Book review: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Benicio Carrasco

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The Brave New World is a book written in the late 1930s based on a utopian society in London in the year AF(After Ford) 632 where people are controlled and manipulated by positive reinforcement rather than negative reinforcement. Before I start the rest of the article the title itself is a form of sarcasm because of the living conditions of these people. However, in Brave New World, the world is addicted to pills called soma that seem to bring ecstasy to every person who takes them. In this world sexual desires are given without passion rather on a fictional ecstasy to the points where people have orgies with complete strangers while singing the words orgy porgy. However, due to the time the author was living in the ideology of Ford, this is shown throughout the book because during the time this book was written Ford was the original car company that engineered the car. So in the story Henry Ford is praised as a deity or as Jesus Christ because of him bringing the world into a new age. Also in this world, humans have been genetically altered to serve some form of purpose, either as the delta race working slaves or a the alpha race middle class society. However, due to the inclusion of sex and genetic engineered humans give a form of abnormality. In this world human made birth is no longer possible or allowed because of the genetic altering. In the book we follow a protagonist who feels that he is empty and refuses to take soma which lands him in a situation where he is seen as an outcast of society. In the book we also follow a woman who has a false affection to her boyfriend and is one of the main characters. She is addicted to soma and does not believe in passion. Rather, she is bored of having sex with different men and she simply wants to have sex with different people, just for the hell of it. In the book the main character takes his supposed girlfriend to a resort to show her how there is a life outside of soma but panics when she is given a forced withdrawal. She then begs for the drug at which point the main character gives in and keeps taking the pills with his disillusioned girlfriend to have sex. It is not until the halfway point in the book that we meet a character who is considered to be the savage or the one who functions out of society such as a native tribal leader. The savage is taken from his home to meet up with his real father who is ashamed to have been responsible for the birth of a savage and is seen as an outcast. However, the savage is showered with praise such as that of a celebrity and he begins to fall into the society. After almost being raped by a drugged up woman, he physically assaults her. He then  finds his mother in the hospital due to a drug overdose, which causes him to go on a rampage, assaulting people and destroying some of the soma drugs in the hospital. However, he is later sent off where he spends his days whipping himself and is constantly watched by an audience.  In the audience he begins to see the woman who has wronged him and he whips her and people think that it’s cool to whip people and have a massive orgy.   The savage is then pulled in and even feels guilty about it to the point where he hangs himself. I think this book was great because of how it depicted normal human values and feelings as taboo rather than normal and how society could be controlled under a positive reinforcement rather than negative like George Orwell’s 1984.

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Book review: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley