Contrast Essay, Research Paper
fuck offArt is like a fractured mirror that reflects the society in which it was created. This reflection is a mosaic of images constructed by the artist?s own perceptions which in turn are determined by the values and attitudes, especially the fears and insecurities in his or her own contemporary society. The responder also has to acknowledge his or her own door of perception, as this would affect their interpretation of the art. This is especially evident in texts like Brave New World which are designed specifically as probes into the aspects of society that the writer desires to explore. Aldous Huxley wrote Brave New World during the late ?20s and early ?30s; in the middle of the Great Depression and at the eve of the Second World War. World War One was still fresh in everyone?s memories and so was the Bolshevik revolution of Russia, which threatened to spread throughout Europe and the world. On the other side of the Atlantic the ?New World? was undergoing a revitalisation of industry with Henry Ford and other leading capitalists implementing the concept of mass production and attempting to create the ideal consumer society. There was also a form of cultural renaissance in the central European countries where the avaunt-garde was embraced rigorously in art and architecture. And in science, especially in the biological field, great breakthroughs, the likes of which the world hadn?t witnessed since the days of Newton were being accomplished. In short it was a period of great social change and instability. Such instability eventually leads to fears and insecurities, most of which tend revolve around the future of society and the future of the individual.
For the rich upper class the primary fear was Bolshevism. They feared it so much so that Fascists and Nazis were tolerated, even encouraged, all for the purpose of crushing Bolshevism. Although the World State from Brave New World does not resemble Lenin?s Bolshevik state, it does however have strong parallelisms with Mussolini?s fascist Italy and shares an uncanny resemblance to the future Germany under Hitler. Even more profoundly and more importantly it?s resemblance of Stalin?s totalitarian Russia is undeniable. From the characteristics of the World State in his novel, it seems that Huxley, unlike his noble compatriots, was not fearful of Bolshevism. However unlike the socialist intellectuals of his time, Huxley had a realistic, bleak vision of the future of Bolshevism. He seemed to know that Russia would come a full circle after the death of Lenin and that the leaders of the revolution themselves would replace the Aristocrats as dictators of Russia. The World State is far from the non-hierarchical, classless, leaderless society that the Bolsheviks dreamt of, but is an ironical parody of communism, a bitter mockery of their unrealistic and unattainable aims. The solidarity services, the motto of ?Community, Identity, Stability?, and the hypnopaedic verse ?Everyone belongs to everyone else? all point to the fact that Huxley?s World State is a perverse imitation of communism.
The conservative aristocrats of Britain and Germany not only feared the spread of communism but also the evolution and rapid changes in social values and attitudes. The cultural renaissance threatened to do away with the traditional values that they cherished dearly. Open homosexuality and promiscuity was everyday occurrence in the nightclubs of Berlin, London and Paris, to the great annoyance of the conservatives. This fear, one that is most likely shared by Huxley himself, is strongly reflected in Brave New World; Sport sex is World State policy; Orgies is part of a ?religious? ceremony in the Brave New World. The two characters of traditional values Bernard Marx and the Savage share the views of conservatives (and possibly Huxley?s) and provide their views on the matter. Referring to Henry Foster and the Assistant Predestinator talking of sharing Lenina he says bitterly ?Talking about her as though she were a piece of meat. Have her here, have her there. Like mutton. Degrading her to so much mutton? Oh, Ford, Ford, Ford.?
Notice Bernard did not cry ?God, God, God.? There was an accelerated development of science, especially in the biological field, during the middle periods (between the wars). Among other giant leaps Rene Dutrochet and Robert Brown had discovered the basic structure of all living things. This led to speculations that once the building blocks of organisms were discovered mankind would soon be able to manipulate the nature of life itself. Possibly even create designer animals and plants. Understandably this prediction did not sit well with most people. They thought the scientists were trying to play God in meddling with the makings of life itself. There is no God in Brave New World. As the controller says to John ?God isn?t compatible with machinery and scientific medicine and iniversal happiness.? The Savage attempts to argue the necessity of God in emotional terms but is eclipsed by the controllers logical and rational reasoning. What is the need of God when there is no fear of death or aging? However Huxley shows that he is sympathetic to the existence of God through Linda?s death; ?She tried to cry out ? but no sound came; only the terror in her eyes revealed that she was suffering.? Is it that living in happiness and in the absence of God the citizens of the Brave New World also have to die without Him? Linda?s terror is the terror of having no hope and no peace. The fear of losing God through science is actualised in the World State.
The Great Depression was possibly the greatest peacetime crisis of the century. The suffering and chaos that it brought to people of the Western society was extraordinary. However Huxley cautions against the desperate want for stability, as according to his reasoning a society that has achieved perpetual stability would lose it?s collective sense of purpose. The people of the Brave New World do not have dreams or visions for they have no notion as to what they should dream about. They are happy, content and therefore complacent. There is nothing to improve in their lives, nothing to strive for. The existence of society has become meaningless.
And as Brave New World was a social satire it is important to recognise the social context in which it was created. The intended purpose of Aldous Huxley in writing Brave New World was to bring forward social assumptions and misconceptions about science, culture and politics and to explore them in satirical light. The fears of society at the time are bound to influence such an exploration of society, with or without the author?s conscious knowledge. In summary the fears that are presented in the novel are that of communism, of instability, of decadence of moral values and of the absence of God. Not all are directly reflected, some are shared and the Author ridicules some. However it is true that the novel was created from raw materials of cultural fears and insecurities.