New World And 1984 Essay, Research Paper
Dystopian Futures in Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-Four.
The existence created by Brave New World is very efficient however it lacks any meaning, humans have no real extremes in feelings, no love, hate, pain and suffering. They are conditioned by technology to accept these things as normal. People are mass-produced to serve the means of the sociality and have no individuality whatsoever, a bleak world eliminating spirit and human nature. Outsiders to this world include Bernard Marx, Helmhotz Watson and John the Savage. All feel different due to individual circumstance and rebel against their Brave New World.
The descriptions of futuristic London are rendered in plain style creating a drab, lack of beauty mirrored in the words used. “A squat grey building of only thirty-four stories. Over the main entrance the words, CENTRAL LONDON HATCHERY AND CONDITIONING CENTRE, and in a shield, the world states motto, COMMUNITY, IDENTITY, STABILITY. The dictation is simple; the syntax is reduced, like a telegraph conveying only essential instructions. This creates a grey world, which seems very cold.
Brave New World is run by a ‘World State’, A world state would necessitate a single political ideology and a single point of view, which is the motto of Brave New World “Community, Identity, Stability”. To achieve the first objective Community Brave New World satirises Christianity encouraging people to reach solidarity through sexual orgy in a service that mimics mass. Life is organised so that a person is almost never alone. Identity is in large part the result of genetic engineering, sleep teaching and various processes undertaken during decanting. It is also achieved by teaching everyone to conform so that anyone who feels slightly different is considered an outcast. The desire for stability requires the production of large numbers of genetically identical “individuals” because people who are exactly the same are less likely to come into conflict. Stability means minimising conflict, risks and changes.
Brave New World is written in the third person perspective and therefore has the ability to tell the reader what is going on within any of the character minds. This is particularly useful in showing a cross section of this strange future society. This is used most effectively in chapter three when Huxley uses juxtaposition. The reader hears a babble of voices: Lenina, Fanny and Mustapha Mond, who sound at first chaotic but give the reader understanding of the controllers reasons for control; at the same time we see results of this conditioning in the thoughts and reactions of the other characters
The first two chapters are largely presented in lecture format, with the D.H.C. and Henry Foster actually lecturing to students, who diligently and precisely take down notes on what is said, about the technology of Brave New World. Then Mustapha Mond, the World Controller, appears to lecture the students on contemporary theories of sexuality, communal living, social stability and history and give a brief lecture of the evolution of Brave New World.
The director casually mentions that the hatchery hatches human beings. He takes this fact for granted, but the reader is surprised, people are conditioned to accept the role selected for them by the government. Conditioning influences the individual throughout life, World State values are immersed upon children
The names of the characters all have connotations for the time in which the book was written, (1932) Ford, Marx, Lenina, Benito Hoover. Ford is in reference to Henry Ford who pioneered mass production of the Model T car. Marx is an obvious reference to Karl Marx the German socialist. Lenina is a variation on Lenin who led the Russian, Bolshevik Revolution and Benito Hoover, a minor character is a combination of Benito Mussolini the Italian dictator and Herbert Hoover President of America.
Chapter 16 brings Bernard, Helmhotz and the Savage before Mond, who again breaks into lecture (punctuated by questions from his audience) upon the need for individual conformity and social stability. In the next chapter Mond and the Savage challenge each other in a debate – lecture format. In Brave New World the debate – lecture technique is most prominent in the confrontation between Mond and the savage. Huxley took this technique from public lectures between his paternal grandfather T.H. Huxley defending the theory of evolution against the clergies biblical based views.
The Lecture technique is more formal and tightly organised than casual speech. Mustapha Mond’s words are closer to those of formal lecture. Lengthy, carefully organised set pieces one after another to his audience occasionally drawing upon literary quotations to round off his points. Presented in balanced rhetorical periods
“And why should we go hunting for a substitute for youthful desires, when youthful desires never fail? A substitute for distractions, when we go on enjoying all the old fooleries to the very last? What need have we of response when our minds and bodies continue to delight in activity? Of consolation, when we can have Soma? Of something immovable, when there is social order?”
This indicates that these leaders have an absolute unquestioned authority. Brave New Worlders are unable to think for themselves and therefore turn to authority figures for their answers.
Although Brave New World was set 600 years in the future Huxley is commenting on contemporary social conditions and behaviour. In the 1920’s there was widespread pessimism set by WW1, a futile savage senseless war fought essentially for money. The hedonistic and cynical elements of futuristic London can be seen as commentaries on the decade that Huxley had just lived through. The cynicism diploid by Mond, who contends that ‘civilisation has absolutely no need for nobility or heroism’, is likewise intended to reflect the empty values of Huxley’s own day.
Bernard is a product of the Brave New World and the Savage is a visitor to it, both are outcasts. Bernard’s physical deficiencies isolate him from his fellow men and producing in him a mental excess making him want something richer and more satisfying than Brave New World. The insecurities generated by his physical defects however make Bernard unpleasant, causing him to alternate between arrogant ‘boasting’ and abject self-pity, for example when he parades the savage proudly, his jealousy of the savages relationship with Helmhotz and his passive reaction due to his indecision over the Savage’s Soma rebellion. Lenina, is a perfect example of Brave New World, she is the opposite of Bernard and embraces Her life, happy to enjoy trivial games such as obstacle golf.
Brave New World features two linguistic extremes, of magic and science, form a basic contrast in the language of Brave New World, the magical element is provided by Helmhotz Watson’s poetic drive and the references to Shakespeare. Helmhotz represents the artistic inspiration surpressed by Brave New World. He feels something else to communicate, far more significant than Brave New World propaganda. “I’ve got something to say and the power to say it only I don’t know what it is and I can’t make any use of the power.
When Helmhotz expresses himself in poetic form, his subject, solitude brings him into conflict with authority. He believes only madness and violence and not the overly sane stability of Brave New World can produce such a poetic language. It is for this reason that he decides on exile to the Falklands ” I believe I would write better if the climate were bad.”
Helmhotz is ‘every centimetre an alpha plus’ excelling in sports and sex, he yearns for a more spiritually rewarding life than Brave New World offers allowing him full play to his latent poetic powers. Beyond dismissing Shakespeare due to the influence of Brave New World Helmhotz is flawless. Helmhotz is limited by his upbringing in Brave New World and is happy to be exiled.
Brave New World solves the problems between art and science, which can be extended to include a collision between reason and imagination, between matter and spirit. In Brave New World art has been eliminated. This generates the central tension that Bernard, Helmhotz and the Savage experience in Brave New World between over regulation of the individual and the need for spiritual fulfilment. As Mustapha Mond realises both science and art can be both liberating forces if allowed free play, but they can also be forces of control. Science by determining the genetic constitution of humanity, and art by formulating socially desirable rules into memorable aphorisms that people take to be truths and then act upon. In Brave New World true art has been replaced by government controlled nothings which the people of Brave New World have been conditioned to enjoy.
Pseudo poetry of sleepteachings lack the deeper significance of true poetry “a gramme is better than a damn” “ending is better than mending” providing, in concise and memorable fashion, key tenets of Brave New World Philosophy. Exposing the lack of aesthetic richness by providing a contrast with the splendid poetry quoted by Shakespeare.
Shakespeare’s influence is most significant in the title, which is borrowed from the Tempest. The savage continually uses Shakespeare to articulate his own thoughts and feelings, most of his quotations are tragic in nature. The functions of these Shakespearean allusions is made explicit by Mond, “you can’t make tragedy without social instability. The artificial happiness and stability of Brave New world have eliminated the occurrence of tragic situations whereas the savage argues there must be the possibility of genuine pain and danger if human life is to have any meaning.
The references to Shakespeare expose a crucial deficiency in the Brave New World. Science must accommodate art, not eliminate it. Life without art no matter how technologically advanced is meaningless, Mond admits, “this is the price we have to pay for stability. Shakespeare’s art is put forward as a vitally necessary alternative to Brave New World. Shakespeare is termed the Savage’s ‘voice of conscience’ this can be interpreted as a tribute to Shakespeare’s art or as a revelation of the Savage’s overly moralistic mentality.
The dismissal of history is apparent, as Henry Ford (”Our Ford”) said; “History is bunk” the changing names show the changing of society. Charring Cross is now Charring T Rocket Station, Big Ben is now Big Henry and most importantly Westminster Abbey is now a night-club, Westminster Abbey Cabaret. The only significance in life is Brave New World, which seems devoid of any purpose.
In the penultimate chapter the World Controller and the Savage are left alone to discuss god and philosophy. The controller again declares that god and modern society are incompatible. The lecturing rhetoric males Mond seem unreal and just as much a product of the sleep teaching and propaganda he himself speaks. This acts as a foil to the words spoken from the Savage who embraces Shakespeare and individual thought and feelings. The reader sympathises with the savage and is ultimately dissatisfied with the life presented in Brave New World.
Brave New world is essentially a nursery school for adults who can be motivated by the appropriate rhymes. They do not feel dissatisfied, as they have been conditioned not to. They accept their places and are quelled by the use of soma, the Synthetic voice, which is considered superior to Human Voice “richer, warmer, more vibrant with love and yearning and compassion”. Frighteningly humans respond more to this synthetic voice for example “Anti riot speech number two medium strength”. Ultimately they are controlled by the World State. The human race is no more, just another tool of the government to increase production.
Nineteen Eighty-Four features a much darker and suppressive future. The end result is no different, however there are no such technological advances to keep the public in order, only tradition intimidation and force. There is a telescreen in each home which looks for any sign of ‘thoughtcrime’
The main character of the book Winston Smith accepts this future without thinking about it too much except feeling that life must have been better once. Continuous misery is quite normal and Winston feels little strangeness. This makes the atmosphere much more striking for the reader and the images seem much more powerful. Winston is a part of Nineteen Eighty-Four, unlike other futuristic novels where the main character is a visitor to this World, this makes you consider that this kind of world has a distinct possibility of occurring. Winston plays an integral part in the society, the work he does, continually rewriting the past, is vital to the party’s survival. The main reason Winston feels different is that his views contradict the party, views that he would share with the reader.
Orwell set the book only thirty years from when he completed it, saving himself the trouble of imagining a totally different technology from the one he knew. Conditions in 1984 were much like 1948 after WWII with rationing and bombsites. The lack of progress is explained by the fact that all technology has been channelled into creating ever more sophisticated methods of torture and more efficient means of warfare. The quality of life has remained the same, as the party has determined, as if life were to improve then people might start to demand more from the party.
Through Nineteen Eighty-Four Orwell is warning of what may happen if certain political cultural tendencies go on unchecked. Orwell has envisaged the worst to enable English society to take stock of matters.
The party controls people’s emotions by instilling codes of moral. It is insinuated that you should not feel emotions and if you do feel them then you are a criminal. Therefore the people of Oceana disregard their emotions. Every citizen has been emotionally crippled, incapable of having, expressing or understanding their feelings. In Oceana love is a treacherous crime, the state wishes for procreation sex and nothing more, even attempting to remove sex by artificial insemination. The states goal is power, and the party’s power is maintained by supporting an anarchy of sedation and emotionlessness.
Emotional responses are often the foundation for thought the state hopes that by controlling all feelings it will control all thought. The party believes that once a person starts thinking for himself, he will rebel, and the party cannot allow rebellion. Even the language is passionless, known as Newspeak, meaning exactly what it says with no verbs or adjectives and almost no feeling behind the words. The old language, oldspeak is compared to newspeak as “(Oldspeak) with all it’s vagueness and useless shades of meaning Do you know that Newspeak is the only language in the world whose vocabulary gets smaller every year? Don’t you see that the whole range of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought?” While narrowing the range of thought is the party’s main aim, the big picture includes reducing the human race to an unintelligent, trained like a dog, population. Just as dogs obey their master unquestioningly, the citizens of Oceana are trained to follow the party’s orders.
Since the people of Oceana follow so many orders, they have no freedom. All actions are bound by the police force. The inner party maintains its power through the Thought Police which is bound by no laws. In Oceana anything can be a crime; it only has implied laws that might or might not be enforced at any time. The Thought Police monitor the outer party members of Oceana with a device installed in every house, the telescreen. It broadcasts pictures and sounds. The only difference is that it has a camera which watches your every move day in, day out. In principle, a party member is never alone except when sleeping and therefore has no time to himself, no freedom. To do anything involving solitude is dangerous. People are not allowed to be alone and are not allowed to make friends with anybody. They are not free to socialise with whomever they please. Everything they do has to be regulated and controlled. People are not allowed to be spontaneous, when Winston visits the proles his one fear is “The patrols might stop you if you run into them. ‘May I see you papers comrade? What are you doing here? Is this your usual way home?’” There is no rule against walking home on an unusual route, but Winston does not want the Thought Police to hear about his journey to the proles. The Thought Police are larger than life. Everybody fears them because there is no way to get around them.
The people of Oceana lose their identity when born, Winston Smith, an outer party member attempts to regain his lost identity by rebelling against the party. He tries to join the infamous Brotherhood, the underground association against the inner party and it’s non-existent leader Big Brother. When Winston is captured he is forced to reform after extensive physical and psychological torture. In the process he loses his identity once again, and once released he joins the unquestioning mindless population of Oceana. The perfect citizen of Oceana is a brainwashed imbecile full of party slogans capable of anything the party says. As O’Brain Said “We may be obliged to give him a new identity. His face, his movements, the shape of his hands, the colour of his hair even his voice would be different.” A result of the brainwashing is that individuals don’t understand material goods. There is no variation in lifestyle; citizens are numbered much like prisoners. The use of numbers is to hinder people from individualism. The numbers show society is much like a prison. Everyone eats the same, wears the same, and does the same sort of thing.
Ultimately the party cannot allow variations of their power to exist. To relinquish control over any part of the person is to relinquish all control over the individual. The brutality of the party leads to absolute devotion or absolute rebellion. The object of Oceana is a society of apathetic people who will serve the party without thought. This society destroys humanity. By taking away their subjects emotions, freedom, and identity the citizens are at a loss to do anything. They do not know how to get their humanity back. The citizens are only physically alive. Our humanity is what makes us human, out emotions, freedom, and identity separates us as individuals. When Winston fights for his humanity he loses and is changed into something less than human.
Winston’s life at the Ministry of Truth is very bleak; the canteens represent the canteens during WWII. Through sordid realism creating a depressing atmosphere of life in 1894: the sloppy tables, the bad smelly food, the upswept floors. Something in Winston revolts against this, described as ” a mute protest in your own bones” he attempts to recapture some fragments of ancestral memory. Attempting to live in a way more natural than is possible given the party and the general atmosphere in 1984. Wishing for a more complete fuller life he starts his diary. From the beginning Winston knows he is doomed, he presses on though especially after meeting Julia, like a man eager to test his fate. The fact that Winstons attempts at rebelling fail emphasise the despair and hopelessness created in Nineteen Eighty-Four, whatever happened he promised not to betray Julia and ultimately he gave in, ultimately the party won. That is the message the reader is left with.
The language in Nineteen Eighty-Four is simple direct and concrete. It presents the details of life in England in 1984 with great exactness with a careful attention to detail, so that the imagined world of the novel is given a sensuous reality as in the ways Orwell has Winston notice how one could always tell Parsons had been playing Table Tennis “By the dampness of the bat handle” Orwell is taking great effort to make this fantasy world seen as real as possible therefore enhancing the shock effect of it all.
When Winston meets with Julia Orwell uses a more poetic style of writing especially in the passages connected with the proles. “The mystical reverence that he felt for her was somehow mixed up with the aspect of the pale, cloudless sky, stretching away behind the chimney pots into interminable distance.” In this passage Orwell seems to be a bit too flowery and he is being ironic about Winston’s idealistic tendencies. He also uses dry language of political theory in the book within a book ‘The Theory and Practice of Oligarchial Collectivism’ by Emmanuel Goldstien. Orwell uses abstract, scientific analysis which lacks concreteness, appropriate for a book which is supposed to be an analysis of the party’s power.
One of the books main issues is the construction of Newspeak. Involving the destruction of English. (Oldspeak) It eliminates the words freedom, democracy, honour, justice, religion, under the idea that these ideas themselves will eventually disappear. The eventual aim is to make thoughcrime impossible, as there is nothing to think. To be human is to descrimiate and to judge, discrimination and judgement involve language. Not to use language involves a clear descent into a sub human state like the man in the canteen, whose speech is just a ‘noise uttered in unconsciousness’ duckspeak as it is called in Newspeak. ” His head was thrown back a little, and because of the angle at which he was sitting, the light caught his spectacles and presented to Winston two black discs instead of eyes. What was slightly horrible, was that from the stream of sound that poured out it was almost impossible to distinguish a single word.”
Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-Four are very similar because they have created a very similar society. Suppressing the past, the works of Shakespeare and everything else they create people who are not humans but members of a party, People who do not think for themselves and have no individuality. The methods of suppression are very different; Brave New World with all the technology and make these people appear to be content due to the endless slepteachings, and seen to have more of a life. In Nineteen Eighty-Four People in the party seem to be afraid to show the truth, how they feel. The only difference between the books is the technology, if there was ample technology available in Nineteen Eighty-Four as there was in Brave New World, the two books would be almost identical. In Nineteen Eighty-Four there were attempts to eliminate procreation all together however the technology was not available.