Satire On Huxley S Contemporary Society Essay, Research Paper
Brave New World is primarily a satire on Huxley s contemporary society
While writing Brave New World in 1932, Aldous Huxley was affected by the political, economic, social and scientific situation of the time. This is seen by Huxley incorporating, and in fact satirising, such issues in his novel. These issues provided the basis for Huxley s projection into the future, and hence the satire of those topics is the main feature of the novel. They were satirised by Huxley holding up human vices to scorn and ridicule. The themes, characters and settings were all influenced by Huxley s contemporary society.
In 1932, the international political landscape included the Bolshevik Revolution, Mussolini and the Nazi party in Russia, Italy and Germany respectively. The Bolshevik dictatorship outlawed party after party, non-Bolshevik newspapers and journals were closed, and all opposition ( counterrevolutionaries ) suppressed by a new secret police, the Cheka. The gradual deconstruction of a society is outlined in Brave New World – history has become bunk , and many ideas have completely changed ( ending is better than mending ). Freedom of speech is suppressed in the novel – even by his peers – look at how Lenina reacts to Bernard s nonconforming comments. An extreme police force (accompanied by a Synthetic Anti-Riot Speech #2, Medium Strength) is used in chapter 15 to help combat a riot started by John. Brave New World s setting, and some of its key figures, appears to be influenced by Huxley s contemporary Russia. They also appear to be influenced by the fascism of Mussolini s Italy and Hitler s Germany – in those movements and in Brave New World , a nation is exalted above the individual, a centralised autocratic government is headed by a dictatorial leader, along with social and economic regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.
Economically, 1932 saw an increase in the number and size of factories, more manufactured products, and it was also nearing the coming of the mass-produced car. The society depicted in Brave New World is highly materialistic, and people are in fact engineered to consume goods, and in some cases (the lower castes), engineered specifically to enable them to make those goods. It is evident that Brave New World s society is a predicted end result of the economical shift occurring around 1932.
More and more people were moving to cities in 1932, and this saw a change in attitude and perspective. As a member of an increasing crowd, an individual began to lose responsibility for himself and his peers. Having lost the uniqueness of his identity, he has also lost respect for himself. Huxley continues this loss in Brave New World where scores of monotonous people are made to do identical tasks. Huxley saw this as a threat to man s freedom and independence. This is a vital theme in the novel and was influenced by Huxley s contemporary society.
Huxley states in a foreword to Brave New World that one of the themes is the advancement of science as it affects human individuals . Throughout the 20th century, the rate of scientific advancement has been rising exponentially. Huxley saw the world view that science was thoroughly powerful, and that one day it will be the saviour of the human race. Huxley makes clear in his novel that science should be enslaved to man – not the other way around. He shows us the consequences of people being engineered for something other than their own sake. Huxley has used his novel as a medium to warn society against what he saw happening around him.
Brave New World is a satire of what were, in 1932, contemporary issues. By basing the themes, characters and settings of the novel on extrapolation of his surrounding society, Huxley creates a terrifying future with one foot set firmly in the present – which enables him to make us think about what sort of a future we are working towards.