1984 Compared to Brave New World


Description : Compaires B N W to 1984 Body of Essay : Although many similarities exist between Aldous Huxley's A Brave New World and George Orwell's 1984, the works books though they deal with similar topics, are more dissimilar than alike. A Brave New World is a novel about the struggle of Bernard Marx, who rejects the tenants of his society when he discovers that he is not truly happy. 1984 is the story of Winston who finds forbidden love within the hypocrisy of his society. In both cases, the main character is in quiet rebellion against his government which is eventually found to be in vain. Huxley wrote A Brave New World in the third person so that the reader could be allotted a more comprehensive view of the activities he presents. His characters are shallow and cartoon-like (Astrachan) in order to better reflect the society in which they are entrapped. In this society traditional notions of love and what ideally should come out of it have long been disregarded and are now despised, "Mother, monogamy, romance. High spurts the fountain; fierce and foamy the wild jet. The urge has but a single outlet." (Huxley 41) The comparison to a wild jet is intended to demonstrate the inherent dangers in these activities. Many of the Brave New World's social norms are intended to 'save' its citizens from anything unpleasant through depriving them of the opportunity to miss anything overly pleasant. The society values, ACOMMUNITY, IDENTITY, STABILITY," (Huxley 1) supersede all else in a collective effort. Soma, the magical ultimate drug is what keeps the population from revolting. "What you need is a gramme of soma... All the advantages of Christianity and alcohol; none of their defects." The drug is at the forefront of their daily lives providing freedom from life's every ill. "The word comes from the Sanskrit language of ancient India. It means both an intoxicating drink used in the old Vedic religious rituals there and the plant from whose juice the drink was made- a plant whose true identity we don't know." (Astrachan) The drug is used as a form of recreation, like sex, and its use is encouraged at any opportunity, especially when great emotions begin to arise. They are conditioned to accept this to calm and pacify them should they begin to feel anything too intensely. The conditioning also provides them with their place and prevents them from participating in social activities which they needn't take part in. (Smith) Class consciousness which Americans are so reluctant to acknowledge is taught through hypnopædia (the repetition of phrases during sleep akin to post hypnotic suggestion) for all social classes: These names are letters in the Greek alphabet, familiar to Huxley's original English readers because in English schools they are used as grades- like our As, Bs, etc.- with Alpha plus the best and Epsilon minus the worst. In Brave New World, each names a class or caste. Alphas and Betas remain individuals; only Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons are bokanovskified. (Astrachan) The conditioning is begun at an extremely young age and is by modern real-world standards cruel, AThe screaming of the babies suddenly changed its tone. There was something desperate, almost insane, about the sharp spasmodic yelps to which they now gave utterance." (Huxley 20) The children's "Pavlovian" conditioning with electric shocks is later compared to the wax seals which used to grace the seams of letters (Astrachan), "Not so much like drops of water, though water, it is true, can wear holes in the hardest granite; rather, drops of liquid sealing-wax, drops that adhere, incrust, incorporate themselves with what they fall on, till finally the rock is all one scarlet blob." The entire society is conditioned to shrink away from intense emotion, engage in casual sex, and take their pacifying Soma. In 1984, a first-person book partly narrated by the main character's internal dialogue, the great party leader is "Big Brother," a fictional character who is somewhat more imposing than "Ford," of Huxley's book, named after the industrialist Henry Ford (Astrachan). The main character Winston fears Big Brother and is much more aware of his situation than any of the characters in A Brave New World who are constantly pacified by soma. In A Brave New World history is ignored completely whereas in 1984 it is literally rewritten in order to suit the present. The