Essay, Research Paper
Prepare for A Brave New World in 1984 Throughout history the idea of a government having total control over a society has been present. In the novels Brave New World, and Nineteen Eighty-Four the governments have total and absolute power over their people. Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-Four , show that regardless of much control a Government has, there will be resistance to it’s power. The futuristic settings in both of these novels are set up differently. There are specific purposes for the settings and the manner they are presented in. Nineteen Eighty-Four is a study of political control, and is against totalitarianism for democratic socialism (Calder 4). Brave New World examines the use of technology as the tool of control. There are many similarities between the book. There are similar methods used in both books to keep people under control and obedient. Each book has similarities, and different reasons for having complete control. Yet complete control is impossible, each book features a central character who defies and challenges the order.In Nineteen Eighty-Four, Orwell envisions a time in the near future, when the world has been divided into three super-states, each of which is ruled by a system of oligarchical collectivism that has brutally eliminated privacy, intellectual freedom, friendship, and the autonomy of the individual. Each Super-State has systematically deprived its inhabitants of a verifiable history and of the resource of a cultural consciousness (Zehr 1). In Brave New World the hedonistic principle is pushed to its utmost, the whole world has turned into a Rivera Hotel(Woodcock 3). It is portrayed selectively, non-representational, with emphasis concentrated on aspects of society (Clareson 3) In Huxley’s book the problem of ‘human nature’ is in a sense solved, because it assumes that by pre-natal treatment, drugs and hypnotic suggestion, the human organism can be specialized in any way that is desired. The settings in both novels are used to make it more believable that the governments in these novels could obtain and maintain power for such a long period of time. This is one of the big differences in both novels. In Brave New World we are presented with a very state-of-the-art and high-tech environment that has a very sterile setting. In Nineteen Eighty-Four, we are presented with a decrepit atmosphere, while the work atmosphere is also sterile, and the home-life is filthy and decaying. In Brave New World we are first introduced to the novel by a tour of the reproduction plant. During this phase in the novel it is made clear that the setting in the novel is far in the future, where even the way people parent has gone under revolution. To aid our “willing suspension of disbelief”, there are a multitude of details common to our everyday knowledge, put in new context and new combination so that they remain familiar, and are also strangely new (Clareson 2). The new way of breeding allows the reader to feel the sterility of the future, and prepares the reader for the full-blown environment of Brave New World to follow. We are introduced to Nineteen-Eighty-Four through a description of a town that looks war torn, with a very dark and dreary setting. To intensify this feeling, pictures and posters appear on every corner, reminding citizens of Oceania that “Big Brother” is always watching them (Orwell 9). We see 1984 as a cold dark world. This is the world they live in.”Down in the streets little eddies of wind were whirling dust and torn paper into spirals, and though the sun was shining and the sun a harsh blue, there seemed to be no colour in anything, except the posters that were plastered everywhere” (Orwell 4). People in this time live in horrible living conditions where there is; “Never quiet enough to eat, one never had socks or underclothes that were not full of holes, furniture had always been bad and rickety, rooms underheated, tube trains crowded, houses falling to pieces, bread dark-coloured…nothing cheap and plentiful” (Orwell 62). Contributing to the darkness of the setting a person cannot trust anybody in fear that they will be reported to the Thought Police, and require to be vaporized. This held true in all families as well, for a child to speak of their parent’s deviations was encouraged and rewarded by the government. (Orwell 62)The setting both novels present makes the reader believe that the future being described could actual take place because both settings are used to further the weakness of society, and strengthen the power of the government. There is an understanding of how in Nineteen Eighty-Four, the people have no hope with the dark, depressing setting, which would make the living conditions seem worse and more hopeless, making the governments strength necessary and even more powerful. The setting in Brave New World, makes it believable that a person would not wonder what else there had been, and would only be concerned with the present. The sterility of the setting gives the feeling of little or no emotion, which increases the lack of thoughts and feelings amongst the people of this time. The setting in both the novels play a large role in both novels. The darkness of Nineteen Eighty-Four, makes it believable that society is too numb from work and lack of love to fight back. While the sterility of Brave New World makes it believable that no one would concern themselves with what they are missing, and the setting helps take away any emotions of society.In all societies there are different ways the government confines the people and preserves a law abiding populace. In Brave New World, and Nineteen Eighty-Four the methods used to keep people under control are different than the methods we see democratic governments using. The ways repression are maintained in both Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World are mostly visions of how further technological advancement will lead to further domination by the governments. The controls used are not only technologies. It is also demonstrated how easily people’s thoughts and feelings can be manipulated, which lead to less validity of the self and more power for the government. In both novels human emotions and stimuli are constantly used to maintain control of society. The emotions and stimuli are suppressed in Nineteen Eighty-Four, and exploited in Brave New World. In Brave New World, people are constantly bombarded with activities and games. If someone is alone, they are sleeping, no one is left alone while awake. People are conditioned from birth not to like being alone. If it is seen that someone is alone, it raises serious questions about what they are doing, and their mental health, since no one in their right mind would have any desire to be alone. ” ‘But people are never alone now,’ said Mustapha Mond. ‘We make them hate solitude; and we arrange their lives so that it’s almost impossible for them to have it’”(Huxley 216). The inability to be alone makes it hard for people to make any judgment on the way things are, furthering the success of domination by the governmentThis is much like Nineteen Eighty-Four. There are fewer activities that the people can partake in, and the activities that are present are government regulated and have a more sinister purpose. They are expected to be at the Community Centre or participating in some kind of “communal recreation” in their spare time. It is dangerous to have an “ownlife” which, in Newspeak, refers to individualism and eccentricity. There are no individually arranged social events. People are always kept occupied by activities while in groups. They are never able to derive a plan or find out if anyone else has the same hostile feelings towards the powers that be. The regulating of literature and history is another way that both Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World control the way people think. “The Savage indignantly. ‘Why don’t you give them these books about God?’ ‘For the same reasons, as we don’t give them Othello: they’re old; they’re about God hundreds of years ago. Not about God now,” this is the point in the book where the Savage confronts Mustapha Mond, after the Savage was captured, and he is left alone to talk to him. The reason why literature is controlled in Brave New World, is because all aspects of the past are controlled, what people know about history and the way things were, the less they know about the past, the less conflicting ideas arise, like the ideas about God. ” ‘I’m sure you have,’ said Mustapha Mond. ‘ But then we aren’t Indians. There isn’t any need for a civilized man to bear anything that’s seriously unpleasant. And as for doing things-Ford forbid that he should get the idea into his head. It would upset the whole social order if men started doing things on their own” (Huxley 220)During this discussion between the Savage and Mond, it is discovered that the reason for taking away the idea of God, and literature is to eliminate free thinking individuals, which in-turn makes the people easier to manipulate. The regulation of books and literature is used in Nineteen Eighty-Four as well. The Ministry of Truth concerns itself with news, entertainment, education, and the fine arts. The Ministry of Truth constantly changes history. All books before the revolution had to be destroyed; all links to the past had to be destroyed. Like Brave New World, literature is seen as powerful and a risk for the general public to see. If the general public were to see these old publications then they would know the truth of history, and also these books might incite ideas that the government would not want present in its society, ideas of freedom, and change. Freethinking is seen as an enemy in both novels. Extreme measures to stop it.Relationships are seen by many as a good thing where people can exchange ideas, and have trust in each other. In Brave New World, people are encouraged to have multiple partners. This behavior discourages any meaningful relationships to form, thereby stopping any exchange of ideas, and keeping society safe from someone’s thoughts. To stay with someone for a long period of time is frowned on, and is considered deviant behavior causing a danger to society. The idea of promiscuity is encouraged from a young age; children are encouraged to play erotic games at a very young age during their recess time. “Outside, in the garden, it was playtime. Naked in the warm June sunshine, six or seven hundred boys and girls were running around with shill yells “(Huxley 26). “In a little grassy bay between tall clumps of Mediterranean heather, two children, a little boy of about seven and a little girl who might have been a year older, were playing, very gravely and with all the focused attention of scientists intent on a labour of discovery, a rudimentary sexual game. ‘Charming, Charming!’ the DHC repeated sentimentally” (Huxley 27). This is an example of the attitudes displayed by the guardians of children, who do not only condone early promiscuity but also encourage it. “The nurse shrugged her shoulders. ‘Nothing much,’ she answered. ‘It’s just that this little boy seems rather reluctant to join in the ordinary erotic play. I’d noticed it once or twice before. And now again today. He started yelling just now and so,’ she went on, turning back to the director, ‘I’m taking him in to see the Assistant Superintendent of Psychology. Just to see if anything’s at all abnormal’”(Huxley 15)
This demonstrates that even if one does not desire (even at a young age) to be promiscuous they are considered to have something wrong with them. In Brave New World sex is used to keep people apart. No one is allowed to stay together long enough to actually form a meaningful relationship. There is no formation of any bonds. This makes it easier for the government to control society. Because there are no bonds, it can control on an individual basis, the Authority does not have to worry about any unity forming, everyone is out for themselves. People are discouraged from forming any type of relationship and only encouraged having temporary sexual relations with people.In Nineteen Eighty-Four sex is totally taken away from people, as a way to control society. To have any sort of relationship with anyone, either sexually or emotionally, is prohibited. It was an unforgivable crime to have promiscuity among Party members. “Marriages between Party members had to be approved by a committee appointed for the purpose…(and) permission was always refused if the couple concerned gave the impression of being physically attracted to one another” (Orwell 68). The only purpose for marriage among Party members is to generate children for service of the Party. Intercourse between married people is looked upon as unpleasant necessity that must be preformed occasionally in order to have children. Many zealous Party members, especially those belonging to the Junior AntiSex League, vow celibacy, wanting nothing to do with anything that might take their thoughts and energies away from their Party duties. Proles (the lowest members of society, who resemble peasants of 18th century) are left free to live together and enjoy sex for its own sake. In Nineteen Eighty-Four the Party tried to kill the sex instinct, to distort and dirty it for the purpose of suppressing sexual feelings among Party members. The absence of sex in Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World, are not so much about the sex, rather about the communication and unity that could form from either a long relationship or just sex. The formation of unity would make it more difficult to control society. If there is a problem with people having too much emotion the governments in both books had methods to control that too. In Brave New World people were encouraged to take the drug “soma”, which would displace any negative emotions. Also relations to each other and to society as a whole are stabilized by the painless techniques of “sleep teaching” (Carlson 3). In Nineteen Eighty-Four, people were allowed to yell and scream at images of people who betrayed the Country in the “two minutes of hate”. These methods are used to cover up any desire of the people to exert their emotions on each other or against the government.Despite their attempts at complete control, the authorities are not entirely successful. In both Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World there are characters presented who do not completely fall victim to the government’s brainwashing and manipulation techniques. In Brave New World the few human beings who have managed to resist Progress are deviants from the majority of society (Greenblatt 5). The main character who does not believe in the way the government says things should be. These characters express thoughts and feelings of disapproval in the way rest of society acts. In Nineteen Eighty-Four there are two characters who fully disagree with the way things are in the society they live in. They also express large degrees of distrust for what they have been indoctrinated to believe from by governments. Bernard Marx is a social outcast. He was engineered to be an Alpha-plus (one of the highest classes in the society of Brave New World), but he does not fit the status of an Alpha-plus. Bernard is small and dark, when he should be tall; this difference in his appearance makes him a joke to the other Alpha-Pluses, and also lends proof to the rumor that someone dropped alcohol in his tube while he was being engineered. Bernard is a misfit, a self-conscious rebel with all sorts of faults. He is characterized by his failure to achieve status and for his disdain for the social norms. Despite his superior Alpha-plus mind, Bernard suffers from an inferiority complex. He is a vainglorious boaster who details greatly inflated accounts of his deed to his only real friend, Helmholtz Watson. He is also a coward who indulges in outbursts of the most abject self-pity. Disgusted with hedonism and yearning for love, Bernard spends most of his time by himself, which is frowned upon by the rest of society. He eventually goes to a “reservation” where he meets and brings back John “The Savage.”The Savage (John), is the main character that the reader can identify with. John was found on a reservation where Bernard went for a date, in an attempt to form a relationship with Lenina. John’s mother went on a date with the DHC, and was left there because she was thought to be dead. John was born from a woman, who once lived with the rest of the controlled society, but was abandoned in the reservation, where she bore John. As his mother used to be a member of the ordinary society, it is felt that he should have a right to live in the “normal” society. John never received his conditioning during his development. He does not understand how things operate in the “New World.” John was brought up in a place where the “old world” was present, with books, and religion. When John begins to experience the “new” world, he is disgusted by the promiscuity, and is disturbed by the lack of books, and lack of knowledge of the past. His disgust at society leads him to try and save the rest of civilization, from what he sees as one of its flaws, “soma”. He fails at this attempt only to be forced to live in isolation. He enjoys his time alone, but he is quickly discovered. He soon lashing-out at one of the spectators. John, appalled at himself for his actions, more like the rest of society, hangs himself in his last attempt to escape the “new” world.In Nineteen Eighty-Four Winston Smith is the main character. Winston is presented as an ordinary man, who is slightly higher in intelligence than the rest of society. The motivation for Winston’s revolt is not so much political as it is cultural and historical, he seeks to validate his “ancestral memory” by seeking out ordinary, bourgeois experience (Zehr 3). Winston’s problem with the government is the restraints they put on him. The restraints of the inability to be a freethinker, living under scrutiny, and the restrains of not being able to have someone to care for. Julia is the other significant character in the novel. She is Winston’s love. Julia is a superficial character, she has little interest with the bigger problems. For instance when Winston’s reading of The Book, which answers all of the questions about why things are the way they are, puts her to sleep. Her main concern is with her body and her feelings. She tries to reach Winston in this way. He is not content to oppose society solely because it bores him but must find a reason for doing so. Julia is a rebel, only because Oceania fails to satisfy her need for companionship and sexual fulfillment. It does seem that both characters are dependent on each other for the story to continue.Even though it may seem that the main characters are drastically different, they are similar in some ways. The characters seem to represent an aspect of the modern world. Winston represents the average person, and John (The Savage) seems to represent the values of our “modern world.” There are other characters in both novels that do resemble each other, and have much in common. The characters that confront the deviants in Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-Four are remarkably the same. Each character cannot fir into society because of technology, which makes these books more of a warning.O’Brien is a representative of the Power in Nineteen Eighty-Four, and Mustapha Mond is a representative of the Power in Brave New World. Both characters are the only members of governments that the reader is presented. Both characters seem to have an astounding amount of knowledge of the past. They both know the truth. In Brave New World, John argues with Mustapha Mond about the ways they are manipulating the public. John argues that people deserve to know about the books of God, and other books. Mond argues that the freedom of people’s thoughts would disrupt their “utopian society”. Mond reveals that the government is only interested in people becoming better consumers of resources, which has made the world more profitable. Similarly in Nineteen Eighty-Four, when O’Brien is confronting Winston, after Winston has been caught and is about to go under reeducation, he is told that the reason for all the lies and deception is only for power, complete utter control. O’Brien coolly admits the Party’s ethic of power for its own sake, depicting the future as “a boot stamping on a human face-forever (unknown). These two characters, Mond and O’Brian, represent the absolute power, and the interests of the governments. These characters show tremendous unconcern about the welfare of people, and the lengths to which the government will go to, to maintain their grip on power, despite what’s best for society.In both of these novels there are many similarities and differences. The last similarity is the endings. In Brave New World it ends with the suicide of John, when he can not bear to live in the world that he saw. He decides he would rather die than live like those he saw. In Nineteen Eighty-Four, as Winston is being assassinated, his final thoughts are that he loves “Big Brother”. On the surface these may seem quite different, but then when you examine them they start to look more similar. When Winston dies he is so far from being the character he started from, it could be said that Winston would rather have committed suicide before seeing the character he had become. Both characters became a part of the society of which they hated, and have would preferred death than living as they had become.These two novels explore the horrors that could come if the wrong people come into power, or technology is abused. Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World both have a common theme, people losing their control to think for themselves. While the people in Brave New World lost their ability to think for themselves through drugs and technology, and the people in Nineteen Eighty-Four lost their ability to think through scrutiny, they both undergo similar methods in complete lose of control. They both realize the power of the environment and the power of relationships, and the authorities in each novel use different methods of eliminating these problems. These novels demonstrate that it is possible for governments to acquire a large degree of power, but also demonstrate that no matter how much control a government has over society there will always be some people willing to go to great lengths to stop the governments overbearing power. No matter how hard things get there will always be someone somewhere that will defy the powers that be, the human spirit can never be killed.