Brave New Worldby Aldous Huxley Introductory Activities and Notes
Introductory Activities • Has belief in the power of science replaced faith in God? • What is happiness, and how can it be found? • What are some dangers of being promiscuous? • Why do people use drugs?
I.A., cont. • What are some pros and cons of genetic engineering? What about cloning? • How are people brainwashed today? • Do you think people are capable of living in peace? If so, under what conditions? • Why do people dream? • How do you define love?
Introductory Topics • Psychological Conditioning-Pavlovian conditioning • Sleep teaching • Genetic engineering • Test tube babies • Identity • Social Stability • Community
Intro. topics, cont. • Individual freedom/happiness • Passion/painful emotion • Consumption of material goods • Mind-altering drugs • Promiscuity • Individual differences • Family in crisis
Intro. topics, cont. • Death • Totalitarianism • Utopia • Henry Ford/mass production • Karl Marx • Herbert Hoover • Benito Mussolini
Intro. topics, cont. • Propaganda • Overpopulation • Cloning
BNW facts and themes • Science fiction work • Utopian fiction • Title is from The Tempest by Shakespeare, and there are numerous parallels. • Science can be used to control people • Genetic engineering and psychological conditioning are potentially dangerous
BNW Themes, cont. • Hardship increases the depth of life • Materialism and pleasure vs. individuality and freedom • Life without ties is empty • Escapism is often destructive
Study GuideChapters 1-2 • Do you think anything like the hatcheries might be happening today? • How does Bokanovsky’s process work, and what is it for? • What is the significance of A.F.? • How is Huxley’s depiction of the Director satirical?
1-2, cont. • What are some actual scientific principles presented? • Explain the class system of BNW • What social problems have been eliminated in BNW? • Explain the motto “Community, Identity, Stability”
1-2 Cont. • How is Huxley mocking Christianity? • Who are Henry Foster and Lenina Crowne? • Why are the Delta children conditioned to dislike books and nature? • Why can hypnopaedia be used to inoculate more beliefs and emotional attitudes but cannot be used to learn science?
Chapter 3 • What is meant by “history is bunk”? • How are the lectures, the conversations, and the activities related to each other? • What is the deal with soma? • Why does so much effort go into conditioning people to be consumers? What is Huxley satirizing?
Chapters 4 and 5 • Share some opinions about Lenina • How is Bernard different? What are some things that “trouble” him? • Is Bernard paranoid, or are people really watching him? • Compare/contrast Helmholtz to Bernard
4 and 5, cont. • What satire is found in these two chapters? • What does pneumatic mean?
Chapter 6 • Think of the interaction between Lenina and Bernard at the beginning of the chapter. What may they represent? • Is Bernard a coward in this chapter? • What do you think of the Director’s treatment of Bernard? • What can be inferred about the Director’s story about his “trip”?
6, cont. • What is Bernard’s reaction to Iceland? • What is amusing about the scene with the Warden of the reservation?
Chapter 7 • Who do Bernard and Lenina meet on the Reservation? • How is Lenina’s reaction to the Rez satirical? • What is the effect of Lenina’s reaction to the child nursing? • Compare Linda to Lenina
Chapters 8 and 9 • Compare John and Bernard • Why does Shakespeare have such a meaning for John? • What theories about London and the other place does John have? What gave him these ideas? • When John is alone looking at Lenina sleeping, what are his thoughts?
Chapters 10 and 11 • “…no offence is so heinous as unorthodoxy of behavior. Murder kills only the individual—and after all, what is an individual?…We can make a new one with the greatest of ease…Unorthodoxy threatens more than the life of a mere individual; it strikes at Society itself…”
Chapters 12 and 13 • “Pierced by every word that was spoken, the tight balloon of Bernard’s happy self-confidence was leaking from a thousand wounds.”—metaphor • How does John clash with the new world? • How is love and romance satirized?
12 & 13, cont. • What is the attitude about science that the government holds? • What “crimes” have Bernard, John, and Helmholtz committed? • Shakespeare as “propaganda technician”
Chapters 14 and 15 • Explain John’s behavior after his mother dies. • Grief • Death-conditioning • Soma
14 & 15, cont. • Find quotes in which Huxley satirizes the following: • Loss of knowledge of God • The human attempt to create a utopian world.
Chapters 16 and 17 • What does Mond say is the reason Othello could not be the same in the new world? • What happened in the Cyprus experiment? • The conversation between John and Mustapha Mond covers at least four areas:
16 &17 cont. • Their goal is to arrive at truth through contradiction • Question and answer is the strategy • There is a logical structure • Each man voices a set of principles
16 and 17, cont. • When the controller says: “You can’t make flivvers without steel—and you can’t make tragedies without social instability,” what does he mean? • Society is based on the iceberg
Chapter 18 • What is John’s new home like, and how does he feel about it? • How does John handle the taunting that he endures? • How does Huxley describe John’s suicide? • In the Foreword, how does Huxley explain why the book had to end this way? • How would Huxley re-write the ending?
Credits • Andrew C. Jackson • MCMLXXXIII