Satirical Representation Of Politics In "Brave New World" And "V For Vendetta"

Through the analysis of the political dystopias within Aldous Huxley’s 20th Century novel, ‘Brave New World’ and James McTeigue’s 21st Century film, ‘V for Vendetta’, readers are revealed to the ultimate powerlessness that ordinary civilians contain within a totalitarian government. Both texts reveal a satirical representation of politics to mock the context of their times, as well as showcase the corruption that could occur within a futuristic world. McTeigue’s political thriller can be analysed similarly to Huxley’s satirical novel, as they both showcase the concepts of a political dystopia created to remove the ‘flaws’ of the world, as well as the government control and manipulation of civilians through technology. These ideas allow readers to effectively re-evaluate their own political systems, as they are revealed to the consequences of ultimate totalitarian control, and how ordinary people are powerlessness in a political world.

Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ presents a tightly governed utopian society that suppresses the imperfections of mankind to create a ‘stable world’. However, Huxley’s presents the novel in a surreal manner to reveal the reality it being dystopian. In the first scene in the novel, the accumulation of dull colour and death imagery in “grey building” and “frozen, dead light” warns the readers to the dangers of a world where science has been revered, and is used as a political mean of control. These ideas are further exposed through the characterisation of ‘John’, a savage who was raised outside of ‘civilisation’.

John values, such as love and pain, are juxtaposed to the politically distorted values of Huxley’s ‘World State’, which has been stripped of autonomy, literature, history, emotions, and natural processes. As people remain content with their controlled society, captured in their repeated, “everybody’s happy nowadays”, John continues to emphasise its dystopian realities, using bug imagery to describe cloned and scientifically created humans as “curious animals” and “maggots”. John’s character thus reveals the corruption of the political regime, and emphasises how powerless each individual is within this new world that has scientifically manipulated people to become obedient robots.

Similarly, McTeigue’s ‘V for Vendetta’ also reveals a world that is entirely manipulated by a totalitarian government. This is revealed with the use of film techniques to contrast the dull and grey lighting in the corrupted city to the rebellious character ‘V’s’ gallery, which has warmer orange tones and rich saturation of natural light in Evy’s note flashback sequences from Valerie. This offers hope (promise about rewarding defiance). This juxtaposes the two settings, where the city stimulates a discouraging mood to warn of its corruption, in comparison to V’s gallery which provides a more comforting and safer feeling as it contains historical artefacts which that been concealed by the government. V’s character is further used within the film to reveal the realities of the civilian powerlessness, as he becomes a symbol of change with his masked identity, using it to make profound statements. V’s is thus juxtaposed to the civilians who sit silently, unable to bring about change, as he reveals the corruption of the government regime that has removed “war, terror, and disease” to acquire “order and peace”. This thus reveals a world that has forced civilisation to give their “silent, obedient consent” no matter the consequences. Ultimately, the disturbing ‘utopian’ societies are revealed with the use of rebellious protagonists within the two texts to highlight the dangers of a totalitarian state which manipulates people to become powerless, and become stripped of individuality or anything which makes them ‘human’.

Manipulation, control, censorship

The 20th Century ‘Brave New World’ makes a critical analysis of his society and where he believed it was headed, as Huxley presents an ironic demonstration of the control and manipulation that governments had over. Written in a satirical form, the novel ridicules the materialistic ideas and values of the real world. This is revealed through the characterisation of ‘Lenina Crowne’, a mindless conformist, emphasised by her name, which derives from the Russian communist ‘Lenin’. Lenina is a ‘perfect’ citizen within the World State, as she is biologically controlled by the hypnopaedia created by State Controllers to keep civilisation content and society ‘stable’. Her constant repetition of slogans such as “A gramme is better than a damn”, and “Everybody belongs to everybody”, whenever she finds herself in trouble or despair reveals how she only finds comfort in the trust of her political system, as emotions and anything else human has been stripped of her. These slogans are further juxtaposed to character John’s recitations of intellectual knowledge such as Shakespeare, which Lenina does not recognise, emphasising how manipulated she is due to the totalitarian control of a State which resolves around the motto “Community, Identity, Stabiltiy”. Huxley’s novel thus reveals the lack of power and control people have over their own mind, feelings and thoughts, when they are manipulated by totalitarian governments in order to ensure ‘stability’.

Similar ideas are presented in the 21st Century film, ‘V for Vendetta’, where a completely totalitarian government uses slogans to control and manipulate its people. McTeigue’s film presents a confronting world within London, where the government is similar to that of Nazi-Germany. This is showcased through the satirical and confronting characterisation of the man in power, chancellor ‘Adam Sutler’, who has a name derived from the German Nazi leader, ‘Adolf Hitler’. Sutler acts alike the historical figure, promoting enthusiastic slogans such as “strength through unity, unity through faith” to influence his people to believe in him and his powers. As well as this, he promotes nationalist values, with the constant repetition of “England prevails!” to ensure his people stay content and maintained. Whilst Sutler makes his speeches, sharp and eerie music plays in the background, to stimulate a distressing feeling within the audience and warn against the harsh realities of the political system which will strip them of their power. Hence, both ‘Brave New World’ and ‘V for Vendetta’ reveal incredibly controlling governments taking advantage of their people through propaganda, and materialistic manipulation for the aim of making the world a “stable”, yet powerless, society.

Aldous Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ and James McTeigue’s ‘V for Vendetta’ thus demonstrate a satirical presentation of a futuristic world by using corrupted ideals within history. Concepts such as a dystopia created by political induced science, as well as the totalitarian control and manipulation of powerless people, emphasise the dangers of a regime where a government modifies the functioning of human beings for a ‘stable world’. With the use of references and politics, both texts highlight the corrupted and powerless society that can be created when governments desire to change civilisation.

18 March 2020
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