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'Brave New World' was published by Aldous Huxley in 1932. It is the story of a society thatbelieves that happiness can be found through drugs and promiscuity. This lesson will look at themain characters as well as the theme of government control. It will also explain dystopianfiction.Background and SummaryIf you've ever watched the news, you know that a lot of the world is in turmoil. Have you everwished people could just get along with each other? Have you ever thought that the governmentshould do something to help people be happier with each other? On the surface, this might seemlike a great idea but in his novel 'Brave New World' Aldous Huxley shows how dangerous it canbe to let the government regulate happiness.Aldous HuxleyThe novel is an example ofdystopian fiction, a story in which a society's attempt to create aperfect world goes wrong. The society in question is set in a futuristic version of London wherethe government has tried to create a completely stable civilization, one where the people arealways happy. Unfortunately, the government has done this by conditioning people to focussolely on physical pleasure.The novel opens inside the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre where babies aremass produced in test tubes then grown and conditioned according to their social class. One ofthe workers, Lenina Crowne, is criticized for exclusively dating one man. The society believesthat everyone belongs to everyone else so people are encouraged to have sex with many differentpeople. Soon, Lenina decides to go out with a different man, Bernard Marx. The two of themtake a trip to New Mexico to a Savage Reservation so they can see how people act when they'refree from the rules of civilized society.
Lenina reacts to the Savage Reservation the way you would probably react to a village ofcavemen. She thinks the people are dirty, she finds their religious rituals confusing, and she ishorrified by the signs of sickness and aging. It's everything she has been taught to hate. Evenmore shocking to both Bernard and Lenina is their interaction with Linda, a member ofcivilization who had been living on the reservation for years. She had gotten trapped there yearsearlier and was never able to get back to London. She is overweight, unkempt and desperate toget back to civilization.Bernard gets permission to bring Linda and her son, John, back to London. Unfortunately,neither Linda nor John are able to fully conform with society's ideals. Civilized babies are allcreated in a lab; the idea of actual parenthood is considered obscene. Therefore the people arehorrified at the thought that Linda has given birth like an animal. They staunchly avoid her. Forher own part, Linda is content to be avoided. All she wants to do is lie in bed and take drugs.