If one’s different, one’s bound to be lonely. ―Aldous Huxley
World State City: the main location where all citizens of Brave New World were artificially engineered and divided into different classes (castes) which had been predetermined. The story begins in the year of AF 632 which is AD 2540. This is the paradise in today’s wildest dreams as there is no unemployment or economic chaos. This is also the place where humanity is going down the slippery slope and there is no return. This is where it all goes down and all hell breaks loose.
Savage Reservation: less like the civilized brave new world and more like the “real world”, this particular place is located in New Mexico. This is where Bernard took Lenina on a holiday. As can be expected, this does not look like a happy place at all. There is suffering right at every corner of the eye; people are naturally born, exposed through aging processes, and the inevitable death. This is not a scene for people from the artificial womb.
English Channel: A natural site where Bernard took Lenina on the helicopter for their first date to watch the waves of the ocean. Bernard spilled his secrets by telling Lenina that the seas make him feel like his own person. Lenina was utterly furious and shocked until Bernard was convinced they had to go and never come back to the place.
Falkland Island: the exiled setting of Bernard’s antisocial friend, Helmholtz, who cherishes his individuality and despises unnecessary social interactions. This can be compared to the Wonderland for people who never fit in World State community. For Helmholtz, the area is impeccable for his development of writing career. Along with Helmholtz, John wished to be exiled to this island, but his proposal was rejected.
Puttenham: A chamber of tranquility and solitude for John, a natural-born person who obviously can never fit in among the cold people. Through his process of adopting and regaining his peaceful lifestyle, the people from the civilized world pay him a visit due to their curiosity as social animals. This is also the exact place where John hanged himself, taking no more dread from this world of zombies.
Brave New World, a dystopian novel depicting a civilized society in 2540 C.E., tries to bring forward a community in which all human beings are perfectly happy. In order to eliminate pain, humans are scientifically manufactured and categorized into different collective groups, conditioning their social standings and universal perspectives. Such things as “family” and “true love” are considered long-lost within pages of history, and people would be thoroughly horrified each time those ideas are mentioned. Since science is involved in the process of developing individual organism, humanity is projected to only want things they are supposed to want. In doing so, however, happiness comes at the expense of freedom, including the freedom to think for oneself. This means that a few people who are able to think for themselves end up feeling unhappy and are, therefore, unable to fit in. The whole novel raises one substantial question. Should there be an option between freedom and happiness? If so, should you choose to be happy or free? Through this concept, another debate is formed: in order for lives to have meaning, it is necessary to be exposed to pain.
Necessity of Pain: maturity is a result of pain, mistakes, and series of unfortunate events. People normally get stronger as life kicks them harder. Better decision-making process is the product of previous sequences of errors and slips. What makes first love most memorable is the ability to move on from the ultimate pain and heartbreak. The end is not that exciting, the struggle to get there is. If beauty can be seen by everyone, it would not be as beautiful. If happiness is so feasible, everyone would stop trying to reach for it. Brave New World’s flawless version of eternal satisfaction, humans appear to be impossibly weak and are somewhat stripped down of emotion and humanity. Everyone seems to be very cold as they are constantly working, taking drugs, and having sex. No one mourns over somebody’s death; your friend does not care if you trip and break your neck in the party; and no one would be bothered to help you out when you are in darkest period of your life (if it is even possible to even have bad time at all anymore). One can do whatever they want, but everything that they ever wanted is trained and controlled since they were born. By getting rid of pain, real freedom is lost in the process.
Moral and Value: Brave New World implants the importance of modern moral and value by placing an absence towards family, loyalty, and beliefs. In the world where people are afraid of the ideas of having a mother, father, or even relatives, people seem so free and reckless. There is no one to tell you not to do certain things and behave certain ways. While Brave New World offers the “tremendously free” environment, the world we are living in today actually allows us to make the decisions for ourselves with the preparation from people who truly care and want good things for us. Loyalty would make you a loser in this insane world. Highlighted characters such as Lenina Crowne are portrayed to have way too many lovers, yet receive so much respect and affection. Unlike our world, she would never be identified as a whore despite the number of her sexual partners and admirers since everybody is encouraged to have sex with everybody. On top of this, people believe in nothing but fun. Suddenly, God is neither the one who knows what to do nor the one whose words must be respected because s/he is God. There is no God, no rule, and no love. Humanity is easy and cold. Brave New World communicates with the readers that without moral and value, the world is one place of
Social Control: In Brave New World, social division tears the society down. Since women do not get pregnant anymore, humans are created and classified into social groups such as Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Epsilon. These humans are created and programmed to be extremely fulfilled with their lives because the purpose has already been assigned. For example, Delta babies are conditioned to hate books and nature, so that they would grow up living in the city and, later, become factory workers. The fault in this, however, is that humans are treated like robots without a choice in their life. Even if they love their life, such system is rather unethical. There is no reason for humans to exist if they do not get to decide, to feel, to make mistakes, to develop and find meaning and purposes. This means that citizens no longer play a role in the community, but are legal corporate slaves designed to assist the economic development. No matter how happy they may seem with their dream job and lifestyle, they did not choose this everlasting cycle of being biologically engineered and repeating the same process over and over again. Much less, to be in a social position that is less superior to the others. Society may look like it is well structured, but social control should never be taken too far. Not to the point of no return.
Emotion: Without emotions, what good can humans be? It is true that the wars will end, and the world can finally rest in infinite peace. However, it is also true that human species are removed completely from the earth. What makes humans different from automatons are intellect and emotion. Both elements are extracted from the society of Brave New World, leaving it blank and empty. Everybody is happy with themselves and no one is hungry, but they are no longer humans and they lose what humans desire most, which is to love and to be loved. To illustrate, when Bernard stopped the helicopter above the English Channel with Lenina on their first date, Lenina was absolutely terrified of the waves and the expression of nature. Humans were evolved from nature and, therefore, it is implausible to hate nature if one is human. In addition, these so-called humans cannot even face frustration or anxiety. They take this Soma drugs to maintain their happiness. Characters like John, one of the very few people who had not been manufactured, ended up escaping to live far away from the “brave new world”. When people from the city visited him with frenzy assistance from the Soma, everyone robotically had sex with everyone, filling John with sorrow and remorse. Representing what is left of humanity, John hanged himself. His death proves that those artificially engineered people are nonhuman without emotion.
Openness: One main nail to the head in Brave New World is the fact that the author demonstrated that every single one of the human beings, manufactured or not, is shaped by the environment of the society in which they grow up in. Lenina, the popular Barbie Doll of the Alpha, would find different items from her culture unacceptable. She would not at least try to understand that other people want different things in life. It is true that she was born this way, but she got a chance to have firsthand experience of the world outside her box. Bernard, of all people, is the one who understands that life should matter with individuality. Nonetheless, he abandoned his only friend, Helmholtz, in order to make an effort to be more like the people from his origin. When he was offered an opportunity to have his freedom in Falkland Island, he begged for second chances. When he brought John back from Savage Reservation, he was asked to leave the community. Through the pain, disdain, and eternal frustration, Bernard would not give up the environment he was grown up in. He wanted to be “good enough” for the lie he did not even believe. The point is everyone everywhere just wants to be good on the inside. It is just that they are too busy focusing on how to be good the way they are told than to be brave enough to see the world from the bigger perspectives.
John: is the illegitimate son of the Director and Linda. He only cares about what he wants without looking out for himself. When Lenina and Bernard visited the Savage Reservation, he explained to them about everything he ever knew as a person, even the fact that he hated his mother’s new lover. After he was taken to the World State, he just called the director ‘father’ because he trusted his mother so much. He did not care that the man left his family behind or that he had the entire World State freaking out over him not being born from a fake womb. He was so irrational he asked Lenina to marry him in the world where humanity is messed up and everyone is a one-night stand. He did not explain himself that he wanted more than Lenina’s body, so he ended up looking like he does not want her. However, John is the shining star representing humanity. He is brave and he is willing to fight until his last breath for what he believes in. And he did. He fought for humanity. And he lost. And he hanged himself… On top of that, John is very loyal. He believes in everything created humans do not. He loves Lenina, and he respects her by wanting to ask her hand in marriage where he would spend the rest of his life with her. He is strong. He is not afraid of pain. Somehow, pain gives him a sense of purpose and determination. John told the world that he would rather die than living in a world without pain, personal development, true love, family, and the actual freedom to fight for oneself.
Bernard: is an Alpha-plus psychologist who drowns in his own drama. Bernard wants too much attention and cares too much about what people think. He wants to be good enough for that society; he wants to find a sense of belonging, and he wants to have the power to make people satisfied. The day he and Lenina went on a date to the English Channel, he did not bother trying to explain himself of why humans should like nature. He was too vague and frightened of what others think to fight for his truth. He does not appreciate how special he is to have an opinion on his own because he is never satisfied with what he has. Bernard is a yes-man; he pleases people too much he never knows what he wants to do. He is a lost star, trying to find a way out of the blocked maze. However, no matter how much he wants what he wants, this man does not drift off and become a zombie. He tries to look cool as an individual. Instead of running away from pain like the rest, he does not take Soma to forget that he is sad. He uses his best intellect to become the version of himself that he wants to see. Bernard is the only character who made an effort to understand the people that he loves.
Lenina: is the star of the stage. She is in the story to explicate that the most famous people might not be so perfect. Lenina is the representation of the World State, only feeling emotions when something is not so right from what she had been taught. She does not understand and is not willing to understand a thing about anybody else outside her community. She is the queen here, and she shall remain that once and for all. She does not seem like she cares all that much about society, but her thought process automatically makes her a zombie. Everyone wants to be with her because there is no better delegate of this brave new world. Being a complete follower, Lenina is made out of a completely different version of what is called humanity. She is leaving for her vacation with Bernard tomorrow, but she is dating somebody else today. Pleasure seems plain without love, but Lenina thinks it is everything. However, it is not sensible to put the fault on this woman. Lenina does feel things even when she does not understand them. She shut other worlds down, but would still go to Savage Reservation with Bernard because he wants to. She came to John’s apartment because she was curious about why he would not want her. If she could have her pleasure with just Soma and other guys, she would not come back for this one strange person. She also cried when John called her a whore. For a total zombie from World State, Lenina could have been so much nastier.
Helmholtz: is the successful Alpha-plus lecturer at college of Emotional Engineering. Just like Bernard, he does not feel like he belongs in this world of emptiness and fake pleasure. This guy forgives Bernard even when he abandoned him to be the World State’s celebrity. This shows that Helmholtz values friendship and real connections as well. Having the ambition to write things he has never been able to express, Helmholtz throws away everything on the quest to chase his dreams and fulfill his happiness. In this messed up world, people like Helmholtz is on the journey to rip back what is his. And that is his humanity and what makes him human.
Linda: is a Beta-minus woman who was pregnant with John and could not return to the World State to the director (who impregnated her). She does not seem to divide much of her attention for John because, even if he lived with his mom, John was always filled with loneliness. Since she came from the World State, she needed a lot of sexual pleasure and ended up sleeping with every woman’s husband. She is the representation of what a zombie looks like in the world of humanity. When she went back to the Brave New World, she overdosed herself with Soma until the day she died. Her life signifies that once humanity is lost, it is difficult, if not impossible, to retrieve it back.
In the World State city, the director of the Central London Hatching and Conditioning Center gave a lecture to his students of how humans are scientifically manufactured since women no longer get pregnant. After that, the group was brought into another room where Delta babies were electrified to stay away from books and flowers. This means that they will grow up hating nature and books, and they will only ever work in the city as factory workers who are fully satisfied. They ran into a powerful man who talked about the past. He was grossed out by the idea of family and humans being a product of love.
Bernard, a member of the upper society, got permission from the director to take Lenina to the Savage Reservation. There, they came across a ritual in which humans are whipped. One of the savages, John, who wanted to be whipped, explained to the couple that he needed it to feel strong. He then told them that he was not originally from here. His mother is from the World State and that, during the trip to the Reservation, she fell down a ravine and hit her head. She was pregnant with John, but the man she came with already went back to the civilized world. John also told Lenina and Bernard that his mom, Linda, always slept with all the women’s husbands and usually got whipped.
Bernard and Lenina decided to take John and Linda back to the World State city. As long as they saw the director, Linda claimed that he was her lover who had lost her at the village of the Reservation. John started calling him “father” until the director forgot to exile Bernard to Iceland because of the complication. Everyone in the civilized world was extremely horrified at the words family, the ideas of getting pregnant, and their director being a father.
Lenina and John were attracted to each other, but Lenina would not understand why John would not sleep with her. One day, when Lenina came to John’s apartment, he asked her to marry him, but she took her clothes off and got him into bed. John was shocked and called her a whore. Lenina just hid herself in the closet and cried.
Linda died because she overdosed with Soma. Nobody could understand that John was upset because of the death of his mother. Then John started screaming at the nurses who dealt with his mother’s Soma. He called it “poison” and he called everybody “slave”. Bernard and his friend, Helmholtz, got a call because John was messing up the entire hospital. When they got there, Helmholtz decided to help John fight the brawl.
Helmholtz and Bernard were exiled to the Falkland Island where people do not fit in the civilized world. John was allowed to find a quiet home in Puttenham where he whipped himself as a habit. As a result, Lenina gathered her friends to visit him. John was too attracted to Lenina that he accidentally whipped her and that sexually aroused everybody. Everyone took Soma and they spent the night at John to have sex. John hanged himself the next morning.
The story shall remain forever memorable for me as it introduces me to a whole new idea of happiness, social stability, and economic development. Brave New World brings a completely new world where everyone can utilize their skills to be parts of society. However, this is the lie humans have to live in. In this world, people look like they are free but they are not even capable of thinking for themselves, much less to have their true freedom and meaning. People do not have family and are so messed up that they are becoming nonhuman. The best part of the book is the end. Aldous Huxley left the impression of the world by sending messages, telling humans to appreciate what they have and fight for what they want. John hanged himself because he believed in humanity. Humanity comes with pain, with fear, with discomfort, but those are everything that makes us human. Without emotions, life is like living in the darkness with the dead. Without pain, we are all weak creatures who cannot even have personal development. Without the struggle to chase the dreams, the journey is no longer valuable.
I cannot wait to share with the world what I learn from this book. I cannot wait to read more work from Huxley. As a person who has never fit in, this book explicates that I am not a social animal who only follows the trend. I fight hard for what I believe in. I see colors, I see beauty. I feel the pain and I show the world that I have a voice. I might not be famous like Lenina, and that is okay. The most famous people are not always the brightest ones. I will hold on to my definition of the truth. And I will fight for humanity. Life is hard and no one makes it out alive. Without emotion, pain, development, fear, and especially family, why do you even want to live? This world moves too fast. These stars burn too bright. Appreciate everything, and keep fighting. Choose one. Be a zombie, or an unidentified ball of colors, energies, lights, and feeling. Never let anyone tell you that you are not good enough, that you feel too much, that you burn too bright. Because, after all, people only throw rocks at things that shine.
© VITAK CHEAV