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by Aldous Huxley. Brave New World. Welcome to Brave New World. Brave New World is a 1932 dystopian novel by Aldous Huxley, set in London in the 26th century.

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welcome to brave new world
Welcome to Brave New World

Brave New World is a 1932 dystopian novel by Aldous Huxley, set in London in the 26th century.

The novel anticipates developments in reproductive technology, eugenics (gene manipulation) and hypnopædia (sleep hypnosis) that combine to change society.

The world it describes could in fact also be a utopia, albeit an ironic one: Humanity is carefree, healthy, and technologically advanced. Warfare and poverty have been eliminated, all races are equal, and everyone is permanently happy. The irony is, however, that all of these things have been achieved by eliminating many things — family, cultural diversity, art, literature, religion and philosophy.

genre introduction
Genre Introduction
  • This novel is considered science fiction (aka: sci-fi).
  • Sci-fi uses elements that are largelypossible within scientifically established or scientifically postulated laws of nature.
genre introduction1
Genre Introduction
  • Brave New World qualifies as sci-fi because…
    • Takes place in the future
    • Changes the known record of humans and nations
    • The saturation of technology within society: altering human genetics, the ability to clone humans, and “conditioning”/training humans to love working
brief introductory notes
Brief Introductory Notes
  • BNW is a type of post-apocalyptic literature
  • Post-Apocalyptic literature: speculative fiction that details the “end of the world” (not entire eradication) but focuses how the survivors choose to rebuild the world
    • Focused on how the world ends through nuclear means, biological weapons, or a natural disaster
brief introductory notes1
Brief Introductory Notes
  • Post-apocalyptic literature is designed to illuminate specific themes/lessons:
      • 1) History has been forgotten (or mythologized: turned into legend and is too unbelievable to be true)
      • 2) The new world only cares about the immediate present they live in, and do not care about history. They typically believe history cannot teach us anything.
      • 3) The new world also has little concept or care about “a future” – they are the future, they see no need to look ahead or plan. They are already that great.
brief introductory notes2
Brief Introductory Notes
  • Setting is either
    • (1) heavy farm land,
    • (2) technological but with limitations or fear of the use of technology
    • (3) saturated in technology
  • BNW will be option 3. They abuse technology.
brief introductory notes3
Brief Introductory Notes
  • Caused by the increasing threat of nuclear war after WWII and the Cold War
    • The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in its modern past has influenced authors to include devastating events to change our timeline to remind us of how dangerous WE are.
aldous huxley1
Aldous Huxley
  • Aldous Leonard Huxley:
    • Born July 26, 1894, Died November 22, 1963
    • Born in Surrey, England
  • British writer who emigrated to the United States.
  • BEST KNOWN for his novels and wide-ranging output of essays
    • He writes about complex ideas in order to shed light on what should be easily noticed
aldous huxley2
Aldous Huxley
  • As a writer:
    • Huxley functioned as an examiner and sometimes critic of social morals and ideals.
    • He discussed the possible misapplications of science in human life
      • Human rights
      • The acceptance of differences
      • The abuse of technology and science
    • His belief: we should use science to better life, not make us lazy or incompetent.
the huxley family
The Huxley family
  • The Huxley’s were best known for producing a number of brilliant scientific minds

Blue = scientist or writer White = notable figure in literature/science education

aldous huxley3
Aldous Huxley
  • Son of a Leonard Huxley (a writer and a botanist) and his first wife Julia Arnold
    • Grandson of Thomas Henry Huxley (the man who helped Charles Darwin and his theories of evolution)
    • His brother, Julian Huxley, was a biologist also noted for his evolutionary theories
aldous huxley4
Aldous Huxley
  • His father's side were a number of noted men of science
  • His mother's side were people of literary accomplishment
  • BNW is a scientific novel… it’s the “best of both worlds” as he wrote about science.
aldous huxley5
Aldous Huxley
  • 1908: His mother Julia died in 1908 (Aldous was only 14)
  • 1908: His sister Roberta died of an unrelated incident in the same month
  • 1911: Aldous suffered an illness

(keratitis punctata: cornea

inflamation) which seriously

damaged his eyesight

  • 1914: His older brother, Trev, committed suicide
aldous huxley6
Aldous Huxley
  • Aldous's near-blindness disqualified him from service in World War I
  • His eyesight does recover slightly with heavy doses of medicine, but also a trial treatment.
  • He is able to attend Balliol College in Oxford thanks to his eyesight returning.
aldous huxley7
Aldous Huxley
  • Following his education, Huxley was financially indebted to his father and had to earn a living.
    • This was his own decision. He wanted to offer his parents a form of support and thanks for being able to become educated.
aldous huxley8
Aldous Huxley
  • Huxley had completed his first (unpublished) novel at the age of 17 and began writing seriously in his early twenties
  • He writes about the dehumanizing aspects of scientific progress and on pacifist themes
    • His novels focus on how humans are dehumanized if a power structure is too dominant
    • He writes to warn us to question/fight back (if needed and appropriate)
aldous huxley9
Aldous Huxley
  • Huxley moved to Hollywood, California in 1937 with his wife and friend Gerald Heard
    • At this time, he writes about how most people in modern civilization agree that they want a world of'liberty, peace, justice, and brotherly love', though they haven't been able to agree on how to achieve it.
aldous huxley10
Aldous Huxley
  • In 1938 Huxley became a Vedantist (follower of the mystical branch of Hinduism).
    • Focused on serenity, peace, karma, and a simple life with great rewards
  • However, Huxley was intrigued by all religions. He felt that knowing and respecting all differences in the world would garner understanding on how to make the world unified in peace.
aldous huxley11
Aldous Huxley
  • After World War II Huxley applied for United States citizenship, but was denied because he would not say he would take up arms to defend America

He is against violence as part of his beliefs – he found it unconstitutional that he had to say something against his beliefs in a country founded on religious freedom.

aldous huxley12
Aldous Huxley
  • Huxley's wife, Maria, died of breast cancer in 1955. He was remarried to Laura Archera, who was herself an author
  • In 1960, Huxley was diagnosed with throat cancer
  • In the years that followed, with his health deteriorating, he wrote the utopian novel The Island, and gave college and institutional lectures
aldous huxley13
Aldous Huxley
  • His ideas were foundational to the forming of the Human Potential Movement
    • The Human Potential Movement came out of the social environment of the 1960’s
    • It was formed to promote the cultivation of extraordinary potential (creativity and happiness) believed to be largely untapped in most people.
aldous huxley14
Aldous Huxley
  • The Human Potential Movement…
    • The movement is premised on the belief that through the development of human potential, humans can experience an exceptional quality of life filled with happiness, creativity, and fulfillment.
    • It’s a belief focused on using potential to bring about a positive social change at large. If you are happy with your life, that means you are happy with your family and your job.
aldous huxley15
Aldous Huxley
  • At a speech given in 1961 at the California Medical School in San Francisco, Huxley warned:

"There will be in the next generation or so a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them but will rather enjoy it".

aldous huxley16
Aldous Huxley
  • On his deathbed, unable to speak, he made a written request to his wife for "LSD, 100 µg, intramuscular"
    • He was in such pain, he asked for assisted suicide
  • She obliged; he died peacefully the following morning, November 22, 1963
  • Media coverage of his death was overshadowed by the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
aldous huxley17
Aldous Huxley
  • In all of Huxley's mature writings, one finds an awareness that seems to bridge the gap between "The Two Cultures"
    • 1) the sciences (intelligence)
    • 2) the humanities (literature)
  • Huxley's satirical, dystopian, and utopian novels seldom fail to stimulate thought.
  • His main message (especially in BNW) is that tragedy frequently follows from egocentrism, self-centeredness, and selfishness
utopia definition and origin
Utopia: Definition and Origin
  • Positive meaning: human efforts to create a better, or perhaps perfect society.
    • Radical ideas to change the world
  • Negative meaning: the human effort discredits ideas as too advanced, too optimistic or unrealistic, impossible to realize.
    • It’s a level of perfection that seemingly could never exist.
utopia definition and origin1
Utopia: Definition and Origin
  • Keep in mind: some authors have described their utopias in detail, and with an effort to show a level of practicality
  • It doesn’t change though: the term "utopia" has come to be applied to notions that are (supposedly) too optimistic and idealistic for practical application
utopia definition and origin2
Utopia: Definition and Origin
  • The term utopia was coined by Thomas More
  • 1516: his book Utopia
utopia definition and origin3
Utopia: Definition and Origin
  • The term "utopia" is Greek. When it’s translated, it means “nowhere” or specifically “no place”
    • IRONIC: People want to live in the most perfect of places possible, but the word utopia translates to something that seems wholly impossible.
thomas more s utopia
Thomas More’sUtopia
  • Thomas More depicts a rationally organized society, through the narration of an explorer who discovers it.
  • It is the “perfect” world in which all citizens have property and equal rights, and are proud enough to defend their country if they need to.
    • No war. No crimes. And if someone DOES commit a crime, they are exiled/banned/assassinated by a mercenary (their place in society was to rid the world of parasites) pending their level of crime.
thomas more s utopia1
Thomas More’sUtopia
  • While the book seems like a “good world” – it is More making a poignant statement.
    • In our world, there is a severe lack of patriotism, lack of intelligence, lack of desire to better one’s country out of selfishness
    • His “utopia” could never exist due to our own faults, our own ambition, and our own greed.
utopia dystopia
Utopia = Dystopia
  • Dystopia = an ideal society, impeccably flawed
    • This is what BNW will actually be.
    • Huxley will present a world that is seemingly perfect and ideal, but will be tragically flawed.
scientific and technological utopias
Scientific and Technological Utopias
  • These are set in the future, when it is believed that advanced science and technology will allow utopian living standards
    • EX: the absence of death and suffering; changes in human nature and the human condition.
    • All of these will be present in BNW.
scientific and technological utopias1
Scientific and Technological Utopias
  • Technology has affected the way humans have lived.
    • Aspects of normal functions are replaced by artificial means. Includes sleep, eating and even reproduction.
    • Technology has struck a balance with technology and it is merely used to enhance the human living condition.
scientific and technological utopias2
Scientific and Technological Utopias
  • Opposing this optimism is the prediction that advanced science and technology will, through deliberate misuse or accident, cause environmental damage or even humanity's extinction.
    • It’s a warning: technology could be the destruction of the world… ifwe allow it.
    • This is that connection to post-apocalyptic literature.
caste system
Caste System
  • Definition of Caste System:
    • a rigid social system in which a social hierarchy is maintained for generations, allows little mobility out of the position to which a person is born
    • Refers to the old racial differences between conquerors and the conquered
    • The basis of the caste divisions was social and economic rather than racial
caste system1
Caste System
  • Indian society was divided into four hereditary divisions
    • First (and highest in importance) was the Brahmans (priests and teachers).
    • Second was the Kshatriyas (rulers and warriors).
    • Third was the Vaishyas (merchants and traders)
    • Fourth was the Sudras (workers and peasants).
caste system2
Caste System
  • The Indian caste was hereditary and marriage was only permitted within the same caste.
  • You could work with other castes, but that was the extent of the socializing.
caste system3
Caste System
  • Each caste:
    • Had its own occupation
    • contacts with another caste was strictly regulated and often prohibited in friendly circumstances
  • Social status is determined by the caste of one's birth; rarely ever transcended.
  • In general, caste functions to maintain the status quo in a society. It creates stability.
caste system in bnw
Caste System in BNW
  • Ranked from highest to lowest:
    • Alpha
    • Beta
    • Gamma
    • Delta
    • Epsilon
caste system in bnw1
Caste System in BNW
  • Each has its own job and position within society.
  • Each has its own difference of rights.
  • Each wears is own specific color outfit – no caste shares colors.

Sound familiar?

caste system in bnw2
Caste System in BNW
  • All are programmed to assume the other class is worse than their own. That’s why the lowest of the classes do not revolt, they are programmed to be happy.
    • Done through behavioral programming and through sleep hynopeadia and physical conditioning (pre-natal and post-birth)
    • They train me to believe because I am _______ class, I am the best. I don’t want to have a high-stress job. I don’t want a low-grade job. They make me happy by instilling a lie.
caste system in bnw3
Caste System in BNW
  • Alpha – Oneegg per person, no two identical people. Developed naturally, not fully genius’ (some are, by natural selection).
  • Beta – Consider upper class, is also a one egg per person. No two alike, but does share common physical features as they may have the same “mother”
  • These are the TOP TWO classes - the “upper class” if you will
caste system in bnw4
Caste System in BNW
  • The final three are chemically altered groups of people. All groups undergo a cloning process, rapid maturation, oxygen shortage (and other deformities).
caste system in bnw5
Caste System in BNW
  • If you are a Delta, Gamma or Episolon, you may or may not be able to do the following (*depends on your caste):
    • Read a book
    • Like wildlife (flowers, trees, etc.)
    • Go to sporting events
    • Work a high-level thinking job
    • Wear specific colors
  • It doesn’t matter though – they believe this is right and fair. They don’t know about “freedom”.
henry ford modern industrialism1
Henry Ford & Modern Industrialism
  • Henry Ford created the first inexpensive mass-produced automobile -- the Model T -- and revolutionized American industry by developing and refining assembly line manufacturing.
    • It’s the assembly line that Huxley focuses on for his novel
    • Person A does Job A. Passes their work on to Person B who does Job B. It’s ORDERLY.
henry ford modern industrialism2
Henry Ford & Modern Industrialism
  • In 1903 the Ford Motor Company was founded, and in 1908 Ford introduced the Model T.
  • By 1924, 10 million Model T cars had been sold due to Ford’s introduction of the assembly line
    • Mass production and structured order are what the people of the novel crave.
pre post world war i effects
Pre & Post World War I Effects
  • The novel is set centuries in the future – but uses the fears of the past to show this.
  • Totalitarian governments, mass produced consumer products, loss of individual identity (caught up in national goals)
novel structure
Novel Structure
  • At its core Brave New World is a "novel of ideas".
    • He takes everything we find to be important, precious, worth fighting for… and devalues it in this world.
    • But remember, it is never to offend – it’s only to make you remember that there are things in this life worth fighting for, worth having a voice over.
bnw structure
BNW Structure
  • Part One: sets up London and to show how this fake world is vastly different from our own in terms of government, technology, people, religion, etc.
    • Huxley wants you to realize it’s not our beliefs, or own world. Doing this first makes you pity the world for what it became.
    • Also – it helps his purpose of you wanting to prevent this abuse of power.
bnw structure1
BNW Structure
  • Part Two: sets up the “Reservation” – a place that has not been destroyed by technology
    • Huxley shows you the goodness that once existed before we let technology take over. This world is supposed to be us, in how both good and bad openly exist.
bnw structure2
BNW Structure
  • Part Three: the novel concludes with London changing from “shocking” news.
    • Huxley ends the novel showing that one person is not enough o change the world – we must band together and be a unit.
    • One person in a crowd is still just that: ONE. And he/she is still human (they are allowed to make mistakes).
    • You can’t sit back and let another fight for you – you must be part of the process.
welcome to brave new world1
Welcome to Brave New World
  • Brave New World is Huxley's most famous and enduring novel. The title comes from Miranda's speech in Shakespeare's The Tempest, Act V, Scene I:

"O wonder! How many goodly creatures

are there here! How beautious mankind is! O brave new world, That has such people


It will be said by John Savage, the “hero”.

and before we end
And before we end…
  • Don’t forget all that Macbeth stuff we talked about last year. It DOES get referenced here in this novel. As does a lot of other Shakespeare and European references.
  • Huxley wants you to connect with a world we know (we know Shakespeare and a lot about London/Europe). His point is that people change, not the world.