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Brave New World: Utopia?

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Matthew Cayce

Instructor Susanna Holmes

Honors Composition II

26 April 2006

Brave New World: Utopia?

When one envisions a utopian society, religion, the prevailing presence of social class segregation, and abusive drug use are not typically part of such a surreal picture. These attributes of society, which are generally the leading causes of discontent among its members, are more so the flaws an idealist would stray from in concocting such hypothesis for a more "perfect" world; not so for Aldous Huxley. In his novel, Brave New World, these ideals are the fine points of which his utopian world are built upon. Religion is non-existent and present simultaneously in the form of preconditioning and technology, social classes are used for defining individual purpose and harmony among citizens, and drug use is the backbone for provoking happiness.

In Brave New World, religion is non-existent in terms of how it is in present times. Today, religion is more or less the belief of things in the supernatural realm that provoke moral codes of standards, or ethics, as applied to living life and social conduct among people. Basically, God is "dead" in this world, but a central "godhead" is always present. This is best understood by some explanations given by Mustapha Mond to the students visiting the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre. He says, (referring to the current time and era of this new world) "The introduction of Our Ford's first T-Model... Chosen as the opening date of the new era" (57). He also states that there used to be a thing called God and Christianity before this era, and since the beginning of this new era all crosses have been replaced by T's (58). This clearly shows the importance of Ford as godhead. Another instance of this is seen in how such cataclysms as, "Oh my God," that God is replaced by Ford, which is done throughout the novel. This religion based on the importance of Ford's ingenuity of production and the importance of technology and consumption of goods (37). From a young age, everyone is pre-conditioned to this general conception through hypnopaedic proverbs, such as, "Ending is better than mending. The more stitches, the less riches" (55). Other hypnopaedic proverbs such as this are found throughout the novel, and these most closely resemble Christian proverbs from the Bible in providing quick anecdotes that apply to certain life situations. It is known that in this society that all forms of literature that were present before this era, such as Shakespeare, poetry, and the Bible, were discarded because they provoked questioning and free thinking among the people, which directly interferes with the systems of this utopian world (41). Essentially, the controllers of this society did away with anything that would bring about religion or religious beliefs. Also, there is an instance in the book when Bernard Marx, one of the main characters, is involved with a group of people that are trying to unify themselves in spirit in order to bring about a revelation from the godhead Ford (84). This closely resembles worship of God, or religious practices of worshiping a God in spirit and unity with one another; therefore, religious exercises are, in a small sense, still present. Huxley's society completely wants to override the belief in a God and religion, so he accomplishes this only by replacing religion with a type of belief that defiles what religion truly encompasses.

In the society of the Brave New World, social class segregation is not eliminated, but strengthened. And instead of it provoking problems between members of each class, it brings about harmony and purpose, and each class is pre-conditioned to rely on each other for success in their various undertakings. There are Alphas, Betas, Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilon citizens in this society. The Alphas and Betas closely resemble the upper class citizens of today's world. They are the social elite, even down to their name classifications. They are more intelligent and are able to perform better duties than the other classes because of their superiority. Then there are the Gammas and Deltas. These two classes mostly resemble the middle class of society. They are more or less the backbone of society, performing duties that serve the Alphas and Betas, but also the ones that are too complicated for the simple minds of the Epsilons. The Epsilons are like the lower class of society. They perform duties of service and are almost treated as slaves since their lower intelligence (even referred to as morons) prevents them from having jobs that require higher mental focus such as the other two classes (64). The strangeness of this is that with these classifications, no one class of citizens think or believe that they are any better or any worse than the others. Each class whether Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, or Epsilon are each pre-conditioned to be content being which one they are and glad that they are not one of the others, and this is why they are in such harmony (77). When Lenina and Bernard on their helicopter ride together, Lenina thinks of the hypnopaedic proverbs she was conditioned to believe; "Every

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