brave new world essay pdf

Brave New World

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

Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Aldous Huxley's Brave New World . Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.

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

By aldous huxley, brave new world essay questions.

Discuss Huxley's vision of a utilitarian society.

Huxley's utilitarian society seeks the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest amount of people. Happiness is stability and emotional equilibrium in people's lives rather than things that we might associate with happiness, such as achievement, advancement, love, and beauty. Instead, the greatest happiness comes through scientific and social conditioning that makes each person content with who they are and what they do.

Why does Mustapha Mond insist that science must be constrained in the same way that art and religion are?

Society must restrict science because too much scientific progress can result in social instability. Science, for instance, can reduce the amount of labor necessary to keep lower castes busy and upper castes satisfied with their work. Thus, society must suppress the advent of certain ideas. Huxley comments on the scientific progress of the twentieth century, which caused a great amount of advancement but which also led to mechanisms of war.

What traits of humanity does John Savage represent in the novel?

John Savage represents humanity's base desire for beauty. His love of Shakespeare - the ultimate achievement in art and beauty, according to Huxley - represents his desire for aesthetic transcendence in the human soul. John shows the reader how beauty can come from tragedy and how turmoil and unhappiness are necessary conditions for great art.

Discuss Huxley's use of character development in the novel.

Like many novels that depict dystopian futures, Huxley's novel relies less on character development than it does on the personification of social and political thought in the names, attitudes, traits, and flaws of each character. For instance, Bernard Marx personifies the unrest and hubris of socialist thought. The reader should not understand each character for their personality so much as for the thoughts and ideas that they represent.

Is Huxley’s society able to suppress religious impulses completely?

The government cannot completely suppress religious impulses in society, but they were able to control such impulses. When Bernard participates in the Solidarity Service, the participants feel a kind of Fordian Holy Ghost in a ritualized ceremony that engenders belonging and solidarity amongst the citizens. Both John Savage and Mustapha Mond agree that humans have an innate impulse towards belief in a god, but Mond sees that impulse as useless and something that society must control in order to ensure stability.

In what ways does Huxley moralize sexuality in the novel?

Huxley uses irony to make a statement about the social use of sexuality in modern society. Monogamous sex, which was a chief moral value of Victorian society and the generations that followed, was ironically a mechanism that released great moral depravity in humanity. Sexual plurality, which Huxley’s readers would have considered a moral vice, is a chief component of social stability. Huxley's views on the subject are therefore mixed. He believes that the structures of monogamous sex incite lust and passion in those that cannot restrain themselves, but he also recognizes that a society of complete sexual freedom deprives people of the base desires that, in a way, make a person human.

Do you believe that Huxley's blindness influenced the way he viewed society? Why or why not?

Huxley's blindness, a condition he suffered from beginning in his childhood, did influence his views on science and art. Huxley claimed that his love of both science and literature helped him to realize the limitations of both. His blindness kept him from devoting his training to a kind of science that valued only the achievement of progress, an idea that he rejects in his novel. Progress can be as harmful to society as it is helpful. Because of his blindness, Huxley entered a career in journalism and literature that taught him to appreciate his own affliction. His pain and turmoil opened his mind to the beauty in art and the suffering that must accompany great achievement.

Why does John Savage kill himself at the end of the novel?

John takes his own life at the end of the novel because he has become a sacrifice for the continuation of society. John feels trapped between two ideals. On the one hand, he seeks to represent the base nature of humanity, a state of unhappiness and fear that nevertheless produces beauty. On the other hand, he desires to become a part of the ritualized mob of humanity, which he cannot do on the reservation. However, when he becomes a part of the ritual with the mob in the final chapter, he realizes that being such a sacrifice robs him of all individualism. Caught between these two extremes, he feels that he will never belong anywhere.

Do you believe that Mustapha Mond is the antagonist of the novel? Why or why not?

Mustapha Mond is not an antagonist in the traditional literary sense. He displays both good and bad characteristics. In one sense, his knowing desire for control and power over humanity makes him a sinister character, but in another sense, his motivation is to create the most happiness possible for people. He recognizes that humanity, when left to its own devices, is depraved. Therefore, his motivation is to benefit the whole society, even if that motivation leads to a world deficient of emotion and beauty.

In your opinion, is this brave new world a utopia or a dystopia?

Huxley's imagined world contains elements of both a utopia and a dystopia. As a utopia, the world has achieved a peace and harmony that was very much on the minds of Huxley's readers at the close of World War I and during the beginnings of fascist states in Italy and Germany. As a dystopia, however, Huxley shows how such a stable world deprives humanity of the beauty and love that creates identity, as shown in the characters of John Savage and Helmholtz Watson. In the end, Huxley's world is an achievement that requires too great a sacrifice.

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Brave New World Questions and Answers

The Question and Answer section for Brave New World is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.

The Marrow Thieves

Chapter please?

On page 29, what is the hypnopaedic proverb about "dating"?

My page numbers don't match yours but I recall it was something like "everyone belongs to everyone else."

what is a "soma holiday" ? why does lenina go on one?

A soma holiday is a drug induced form of relaxation.

Study Guide for Brave New World

Brave New World study guide contains a biography of Aldous Huxley, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.

  • About Brave New World
  • Brave New World Summary
  • Brave New World Video
  • Character List

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
  • Influences Behind Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451

Lesson Plan for Brave New World

  • About the Author
  • Study Objectives
  • Common Core Standards
  • Introduction to Brave New World
  • Relationship to Other Books
  • Bringing in Technology
  • Notes to the Teacher
  • Related Links
  • Brave New World Bibliography

Wikipedia Entries for Brave New World

  • Introduction

brave new world essay pdf

  • Brave New World

Aldous Huxley

  • Literature Notes
  • Society and the Individual in Brave New World
  • Book Summary
  • About Brave New World
  • Character List
  • Summary and Analysis
  • Character Analysis
  • Bernard Marx
  • John the Savage
  • Mustapha Mond
  • Helmholtz Watson
  • Character Map
  • Aldous Huxley Biography
  • Critical Essays
  • Brave New World Revisited: Further Thoughts on the Future
  • Full Glossary for Brave New World
  • Essay Questions
  • Practice Projects
  • Cite this Literature Note

Critical Essays Society and the Individual in Brave New World

"Every one belongs to every one else," whispers the voice in the dreams of the young in Huxley's future world — the hypnopaedic suggestion discouraging exclusivity in friendship and love. In a sense in this world, every one  is  every one else as well. All the fetal conditioning, hypnopaedic training, and the power of convention molds each individual into an interchangeable part in the society, valuable only for the purpose of making the whole run smoothly. In such a world, uniqueness is uselessness and uniformity is bliss, because social stability is everything.

In the first chapter, the D.H.C. proudly explains the biochemical technology that makes possible the production of virtually identical human beings and, in doing so, introduces Huxley's theme of individuality under assault. Bokanovsky's Process, which arrests normal human development while promoting the production of dozens of identical eggs, deliberately deprives human beings of their unique, individual natures and so makes overt processes for controlling them unnecessary.

The uniformity of the Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons is accomplished by careful poisoning with alcohol and produces — in Huxley's word — "sub-human" people, capable of work but not of independent thought. For these lower-caste men and women, individuality is literally impossible. As a result, built on a large foundation of identical, easily manipulated people, the society thrives. Stability lives, but individuality — the desire and/or ability to be different — is dead.

"When the individual feels, society reels," Lenina piously reminds Bernard, who strives without success for a genuine human emotion beyond his customary peevishness. This inability is a kind of tragic flaw in Bernard. Even love — acknowledging and cherishing another's unique identity — represents a threat to stability founded on uniformity. The dystopia's alternative — recreational sex — is deliberately designed to blur the distinctions among lovers and between emotions and urges, finding its social and ritual expression in "Orgy-Porgy."

This organized release of sexual urges undercuts passion, the intense feeling of one person for another, as the individuals subordinate even their own sexual pleasure to the supposed joy of their society's unity. At the Solidarity Service, Bernard finds the exercise degrading, just as anyone clinging to any idealism about sex would be revolted. John's sensitive feelings about love suffer even from the representation of such an orgy at the feelies. Significantly, it is the morning after his own experience of "orgy-porgy" that John commits suicide. His most private, cherished sense of love and of self, he feels, has been violated.

In Huxley's dystopia, the drug soma also serves to keep individuals from experiencing the stressful negative effects of conflicts that the society cannot prevent. Pain and stress — grief, humiliation, disappointment — representing uniquely individual reactions to conflict still occur sometimes in the brave new world. The people of the brave new world "solve" their conflict problems by swallowing a few tablets or taking an extended soma -holiday, which removes or sufficiently masks the negative feelings and emotions that other, more creative, problem-solving techniques might have and which cuts off the possibility of action that might have socially disruptive or revolutionary results.

The society, therefore, encourages everyone to take soma as a means of social control by eliminating the affects of conflict. John's plea to the Deltas to throw away their soma , then, constitutes a cry for rebellion that goes unheeded. Soma- tized people do not know their own degradation. They are not even fully conscious that they are individuals.

Both Bernard and John struggle against the society's constant efforts to undermine their individuality, but one character reveals a deeper understanding of the stakes than the other. Bernard rails loudly about the inhumanity of the system. His outrage stems from the injustices he suffers personally, but he apparently is unwilling or unable to fathom a debate or course of action against the malady because he is an Alpha Plus upon whom the process has been at least partially successful. Once Bernard receives the sexual and social attention he believes is his due, his complaints continue merely as a show of daring and bravado. He sees no reason and feels no moral or social compunction to fight for the rights of others oppressed by the social system.

John, on the other hand, truly challenges the brave new world with a view of freedom that includes everyone, even the Deltas who reject his call for rebellion. Although John, like Bernard, suffers from the oppression of the World State, John is able to frame his objections philosophically and debate the issue face to face with World Controller Mustapha Mond because, although John is genetically an Alpha Plus, he has not undergone the conditioning necessary to conform. His objection is not only his own lack of comfort, but the degradation of slavery imposed by the society. John's acceptance of a free human life with all its danger and pain represents an idealistic stand beyond Bernard's comprehension or courage. Flawed, misguided, John nevertheless dares to claim his right to be an individual.

By the end of the novel, all the efforts to free the individual from the grip of the World State have failed, destroyed by the power of convention induced by hypnopaedia and mob psychology. Only Helmholtz and Bernard, bound for banishment in the Falkland Islands, represent the possibility of a slight hope — a limited freedom within the confines of a restrictive society.

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 limited in the modern world, Huxley admits, but they must be exercised constantly or be lost.

Previous Aldous Huxley Biography

Next Brave New World Revisited: Further Thoughts on the Future

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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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Stability 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

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Aldous Huxley

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Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work.

The Use of Technology to Control Society

Brave New World warns of the dangers of giving the state control over new and powerful technologies. One illustration of this theme is the rigid control of reproduction through technological and medical intervention, including the surgical removal of ovaries, the Bokanovsky Process, and hypnopaedic conditioning. Another is the creation of complicated entertainment machines that generate both harmless leisure and the high levels of consumption and production that are the basis of the World State’s stability. Soma is a third example of the kind of medical, biological, and psychological technologies that Brave New World criticizes most sharply. It is important to recognize the distinction between science and technology. Whereas the State talks about progress and science, what it really means is the bettering of technology, not increased scientific exploration and experimentation. The state uses science as a means to build technology that can create a seamless, happy, superficial world through things such as the “feelies.” The state censors and limits science, however, since it sees the fundamental basis behind science, the search for truth, as threatening to the State’s control. The State’s focus on happiness and stability means that it uses the results of scientific research, inasmuch as they contribute to technologies of control, but does not support science itself.

Read more about the theme of controlling society in George Orwell’s 1984 .

The Consumer Society

It is important to understand that Brave New World is not simply a warning about what could happen to society if things go wrong, it is also a satire of the society in which Huxley existed, and which still exists today. While the attitudes and behaviors of World State citizens at first appear bizarre, cruel, or scandalous, many clues point to the conclusion that the World State is simply an extreme—but logically developed—version of our society’s economic values, in which individual happiness is defined as the ability to satisfy needs, and success as a society is equated with economic growth and prosperity.

The Incompatibility of Happiness and Truth

Brave New World is full of characters who do everything they can to avoid facing the truth about their own situations. The almost universal use of the drug soma is probably the most pervasive example of such willful self-delusion. Soma clouds the realities of the present and replaces them with happy hallucinations, and is thus a tool for promoting social stability. But even Shakespeare can be used to avoid facing the truth, as John demonstrates by his insistence on viewing Lenina through the lens of Shakespeare’s world, first as a Juliet  and later as an “ impudent strumpet .” According to Mustapha Mond, the World State prioritizes happiness at the expense of truth by design: he believes that people are better off with happiness than with truth.

What are these two abstract entities that Mond juxtaposes? It seems clear enough from Mond’s argument that happiness refers to the immediate gratification of every citizen’s desire for food, sex, drugs, nice clothes, and other consumer items. It is less clear what Mond means by truth, or specifically what truths he sees the World State society as covering up. From Mond’s discussion with John, it is possible to identify two main types of truth that the World State seeks to eliminate. First, as Mond’s own past indicates, the World State controls and muffles all efforts by citizens to gain any sort of scientific, or empirical truth. Second, the government attempts to destroy all kinds of “human” truths, such as love, friendship, and personal connection. These two types of truth are quite different from each other: objective truth involves coming to a definitive conclusion of fact, while a “human” truth can only be explored, not defined. Yet both kinds of truth are united in the passion that an individual might feel for them. As a young man, Mustapha Mond became enraptured with the delight of making discoveries, just as John loves the language and intensity of Shakespeare. The search for truth then, also seems to involve a great deal of individual effort, of striving and fighting against odds. The very will to search for truth is an individual desire that the communal society of Brave New World, based as it is on anonymity and lack of thought, cannot allow to exist. Truth and individuality thus become entwined in the novel’s thematic structure.

The Dangers of an All-Powerful State

Like George Orwell’s 1984 , this novel depicts a dystopia in which an all-powerful state controls the behaviors and actions of its people in order to preserve its own stability and power. But a major difference between the two is that, whereas in 1984 control is maintained by constant government surveillance, secret police, and torture, power in Brave New World is maintained through technological interventions that start before birth and last until death, and that actually change what people want. The government of 1984 maintains power through force and intimidation. The government of Brave New World retains control by making its citizens so happy and superficially fulfilled that they don’t care about their personal freedom. In Brave New World the consequences of state control are a loss of dignity, morals, values, and emotions—in short, a loss of humanity.


By imagining a world in which individuality is forbidden, Brave New World asks us to consider what individual identity is and why it is valuable. The World State sees individuality as incompatible with happiness and social stability because it interferes with the smooth functioning of the community. The Controllers do everything they can to prevent people developing individual identities. “Bokanovsky’s Process” means that most citizens of the World States are biological duplicates of one another. “Hypnopaedic” slogans and “Solidarity Services” encourage citizens to think of themselves as part of a whole rather than as separate individuals. The Controller explains that people are sent to the islands when they “have got too self-consciously individual to fit into community life.” For Bernard, Helmholtz, and John, rebelling against the World State involves becoming self-conscious individuals. Bernard wants to feel “as though I were more me. ” Helmholtz writes his first real poem about the experience of being alone, and when the Controller asks John what he knows about God, John thinks “about solitude.” In the end, John and Helmholtz choose to suffer in order to preserve their individuality. Bernard, however, never chooses individuality. He has been forced to be an individual due to his faulty conditioning. He tries to resist being sent to an island. For Bernard, individuality is a curse.

Happiness and Agency

Initially, the characters in Brave New World share the same ideas about what happiness is: freedom from emotional suffering, sickness, age, and political upheaval, together with easy access to everything they desire. However, the characters differ in their understanding of the role personal agency plays in happiness. Bernard believes he wants personal agency, in that he wants to feel “as though I were more me. ” Yet when the Controller offers Bernard the chance to live as an individual in Iceland, he begs to be allowed to stay in the World State—he’s not ready to sacrifice personal comfort for autonomy. Helmholtz seeks to express himself through poetry, but his idea that “a lot of wind and storms” are necessary for good poetry suggests that happiness and self-expression are incompatible, and he will only achieve personal agency through suffering. John seeks personal freedom through suffering and self-denial, but his self-imposed deprivations make him miserable. He gives in to the lure of pleasure by taking part in an orgy, then kills himself.

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