Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Very similar to 1984, in that it is supposed to be the future. Except, in 1984, everything is structured to the maximum, and in Brave New World, all the rules seem to be unspoken. In 1984, you have to use doublethink to train yourself to think right, and in Brave New World they use a sort of brainwashing through the teen years, at night when they sleep. In Brave New World people are created, not born. People are given a life purpose and job, they do not find it for themselves. And in Brave New World, relationships mean nothing.

And then a new character is introduced halfway through the book who doesn't really understand these things. They call him Savage, but his name is John. I liked John from the beginning because he is different from the others. He has conviction, and passion, and he is scorned and shunned by everyone.  By the Indians on the reservation, because he is different from them, and because they don't like his mother. By his mother, because she'd never again be accepted in the 'real world', outside the Indian Reservation where the two of them are stranded.By the people in the 'real world', because he thinks differently than them, because he was born and not created, because he does not approve of they way they live their lives. But mostly I like John because he constantly quoted and compared things to Shakespeare.

Huxley uses an interesting plot to explore the meaning of relationships (be they romantic, a friendship, or a family relationship). He expressed how relationships mean more when they are earned. He showed how empty they are when they have nothing deeper than impulses due to physical attraction. There is even a great and interesting dialogue about religion towards the end. Ah, the end. Huxley explores what happens when a person is thrown into a culture completely different from what they are used to, and different from what they believe it should be. Will John accept it and learn to live that way? Will he find an escape? Will he pretend to accept it, but internally fight back?


Jennifer Wilson said...

Told you it was a wonderful book. : )

Nicole said...

Actually, it was our discussion that sort of changed my view of the book, a little. I still didn't particularly /like/ it, but I understand it more, and I understand its message a bit. We should book-talk more often :)