Friday, May 7, 2010

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Every week by Saturday morning...
* Read 100 to 150 pages.

* Write 300+ words a week in response to your reading.
* Respond analytically and personally to what you have read.
* Discuss the significance of at least one passage/quotation.
* Discuss the relationship between what you are reading and something(s) else you have read this year.
* Respond to a comment made by a peer (after the first week).


Hayden said...

1st comment...that's new...
Brave New World is one of my favorite works of literature due to it's originality and look on the direction that life could very possibly end with. It's concept is very haunting when you read the first couple chapters while it explains it's "conditioning" and "Bokanovsky process" to be like such an assembly line.
My fascination with the book stems from it's character actions. The general public "worshiping" Henry Ford and Sigmund Freud, along with their disgust of natural birth and mothers. As I read the story the second time I realized that the book is also a look on transitions and alienation with an undertone of the feeling of immigration. Showing the character John being completely foreign to this world of Ford's and Freud's.
It also shows the lovely imperfection of our world currently by creating a model with castes and unopposed dictators who create happiness in the conditioning of each individual with a touch of soma added for effect.
Soma is also a key fact that coincidentally entrances me to the novel. The perfect drug being part of your payment for the work you do to help run the community. It brings you to a happy place where all your cares fade away and all inhibition is lost. The fact that a government controls everyone through addiction is perplexing and fascinating beyond belief to me. Showing how trust and reliance go hand in hand in both positive and negative ways.

Molly A said...

The first half of Brave New World provides the reader with a completely plausible, and incredibly eerie, alternate world. The sense of factuality and efficient outcome in the world’s methods to prevent war and disease contributes to its creepy tone. It has much to do with order, the reason for each order, and the classification of each order. Like any book, there is a character who deviates from the norm. In this case, that character is Bernard. Bernard is an alpha, which is typically the strongest, most powerful, hardworking class of humans. However, its is rumored in the novel that as a fetus, he was injected with alcohol (a process normally used on fetuses destined for one of the weaker classes) in an accidental misunderstanding of his place in the social order. He has always been viewed as odd and antisocial until he finally goes out with Lenina, who convinced him to try things that normal people do. Just as Bernard begins to understand his way of living, the Director banishes him to Iceland, on a “one too many mistakes” basis. Upon hearing this, Bernard stumbles upon an embarrassing bit of the Director’s past and decides to make a bold decision. Bernard returns from a trip to the Reservation with Lenina, only to announce to everyone around that the Director engaged in human sexual activity (something considered outrageously abnormal). He is so embarrassed that he exits the crowd immediately.
I also found it interesting how Hayden viewed Soma, the drug which assists Bernard in loosening up a bit, and conforming to the norms of his society. I thought of it as a pleasurable activity- one of the few allowed by the government. However, he is completely correct in stating that it is in fact another method of control. Even in their happiest elements, the people are mindless marionettes.

Hayden said...

This book truly shows the dystopia genre at it's greatest. I agree with Molly's accusations in a sense of the marionette type lifestyles the character's go through. I think though it may be an orderly world is obviously has sever flaws in the critical thinking aspect. As the drug soma is a catalyst for the controlling of an entire world it is both haunting and truly magnificent. In a sense this world runs perfectly with a few hitches here and there but all it took was a few pills and some hierarchy conditioning to show that a world could run very efficiently without rebellion. This book has to be one of my favorites of all time.