him and asks Mustapha for permission to take Linda back. All of them fly back to London where the Director is waiting to confront Bernard, but he brings John and Linda instead and forces the Director to resign. So, John becomes a big hit in the society of London on account of his alienated look. However, he does not fit well in this world and with Lenina. Although Bernard becomes promiscuous, John hardly touches Lenina who becomes confused over his self-control and tries to seduce him on many occasions but fails. Despite Bernard’s insistence, John stays reclusive and refuses to meet important guests. Bernard, then, introduces him to Helmholtz and others and ridicules the reading of Romeo and Juliet by John for these ideas being foreign to the World State and its existing cultural milieu.

Lenina soon takes to John, visiting his apartment and taking soma. She confesses her feelings for him and he reciprocates. Hearing this she offers herself to him but ridiculed by the promiscuity of the World state he curses by using the lines from Shakespeare. However, John rebuffs her every effort. During this time, he comes to know about the death of Linda while Lenina was in the bathroom. He, later, says goodbye to her at the Hospital for the Dying. John is left to meet the clones having their soma ration. He tries to raise a rebellion among them but only causes riots which attract the attention of Helmholtz and Bernard.

However, the police arrive and arrest them all to bring them to Mustapha Mond. There they hold a debate on the policies, leading to John argue his cause and Mond responding to his arguments . While John argues in the favor of art and religion, Mond rejects his claims , adding these are useless things. Soon he exiles Helmholtz and throws Bernard out, threatening to reassign him to Iceland. Meanwhile, John says goodbye to them and stays far away in an abandoned lighthouse to purify himself by starving and flagellating. This catches the attention of a photographer leading many sight viewers to visit John. Meanwhile, Lenina arrives at which John calls her ‘strumpet’ and whipping her and himself. He cries out at her ‘Kill it, kill it’. The intensity of emotion leads the crowd to engage a party in which John participates. At the final realization, he commits suicide for submitting to the World State after that.

Major Themes in Brave New World

  • Commodification: The novel shows the commodification of life in that human beings are being hatched, brought up, taught, and eliminated as if they are commodities. When the touring students come to know about hatcheries, they also learn how they are run. Thomas is monitoring Hatcheries and Conditioning Centers where Marx and Foster have been born to lead others. Crowne and Linda, too, show commodified human beings. When John visits the World State, he comes to know the application of this commodification by the upper class to keep on ruling the lower class. The purpose of commodification has been shared by Bokanvosky’s process in which it has been ensured that the new generation conforms to the social structure they are going to live in.
  • Dystopian Society: The novel presents a dystopian society where human beings have lost not only their freedom but also their independence. Emotionless, they are being marked in the D.H.C. assembly line. Even if they have some common sense , they keep it to themselves such as Thomas and Marx. Human natural conditioning and mental preparation have also created a dystopia where human beings have become subservient to machines and mechanical behavior. That is why Lenina fails in hooking John who questions this very culture of the World State.
  • Utilitarianism: The novel shows utilitarianism through the efforts of Big Brother to establish the Hatcheries for human production as well as conditioning. The savage, John, who visits the World State, comes to know this mechanical routine and detests it. He thinks that Soma food does not fit human beings. Instead of appreciating, he rather berates it and debates it with Mustapha. However, John preaches that though this system utilizes human beings, it is not akin to nature such as taking soma to experience human emotions is unnatural. Lenina’s engagement in promiscuity and her suicide points to the absence of this natural element she could not brook.
  • Misuse of Science: brave new world shows the thematic strand of the misuse of science in that human engineering through hatching and conditioning has created desired characters. However, they do not conform to the new ethical framework of the World State. The director briefs the student about the paid voluntary work and conditioning of the Alpha males. The characters of Helmholtz and Bernard Marx have been conditioned, yet they are independent in their thinking most of the time. When Marx does not conform to the standards set by the World State, he is exiled. Similarly, hypnopedia for children and soma food point to this misuse of science.
  • Dehumanization: The novel presents the dehumanization of its characters through different strategies adopted by the political elite. Human engineering and scientific techniques have successfully changed the behavior of some characters, yet humanity emerges from Lenina who does not find peace or Helmholtz and Marx who do not conform to the existing rules. Although soma has done its job well, yet the use of Bokanvosky’s process has, to some extent, makes dehumanization possible.
  • Consumer Society: The theme of consumerism is significant in the novel in that human beings in the World State are primarily consumers who are fed with specific conditioning and specific food, soma, in order for them to conform to the social fabric created by the World State. That is why John does not become its consumer and shows other characters independence of thinking beyond marketing mechanism.
  • Human Emotions: The novel sheds light on human emotions that though they could be engineered, robbed, taken away, and even subverted, yet human beings have the capability to feel empathy, sympathy and realize the dearth of these emotions. That is why when Lenina does not feel soma resolving her problems, she commits suicide and Bernard Marx has shown his desire to control his emotions.
  • Genetic Engineering: The production line of the Hatchery and Conditioning center shows that the genetic engineering of humanity and its threat to the natural life cycle is not a figment of imagination. The creation of Alpha males or even the best human beings as argued by Mustapha does not seem a far-fetched idea. The subversion of the thoughts of Lenina and Bernard Marx and the surprising arguments of John show that humanity is facing this threat now .
  • New Totalitarianism: The theme of new totalitarianism is significant. It is seen through characters like Mustapha Mond or Bernard Marx, as they are being controlled by the center. The World State has produced a culture where individuals have lost their individuality. Thomas views this as an “inescapable social identity” of every individual that conforms to the social structure engineered by the World State.

Major Characters Brave New World

  • Bernard Marx: Bernard Marx is one of the protagonists along with John as they meet during the trip of the students to the hatchery. His special task is to teach sleep learning. Belonging to Alpha plus class has blessed him to think independently, a feature that makes him unfit for the World State society. It is, however, attributed to his stunted growth due to alcohol addiction. His mental independence has given him a feature that makes him empathetic toward others. Most of his character traits show that his condition is not executed properly and that his indifference lies in this. That is why he does not enjoy taking soma and feels a grudge against Lenina for enjoying her life. He leaves the World State by the end after his meeting with Helmholtz as he does not seem to fit into the society where his life constantly faces threats.
  • John the Savage: Despite his supposed savageness, John is an important character in the novel. He was brought up on the Savage Reservation where he has learned sympathy and empathy, his two manly traits. Despite his otherness in the World State, he seems supposedly unethical except when he comes to know about Malpais. He could not understand the promiscuity of his mother and the enjoyment of the Malpasian males. His poetic rendering stays with him despite his tour of the World State and giving priority to freedom and not reconciling with existing contradictions, he ends his life.
  • Helmholtz Watson: The character of Helmholtz Watson is equally important when starts to involve in the building of a new culture through engaging himself in emotional engineering. Befriending Bernard Marx has given him a point to vie for his attractiveness and intelligence despite his efforts to rationalize his dislike for him. Surprisingly, he loves poetry and lashes out at the wrong cultural engineering at the World State policy though he has been brought upon in a culture different from that of John the Savage. When he helps John to throw away soma by the end, he is exiled from the World State, considering his assistance an act of rebellion.
  • Lenina Crowne: A teenager of just 19, Lenina Crowne is a female character of the novel who is working in the hatchery as a technician. Despite her being a lucky figure in the World State, she is promiscuous and becomes easy-going with almost everyone. Being in a relationship with Henry Foster does not impact her. She often uses soma to support her emotional state and goes to the reservation to enjoy life with Marx. When John spurns her advances by the end, she disappears from the novel.
  • Mustapha Mond: As the controller in the country, Mond presides over the administration of one zone to consolidate the reins of the government. He controls the people about their do’s and don’ts in this connection and knows what to put on the pedestal of sacrifice for the greater good of the state. Although he is a physicist, he loves to please the public by proving that history is just a bunk and nothing else. He has evolved his own concepts about different social and individual values and finally lets John go to his mother by the end of the novel.
  • Henry Foster: As an Alpha male, Foster musters the courage to flirt with Lenina, though, he quits immediately sensing his own future going to dogs. His casual behavior angers Bernard who warns him after which he moves on with the conventions, not showing his waywardness.
  • Linda: Belonging to Beta-minus class, Linda is another significant female character who has a savage son, has brought upon on the reservations, yet she works in the Fertilizing Room. Having become a prostitute, Linda shows her other side that she cannot tolerate the type of life. Not able to bear it anymore, she takes too much soma to take her life.
  • Thomas: Working as a D. H. C., Thomas is well-known in his circle as Tomakin and only appears in the initial chapters of the story. He briefs the students about the working of the hatchery and its role in the World State. Having a pedantic persona , Tomakin keeps a close watch on rebellious people like Bernard to whom he dispatches to Iceland as punishment. He resigns after Bernard confronts him about John to whom he fathered on the Reservation.
  • Fanny Crowne: A friend of Lenina, Fanny presents herself as a typical lady in the World State. She is not her relative, yet she has a strong impact on Lenina in ruining her life by asking her to become promiscuous. Despite her own conditioning, she advises others to go wayward which is rather a surprising thing about her.
  • Benito Hoover: A minor character, Hoover loves Lenina despite belonging to the Alpha class in the state. His name signifies two great dictators of the WWII era.

Writing Style of Brave New World

The writing style of Brave New World is known for highly detailed and technologically loaded diction . The characters are conditioned to live in that technologically modified world where the use of emotions is considered an abomination. The overall ironic style is called a mocking style in which the most vital information is held to be disclosed quite late in the text. It happens not only in the case of Bernard but also in Lenina. However, in terms of language, Huxley is highly precise to the point of clinical accuracy. He knows how to use diction appropriately to convey suitable meanings. For figurative language and literary devices , the author mostly turned toward metaphors , similes, irony , and sarcasm .

Analysis of the Literary Devices in Brave New World

  • Action: The main action of the novel comprises the whole life and growth of the political landscape of the World State as shown through Mustapha Mond, John, Bernard, and Lenina. The falling action occurs John could not brook the situation, isolates himself, and engages in punishing himself. The rising action moment of the novel arrives when Marx and Lenina visit the Savage Reservation and meets John.
  • Anaphora : The novel shows examples of anaphora such as, i. We slacken off the circulation when they’re right way up, so that they’re half starved, and double the flow of surrogate when they’re upside down. They learn to associate topsy-turvydom with well-being; in fact, they’re only truly happy when they’re standing on their heads. (Chapter-One) The example shows the repetitious use of “they’re.”
  • Alliteration : brave new world shows the use of alliteration at several places as the examples given below, i. Government’s an affair of sitting, not hitting. You rule with the brains and the buttocks, never with the fists. For example, there was the conscription of consumption. (Chapter-3) ii. “As though I’d been saying something shocking,” thought Lenina. “He couldn’t look more upset if I’d made a dirty joke–asked him who his mother was, or something like that.” (Chapter-4) iii. But though the separating screen of the sky-signs had now to a great extent dissolved, the two young people still retained their happy ignorance of the night . (Chapter-5) Both of these examples from the novel show the use of consonant sounds such as the sound of /s/ occurring after an interval to make the prose melodious and rhythmic.
  • Allusion : The novel shows good use of different allusions as given in the below examples, i. “Well, Lenina,” said Mr. Foster, when at last she withdrew the syringe and straightened herself up. (Chapter-I) ii. “O wonder!” he was saying; and his eyes shone, his face was brightly flushed. “How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is!” (Chapter-8) iii. He hated Popé more and more. A man can smile and smile and be a villain. Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villain. What did the words exactly mean? (Chapter-8) iv. Did he dare? Dare to profane with his unworthiest hand that … No, he didn’t. The bird was too dangerous. His hand dropped back. How beautiful she was! How beautiful! (Chapter-9) The first example shows the reference to Lenin, the second to The Tempest by Shakespeare and the third to Hamlet , and the fourth to Romeo and Juliet both by Shakespeare.
  • Antagonist : Mustapha Mond is the antagonist of the novel as he appears to have tried his best to spread the domination of the World State by working as the Controller.
  • Conflict : The novel shows both external and internal conflicts. The external conflict is going on between John who has been bred up in the natural world and other characters who have been conditioned. There is also an internal conflict in the mind of Lenina who could not brook this controlling atmosphere .
  • Characters: The novel shows both static as well as dynamic characters. The young boy, John, is a dynamic character as he shows a considerable transformation in his behavior and conduct by the end of the novel. However, all other characters are static as they do not show or witness any transformation such as Mustapha Mond, Bernard Marx, and Helmholtz Watson as well as Fanny.
  • Climax : The climax in the novel occurs when Linda commits suicide and John vows to bring a revolution to change the system.
  • Foreshadowing : The novel shows many instances of foreshadows. For example, i. A SQUAT grey building of only thirty-four stories. Over the main entrance the words, CENTRAL LONDON HATCHERY AND CONDITIONING CENTRE, and, in a shield, the World State’s motto , COMMUNITY , IDENTITY, STABILITY. (Chapter-1) ii. INFANT NURSERIES. NEO-PAVLOVIAN CONDITIONING ROOMS, announced the notice board. (Chapter-II) The mention of state, slogans, and nurseries show that this is some modern state set in the future. Therefore, this is an apt use of foreshadows.
  • Hyperbole : The novel shows various examples of hyperboles such as, i. He was digging in his garden–digging, too, in his own mind, laboriously turning up the substance of his thought. Death–and he drove in his spade once, and again, and yet again. (Chapter-18) ii. The Savage nodded. “I ate civilization.” “What?” “It poisoned me; I was defiled. And then,” he added, in a lower tone , “I ate my own wickedness. (Chapter-18) Both examples exaggerate things as digging the mind and eating civilization are exaggerations .
  • Imagery : brave new world shows the use of imagery . A few examples are given below, i. Hot tunnels alternated with cool tunnels. Coolness was wedded to discomfort in the form of hard X-rays. By the time they were decanted the embryos had a horror of cold. They were predestined to emigrate to the tropics, to be miner and acetate silk spinners and steel workers. Later on their minds would be made to endorse the judgment of their bodies. (Chapter-1) ii. There was a loud noise, and he woke with a start. A man was saying something to Linda, and Linda was laughing. She had pulled the blanket up to her chin, but the man pulled it down again. His hair was like two black ropes, and round his arm was a lovely silver bracelet with blue stones in it. (Chapter-8) iii. A moment later he was inside the room. He opened the green suit-case; and all at once he was breathing Lenina’s perfume, filling his lungs with her essential being. His heart beat wildly; for a moment he was almost faint. (Chapter-9) The above examples show images of feeling, sight, color, and sound.
  • Metaphor : brave new world shows perfect use of various metaphors as given in the below examples, i. Two shrimp-brown children emerged from a neighbouring shrubbery, stared at them for a moment with large, astonished eyes, then returned to their amusements among the leaves. (Chapter-4) ii. Lenina did her best to stop the ears of her mind; but every now and then a phrase would insist on becoming audible. (Chapter-6) iii. The rock was like bleached bones in the moonlight. (Chapter-8) These examples show that several things have been compared directly in the novel as the first shows a comparison of children to fish, Lenina’s mind to a body, and rock to bones.
  • Mood : The novel shows various moods; it starts with quite a dry and rocking mood and turns to be highly exciting at times and tragic when it reaches Linda’s suicide.
  • Motif : Most important motifs of the novel, Brave New World, are sex, drugs, and consumerism.
  • Narrator : The novel is narrated from the third-person point of view , which is the author himself.
  • Personification : The novel shows examples of personifications such as, John began to understand. “Eternity was in our lips and eyes,” he murmured. (Chapter-11) ii. Pierced by every word that was spoken, the tight balloon of Bernard’s happy self-confidence was leaking from a thousand wounds. (Chapter-12) These examples show as if the eternity and balloon have feelings and lives of their own.
  • Protagonist : Bernard Marx is the protagonist of the novel. The novel starts with his entry into the world and moves forward as he grows and transforms.
  • Repetition : The novel shows the use of repetition as given in the below example, i. “ Silence , silence,” whispered a loud speaker as they stepped out at the fourteenth floor, and “Silence, silence,” the trumpet mouths indefatigably repeated at intervals down every corridor. The students and even the Director himself rose automatically to the tips of their toes. They were Alphas, of course, but even Alphas have been well conditioned. “Silence, silence.” All the air of the fourteenth floor was sibilant with the categorical imperative. (Chapter-2) This passage from the second chapter shows the repetition of “silence.”
  • Setting : The setting of the novel is the dystopian future country of the World State showing events of 632AF.
  • Simile : The novel shows good use of various similes as given in the below examples, i. The tropical sunshine lay like warm honey on the naked bodies of children tumbling promiscuously among the hibiscus blossom. (Chapter-4) ii. Like the vague torsos of fabulous athletes, huge fleshy clouds lolled on the blue air above their heads. (Chapter-4) iii. At Brentford the Television Corporation’s factory was like a small town. (Chapter-4) iv. Words can be like X-rays, if you use them properly–they’ll go through anything. (Chapter-4) These are similes as the use of the word “like” shows the comparison between different things. The first example shows sunshine compared to honey, the torsos of athletes to clouds, the factory to a town, and the words to X-rays.

Related posts:

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  • Brave New World Characters
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  • Aldous Huxley

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brave new world critical essay

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Essays on Brave New World

Brave new world essay topics and outline examples, essay title 1: dystopian themes in "brave new world": a critical analysis of social control, consumerism, and individuality.

Thesis Statement: This essay explores the dystopian themes in Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World," focusing on the concepts of social control, consumerism, and the suppression of individuality, and examines their relevance to contemporary society.

  • Introduction
  • Dystopian Elements: Defining Characteristics of "Brave New World"
  • Social Control: The Role of Soma, Conditioning, and Surveillance
  • Consumerism: The Pursuit of Pleasure and the Commodification of Life
  • Suppression of Individuality: The Conformity of Citizens in the World State
  • Relevance to Contemporary Society: Analyzing Parallels and Warnings
  • Conclusion: Reflecting on the Ongoing Significance of Huxley's Vision

Essay Title 2: The Role of Technology in "Brave New World": Examining the Impact of Genetic Engineering, Conditioning, and Entertainment

Thesis Statement: This essay investigates the pervasive role of technology in "Brave New World," specifically genetic engineering, conditioning, and entertainment, and analyzes how these elements shape the society portrayed in the novel.

  • Technological Advancements: Genetic Engineering and the Creation of Citizens
  • Behavioral Conditioning: Shaping Beliefs and Social Roles
  • Entertainment and Distraction: The Use of Soma, Feelies, and Escapism
  • Impact on Social Order: Maintaining Stability Through Technology
  • Critique of Technology: The Dangers and Ethical Questions Raised
  • Conclusion: Reflecting on the Relationship Between Technology and Society

Essay Title 3: Character Analysis in "Brave New World": Exploring the Development of John "the Savage" and Bernard Marx

Thesis Statement: This essay provides a comprehensive character analysis of John "the Savage" and Bernard Marx in "Brave New World," examining their backgrounds, motivations, and the roles they play in challenging the societal norms of the World State.

  • John "the Savage": Origins, Beliefs, and Struggle for Identity
  • Bernard Marx: The Outsider and His Quest for Authenticity
  • Comparative Analysis: Contrasting the Journeys of John and Bernard
  • Impact on the World State: How These Characters Challenge the System
  • Symbolism and Themes: Analyzing Their Roles in the Novel
  • Conclusion: Reflecting on the Complex Characters of "Brave New World"

Modern Conflict in Brave New World

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The Relation of Brave New World to Our Society Today

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Ascertaining Whether The Brave New World is Actually Brave

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1932, Aldous Huxley

Science Fiction, Dystopian Fiction

Bernard Marx, Mustapha Mond, Helmholtz Watson, Lenina Crowne, John the Savage

The novel is based on a futuristic society that is heavily controlled and manipulated by a powerful government. It is inspired by Huxley's observations of the rapid scientific and technological advancements during the early 20th century, along with his concerns about the direction in which society was heading. Huxley's vision in "Brave New World" presents a world where individuality and personal freedoms are sacrificed in favor of stability and societal control. The novel explores themes of dehumanization, social conditioning, and the dangers of unchecked scientific progress. It serves as a critique of the emerging consumer culture, where people are distracted and numbed by mindless entertainment and shallow pleasures.

In the futuristic society of "Brave New World," the world is governed by a totalitarian government that controls every aspect of people's lives. Humans are engineered in laboratories and categorized into different castes, each conditioned from birth to fulfill specific roles in society. Among them is Bernard Marx, an Alpha Plus with feelings of alienation and discontent. Bernard travels to a Savage Reservation with Lenina Crowne, his love interest, and encounters John, a young man born to a woman from the civilized world but raised by a native woman on the Reservation. John becomes a symbol of the old, natural ways of life that the World State has eradicated. Back in civilization, John's presence disrupts the rigid social order, leading to chaos and rebellion. However, the government suppresses the uprising and maintains its control. Ultimately, John becomes disillusioned with the superficiality and lack of humanity in the brave new world, leading to tragic consequences.

The setting of "Brave New World" is a dystopian future where the world is tightly controlled by a centralized government known as the World State. The story primarily takes place in London, which serves as the central hub of the World State's operations. London in this future society is a highly advanced city characterized by technological advancements, efficient transportation systems, and elaborate social conditioning. Beyond London, the novel also explores the Savage Reservations, which are isolated regions where people still live in a more primitive and natural state. These reservations are juxtaposed against the highly regulated and artificial world of the World State, highlighting the stark contrast between the two.

One of the central themes is the dehumanization of society in the pursuit of stability and control. The World State prioritizes uniformity and conformity, suppressing individuality and natural human emotions. This theme raises questions about the price of a utopian society and the loss of essential human qualities. Another theme is the manipulation of technology and science. In this dystopian world, advancements in genetic engineering and conditioning have been taken to extreme levels, resulting in the creation of predetermined social classes and the elimination of familial bonds. This theme highlights the potential dangers of unchecked scientific progress and the ethical implications of playing with human nature. Additionally, the novel explores the theme of the power of knowledge and the importance of intellectual freedom. The characters in "Brave New World" struggle with the limitations placed on their understanding of the world and the suppression of critical thinking. This theme emphasizes the importance of independent thought and the pursuit of knowledge in maintaining individuality and resisting oppressive systems.

One prominent device is symbolism, where objects or concepts represent deeper meanings. For example, the "Savage Reservation" symbolizes a world untouched by the World State's control, showcasing the contrasting values of individuality and natural human emotions. Another literary device employed is irony, which serves to highlight the disparity between appearances and reality. The World State's motto, "Community, Identity, Stability," is ironically juxtaposed with the lack of true community and individual identity. The citizens' pursuit of happiness and stability comes at the expense of their authentic emotions and experiences. A significant literary device used in the novel is foreshadowing, where hints or clues are given about future events. The repeated mention of the phrase "Everybody's happy now" foreshadows the disturbing truth beneath the facade of happiness and contentment. Additionally, the author employs satire to critique and ridicule societal norms and values. The exaggerated portrayal of consumerism, instant gratification, and the devaluation of art and literature satirizes the shallow and superficial aspects of the World State's culture.

One notable example is the television adaptation of the novel. In 2020, a television series titled "Brave New World" was released, bringing Huxley's dystopian world to life. The series delves into the themes of technology, social control, and individual freedom, exploring the consequences of a society built on conformity and pleasure. The novel has also inspired numerous references and allusions in music, literature, and film. For instance, the band Iron Maiden released a song called "Brave New World" in 2000, drawing inspiration from the novel's themes of societal manipulation and the loss of individuality. The song serves as a commentary on the dangers of an oppressive system. Furthermore, the concept of a technologically advanced but morally bankrupt society depicted in "Brave New World" has influenced science fiction works, such as "The Matrix" and "Blade Runner." These films explore themes of control, identity, and the implications of a society driven by technology, echoing the concerns raised in Huxley's novel.

"Brave New World" has had a significant influence on literature, philosophy, and popular culture since its publication. The novel's exploration of themes such as totalitarianism, technology, social conditioning, and individuality has resonated with readers across generations. One major area of influence is in dystopian literature. "Brave New World" established a blueprint for the genre, inspiring subsequent works such as George Orwell's "1984" and Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale." These novels, among many others, have drawn upon Huxley's critique of societal control and the dangers of sacrificing individual freedom for stability and pleasure. The novel's influence also extends to the fields of psychology and sociology. The concept of social conditioning, exemplified by the conditioning techniques in the novel, has contributed to discussions on the influence of environment and societal norms on individual behavior. Additionally, "Brave New World" has made a lasting impact on popular culture, with its themes and phrases becoming embedded in the collective consciousness. References to the novel can be found in music, films, and even political discourse, highlighting its enduring relevance.

Brave New World is an important novel to write an essay about due to its enduring relevance and thought-provoking themes. Aldous Huxley's dystopian vision offers a powerful critique of the dangers of unchecked scientific and technological progress, as well as the potential consequences of a society driven by pleasure, conformity, and the suppression of individuality. By exploring complex topics such as social conditioning, consumerism, and the loss of human connection, Brave New World prompts readers to reflect on their own society and its values. It raises critical questions about the nature of happiness, free will, and the balance between individual freedom and societal control. Furthermore, the novel's literary techniques, such as its vivid imagery, symbolism, and satire, provide ample material for analysis and interpretation. Students can delve into Huxley's use of irony, character development, and narrative structure to deepen their understanding of the novel and engage in critical analysis.

"Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly -- they'll go through anything. You read and you're pierced." "Happiness is never grand." "Civilization has absolutely no need of nobility or heroism. These things are symptoms of political inefficiency. In a properly organized society like ours, nobody has any opportunities for being noble or heroic." "You can't make flivvers without steel, and you can't make tragedies without social instability." "But I don't want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin."

1. Huxley, A. (2007). Brave New World (1932). Reading Fiction, Opening the Text, 119. ( 2. Woiak, J. (2007). Designing a brave new world: eugenics, politics, and fiction. The Public Historian, 29(3), 105-129. ( 3. Kass, L. R. (2000). Aldous Huxley Brave new world (1932). First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life, 51-51. ( 4. Meckier, J. (2002). Aldous Huxley's Americanization of the" Brave New World" Typescript. Twentieth Century Literature, 48(4), 427-460. ( 5. Feinberg, J. S., & Feinberg, P. D. (2010). Ethics for a Brave New World, (Updated and Expanded). Crossway. ( 6. Buchanan, B. (2002). Oedipus in Dystopia: Freud and Lawrence in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. Journal of Modern Literature, 25(3), 75-89. ( 7. McGiveron, R. O. (1998). Huxley's Brave New World. The Explicator, 57(1), 27-30. ( 8. Higdon, D. L. (2002). The Provocations of Lenina in Huxley's Brave New World. International Fiction Review, 29(1/2), 78-83. (

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brave new world critical essay

Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley Analytical Essay


In Huxley’s Brave New World, the government embodies oppression. The antonym, ‘democracy’, is entirely absent. From decanting to death, the government controls every breath and thought without asking the consent of the governed. Further, every resident has become a tool of mind control – tattling, or shunning anyone deviating from expected behavior. There is no need for violence: as the Controller puts it,

“Government’s an affair of sitting, not hitting. You rule with the brains and the buttocks, never with the fists.”

In such an environment, one’s personal integrity (which appears here as a set of entirely personal standards for moral behavior) is nearly impossible to maintain. However, some individuals do attempt it, perhaps without understanding why. Bernard Marx, Helmholz Watson, John, and even Lenina, all struggle to stay true to an individual code of behavior, never mind the government’s position. Despite universal nutrition, health, and erotic outlets, they variously, and truly, suffer.

They suffer acutely from a sense of disconnectedness, exclusion, and revulsion (Bernard), from creative frustration (Helmholz), from horror, outrage, and loss (John), and even from a painful sense that monogamy would be preferable (Lenina). It is entirely fair to describe their mental suffering as unspeakable, if only because they literally lack the vocabulary to articulate their pain. (The State has long since obliterated all such words.)

Their divergence from government expectation is emotionally distressing, and leads them into behaviors which appear peculiar, but which allow them to be temporarily free of their subjugation. Bernard Marx’s strategies for dealing with the conflict between his own notions of sexual morality and dislike for soma are effective but not uniformly attractive.

He begins by despising and scorning the behavior around him, but then he chooses not to leave the cushioned A.F. world. When this stance places him at risk of exile, he demonstrates a cool resourcefulness in exploiting John to blackmail his boss. His efforts end by causing his exile anyway, but as Mond points out, he has a better chance to exercise personal integrity in Iceland than anywhere in the Brave New World.

He retains his own opinions in spite of the disapproval and isolation this causes

Bernard feels pain from his perceived inadequacy and isolation from others, burdened as well with acute awareness and insight. In the first portion of the book, he makes his stand for the principles which he holds dear by means of his private, internal scorn for his co-residents’ behavior and treatment of each other. He is deeply ambivalent about this, since he does desire human connection, but he retains his own opinion stubbornly.

Take the example of the conversation on the day following his evening with Lenina. On that ‘date’, he approached as close to revealing his inner turmoil as anyone ever does in the Brave New World (to Lenina’s total mystification and irritation). The next day, he says to her,

“I didn’t want it to end with our going to bed”.

This encapsulates his powerful personal desire to have a relationship for which there exists no model in his society. His behavior does not necessarily follow his principles (he did, after all, engage in the expected erotic activity with Lenina), but he wishes it could have. As always, Bernard’s actions reveal a mixed and flawed character.

He chooses to stay on, despite his clear disapproval of the society around him

Before his trip to the wilds, he becomes aware of the imminent threat of exile. He does not perceive the advantages of this outcome, not having the benefit of the Controller’s perspective, noted above. He neither grovels, at this point, nor offers to leave for Iceland, and freedom from constant government oppression, right away. Instead, we read that,

“Bernard left the room with a swagger, exulting, as he banged the door behind him, in the thought that he stood alone, embattled against the order of things; elated by the intoxicating consciousness of his individual significance and importance. Even the thought of persecution left him undismayed, was rather tonic than depressing.

He felt strong enough to meet and overcome affliction, strong enough to face even Iceland. In addition, this confidence was the greater for his not for a moment really believing that he would be called upon to face anything at all. People simply were not transferred for things like that. Iceland was just a threat. A most stimulating and life-giving threat. Walking along the corridor, he actually whistled.”

Bernard is strengthened, by the threat of exile, in his sense of the rightness of his views and preferences. He neither gives up nor runs away. Of course, as the quote above indicates, he also does not believe that he is truly at risk. As noted before, he is a mixture of aspirations and fallibility.

He takes advantage of a serendipitous opportunity to sabotage his oppressor

The risk of exile takes on a very concrete reality, once he is on his trip, but he only finds out because he has contacted his friend to turn off his apartment scent tap. Learning of his imminent dismissal from the only world he knows seems equivalent to the current humiliation of being broken up with on Facebook or by text message.

Bernard is, as always, not eager to give up his material, comforts, nor his principles! He plots his effective revenge against the petty oppression and intrusiveness of his boss with a masterful bit of extortion.

He shamelessly uses the hapless John and Linda to humiliate the Director. He thereby creates a space (temporarily) in which he can remain both a social critic, and nonetheless enjoy as much pleasant social contact as he can absorb. We see that,

“Success went fizzily to Bernard’s head, and in the process completely reconciled him (as any good intoxicant should do) to a world which, up till then, he had found very unsatisfactory. In so far as it recognized him as important, the order of things was good. But, reconciled by his success, he yet refused to forego the privilege of criticizing this order. For the act of criticizing heightened his sense of importance, made him feel larger.

Moreover, he did genuinely believe that there were things to criticize. (At the same time, he genuinely liked being a success and having all the girls he wanted.) Before those who now, for the sake of the Savage, paid their court to him, Bernard would parade a carping unorthodoxy. He was politely listened to.”

Bernard, by his creative exploitation of the Savage’s discomfort, also postpones the inevitable punishment for his own different and unwittingly disruptive behavior. However, he shows his underlying weakness once the axe falls and Mond pronounces his sentence of exile: Bernard has to be carried off and sedated to stop his sniveling. Helmholz, by contrast, is far more dignified in his response.

Bernard is never an entirely admirable character, from start to finish. He even contemplates running away and abandoning the Savage when John tries to toss out the soma, for example. However, he does indeed have a sense of integrity, which he sticks with almost all the way to the end (he shamefully offers to sacrifice his views in his groveling final speech to Mond).

He is clearly in distress, because of the oppressive societal insistence on sameness. Furthermore, given the wiping out of literature, he has only limited vocabulary to express his therefore unspeakable pain. He has a code of behavior to which he aspires, including a courtly attitude towards females.

To hold on to his integrity, he tries to avoid soma, fumblingly attempts to establish an outmoded and prohibited relationship with Lenina, and retains a critical view of the world around him. He stays on in his world, refusing the implicit opportunity to leave and emigrate to a place where the government has only minimal control (the Falklands, Iceland, Samoa).

When presented with the ingredients of a tidy blackmail, he grabs it and temporarily gets the best of everything: girls, adulation, the freedom to criticize, and his daily three squares. His ultimate fate may also be his greatest vindication and the validation of his cherishing of his personal integrity in the face of oppression and unspeakable pain. After all, as the Controller says,

“…he’s being sent to a place where he’ll meet the most interesting set of men and women to be found anywhere in the world. All the people who, for one reason or another, have got too self-consciously individual to fit into community-life. All the people who aren’t satisfied with orthodoxy, who’ve got independent ideas of their own. Every one, in a word, who’s any one.”

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IvyPanda. (2020, July 1). Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley.

"Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley." IvyPanda , 1 July 2020,

IvyPanda . (2020) 'Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley'. 1 July.

IvyPanda . 2020. "Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley." July 1, 2020.

1. IvyPanda . "Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley." July 1, 2020.


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A Fresh Perspective on “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley

This essay about Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” provides an analysis of the dystopian themes and societal critiques presented in the novel. It discusses the futuristic setting where the World State controls every aspect of life, categorizing citizens into castes and eliminating individuality through conditioning and the drug soma. The narrative follows characters like Bernard Marx and John the Savage, who challenge the societal norms and expose the cost of maintaining such a controlled utopia. The essay explores the novel’s reflection on contemporary issues like technological control, loss of personal freedom, and the ethical dilemmas of progress, suggesting that Huxley’s work remains relevant today as it questions the balance between societal stability and personal freedom. Through “Brave New World,” the essay prompts readers to consider the moral implications of our own societal choices and the future we are navigating.

How it works

In his dystopian novel “Brave New World,” Aldous Huxley presents a terrifying picture of a society in which the government has painstakingly planned every aspect of society to guarantee stability and happiness for all. First published in 1932, the book continues to be a key work of dystopian literature, addressing issues of control, technology, and the willingness to give up personal freedom in the name of social harmony. As we delve deeper into Huxley’s universe, we find a civilization that at first glance could seem utopian—all disputes and discomforts are supposedly eliminated—but a closer look exposes a troubling price for this peaceful way of life.

The futuristic London of “Brave New World” is ruled by the World State, which assumes the appearance of kindness but really has an iron grip. From birth, the residents are socialized into classes that range from the highly intelligent Alphas to the lowly Epsilons who work as laborers. This indoctrination permeates every aspect of life, as individuality is reduced to a historical idea and free will is given up for the benefit of the group.

The government ensures compliance through the distribution of soma, a drug that eradicates pain and ensures compliance among the masses, promoting an ethos of “a gramme is better than a damn.” Huxley’s narrative begins to twist when Bernard Marx, an Alpha plus psychologist, feels out of sync with the society he’s supposed to lead. His restlessness leads him to question the foundations of the World State, a curiosity ignited further by his relationship with Lenina Crowne and his interactions with John, a “savage” from an unassimilated reservation in New Mexico.

John, who grew up outside the societal norms of the World State, serves as a poignant contrast to the controlled denizens of the utopia. His presence in London acts as a catalyst, challenging the core tenets of this society. His struggle with the World State’s ethos of consumption, sexual freedom, and emotional suppression brings the philosophical debates to the forefront of the narrative. The tragic arc of John’s character underscores the novel’s central thesis: the loss of human dignity and freedom in the face of technological and governmental control.

Through vivid characterization and a richly imagined world, Huxley critiques contemporary issues of his time, many of which resonate profoundly today. The novel contemplates the impact of advanced science and technology on human values and behaviors, highlighting the dangers of a society willing to sacrifice liberty for perceived security and comfort. It prompts a reflection on the meaning of happiness and the price of progress, questioning whether true contentment requires a balance between freedom and order.

As we reflect on Huxley’s work in the context of modern society, it’s apparent that many of the ethical and philosophical questions he raised remain pertinent. From genetic engineering to the role of government in personal lives, “Brave New World” offers a crucial lens through which to examine the moral implications of our choices. Huxley’s speculative world, with its technological wonders and social stratifications, serves not only as a warning but also as a mirror, reflecting our own struggles with technological advancement and ethical governance.

In summary, “Brave New World” is a pertinent remark on the modern world as well as a relic of dystopian literature. Readers are prompted to consider the future of our civilization by its examination of the human condition, societal expectations, and the frequently hazy boundary between utopia and dystopia. Huxley’s book serves as a timely warning of what happens to us when we let the monetization of human experience determine our future, even while we forge our own daring new paths. It is an engaging investigation on the extent and price that mankind should pay in its quest for the ideal society.

This classic story still functions as a critical analysis of our decisions and goals, demonstrating how a deeper comprehension of a work this complex may enhance not only our enjoyment of literature but also our grasp of society structures and the human mind.


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Brave New World Aldous Huxley

Brave New World essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.

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Brave New World Essays

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    The battle for individuality and freedom ends with defeat in Brave New World — a decision Huxley later came to regret. In Brave New World Revisited, a series of essays on topics suggested by the novel, Huxley emphasizes the necessity of resisting the power of tyranny by keeping one's mind active and free. The individual freedoms may be ...

  4. Brave New World Revisited: Further Thoughts on the Future

    In 1958, Aldous Huxley published a collection of essays on the same social, political, and economic themes he had explored earlier in his novel Brave New World.Although the form differs — the work is nonfiction instead of fiction — Huxley's characteristic intelligence and wit enlivens the essays of Brave New World Revisited just as it did in his novel.

  5. Brave New World Critical Overview

    Huxley used humor and satire to point out the excesses and shallowness of contemporary culture. Today, Brave New World is considered an archetypical dystopian novel portraying a seemingly utopian ...

  6. Brave New World

    Brave New World, novel by Aldous Huxley, published in 1932.The book presents a nightmarish vision of a future society. Plot summary. Brave New World is set in 2540 ce, which the novel identifies as the year AF 632.AF stands for "after Ford," as Henry Ford's assembly line is revered as god-like; this era began when Ford introduced his Model T.The novel examines a futuristic society ...

  7. Brave New World

    Alliteration: brave new world shows the use of alliteration at several places as the examples given below, i. Government's an affair of sitting, not hitting. You rule with the brains and the buttocks, never with the fists. For example, there was the conscription of consumption. (Chapter-3) ii.

  8. Brave New World

    Brave New World opens in London, nearly six hundred years in the future ("After Ford").Human life has been almost entirely industrialized — controlled by a few people at the top of a World State. The first scene, offering a tour of a lab where human beings are created and conditioned according to the society's strict caste system, establishes the antiseptic tone and the theme of dehumanized ...

  9. PDF Deconstructing Aldous Huxley's Brave New World's Ambiguous Portrayal of

    novel Brave New World. As a literary work, it is most commonly considered a dystopian visualisation of the future of modern civilisation. This essay reveals a more ambiguous reading of Brave New World by deconstructing and presenting the aspects of the novel which pertain to the classification of the novel as both dystopian and utopian ...

  10. Huxley's Brave New World: A+ Student Essay Examples

    Essay Title 1: Dystopian Themes in "Brave New World": A Critical Analysis of Social Control, Consumerism, and Individuality Thesis Statement: This essay explores the dystopian themes in Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World," focusing on the concepts of social control, consumerism, and the suppression of individuality, and examines their relevance ...

  11. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley

    Introduction. In Huxley's Brave New World, the government embodies oppression. The antonym, 'democracy', is entirely absent. From decanting to death, the government controls every breath and thought without asking the consent of the governed. Further, every resident has become a tool of mind control - tattling, or shunning anyone ...

  12. A Fresh Perspective on "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley

    Through "Brave New World," the essay prompts readers to consider the moral implications of our own societal choices and the future we are navigating. Category: Literature. Date added: ... This classic story still functions as a critical analysis of our decisions and goals, demonstrating how a deeper comprehension of a work this complex may ...

  13. Brave New World Essay Questions

    Essays for Brave New World. Brave New World essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Methods of Control in 1984 and Brave New World; Cloning in Brave New World; God's Role in a Misery-Free Society; Character Analysis: Brave New World

  14. Essay Questions

    5. Discuss Huxley's use of satire to make his point in the novel. Choose either the scene describing the Solidarity Service that Bernard attends or John's visit to the feelies as the focus for your argument. 6. Henry Ford, inventor of the assembly line that made possible mass production, looms large as a kind of god in the brave new world.

  15. Brave New World Essays

    Join Now to View Premium Content. GradeSaver provides access to 2360 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 11007 literature essays, 2767 sample college application essays, 926 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, "Members Only" section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

  16. Brave New World Critical Lens Essay

    Brave New World Critical Lens Essay. "I have freedom," you say? Do you really? Perhaps, in some ways, you do. But in the end, you're just another puppet being controlled by invisible strings whether you know it or not. "Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains," Jean-Jacques Rousseau once said. In society, man is "chained ...

  17. English

    The 20th Century, 1901-1940 by Robert F. Gorman (Editor); Salem Press Editors "Huxley's Brave New World Forecasts Technological Totalitarianism" Contains essays that examine significant events in the history of the early twentieth century from 1901 to 1940, covering world politics, society and culture, literary movements, art and music, immigration, and legislation; arranged chronologically ...

  18. Brave New World

    Brave New World. The story begins with the Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning giving a guided tour of his baby factory to a group of students. He explains how four levels of humans are ...