The Irony Of Optimism
A world that is entirely happy, where everyone is nice to each other, and everyone has exactly what they need sounds like a place that most people today would buy a one way ticket to instantly. Aldous Leonard Huxley gives us a view of what seems to be a perfect world; a utopia. In general, many utopian societies derive from some form of an advance in technology or science that is used to enhance living conditions. In many instances, there is no such thing as pain and suffering. The title, A Brave New World, suggests that this books is a utopian society. The title offers a sense of optimism. This is a phrase that is often used to express the idea that someone is starting a new chapter in their life. Being brave means that one has enough courage endure something unknown, possibly a world full of possibility. The time in which this book was written was between World War I and World War II. During this time technology was advancing. Huxley wrote this book in 1931 which was during the Great Depression (history. com Editors). Most people were at an all time low. They suffered from the stock market crash. Although A Brave New World seems to be a utopian society at first, it really is a dystopian society and will continue to stay as one because the citizens can not truly express themselves as individuals.
In this society, the citizens are predestined and conditioned. They are socialized from the start to not express themselves. The director tells the students on the tour that they “decant our babies as socialized human beings, as Alphas or Epsilons, as future sewage workers or future— future Directors of Hatcheries. ” During that pause, he was going to say “future World controllers. (Huxley 11). ” From this, it can be seen that the citizens aren’t being made to live as an individual. In reality, they are actually being made to serve their community. The fact that humans derive from a test tube and is then conditioned to be a certain way, to hold certain beliefs does not represent anything utopian. The citizens are “brainwashed” into believing that the value of society is greater than the value of an individual. If one already knows everything that they will need to know about their life, what would the purpose of living be? The unknown of life is what drives one to continue to live.
The citizens of each class resemble each other too much due to a lack of self expression. They are programmed to love their work and place in society. They hold a belief that the class that they are programed to be apart of is the perfect fit for them. This can be seen in the 1980 movie version of A Brave New World. In the beginning of the movie a Gamma tells the assistant director of the Hatchery and the Conditioning center that “the wonderful thing about being a Gamma is that we are not to stupid and were not to bright. To be a Gamma is to be just right. ” Out of the five social classes, the alphas are the best of the crop whereas the epsilons are the bottom of the social pole. The lower social class are grown in big groups. This being said, there are multiple identical humans created. The record of the most identical batches is one hundred and eighty-nine. That would be sixteen thousand and twelve identical humans (Huxley 8). Having exact versions of people is bland. There is no diversity and no individuality. There would no be competition as well. Everyone gets what they want. There is enough products to go around because everything that is made fits into the citizens interests. In addition, each member fo each class dressed alike. On page 21 Huxley wrote, “Alpha children wear grey… Gammas all wear green, and Delta children wear khaki. ” This further dehumanizes the citizens. Clothes show the individuality of a person. By wearing the same exact clothes shows that there is a lack of individuality.
Instead of expressing themselves, they use outlets such as drugs and sex. The outlets are why this dystopian society does not fail. Sex is a common activity among the citizens. It is more or less a game to them. Mustapha Mond says that “every one belongs to every one else (Huxley 29). ” This suggests that emotions play no part in sex. The citizens are conditioned to believe that romance and monogamy are horrible things. Sex is just something that they do. From a very early age, they knew what sex was. During conditioning, these humans have some called Elementary Sex (Huxley 20). When things get rough in this society, they take somas or drugs. One character in particular who took somas was Benito Hoover. “People said of him that he could have got through life without ever touching soma. The malice and bad tempers from which other people had to take holidays never afflicted him. . He put away the soma bottle, and taking out a packet of sex-hormone chewing-gum, stuffed a plug into his cheek… (Huxley 41)” Bernard is a character is is unique. He is not like anyone in his social class. He decides to take somas to try to fit in with the rest of society. As with Linda, returning to civilization allowed her to be reintroduced with somas. For Linda, “he holiday somas gave was perfect and, if the morning after was disagreeable, it was so, not intrinsically, but only by comparison with the joys of the holiday. The remedy was to make the holiday continuous. Greedily she clamoured for ever larger, ever more frequent doses (Huxley 103). ” Linda represents the worse behavior with somas. She was addicted to the point that they were all that she wanted. Taking drugs, or drinking so one does not have to feel pain or deal with reality is no way of life.
Without individuality, self expression, there is no society. Each unique individual makes up the society. They each have their own role.