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Brave New World

By Aldous Huxley (8)

Aldous Huxley’s futuristic novel takes place in the year of Henry Ford, the genius of mass production, who is a noted God-like figure in Brave New World’s society. After a cataclysmic war, the cowed citizens have accepted political domination. Like the overseers of Ford’s assembly line, World Controllers enforce mass production of babies labeled by class and function. Some are destined from incubation to pursue the professions, while others are relegated to the lowest jobs. The populace is pacified with regular doses of the drug soma, ensuring contentment, though despite these measures, there are renegades, like the intellectual Helmholtz Watson. The novel’s anti-hero is Alpha Bernard Marx, who deviates from the norm, pursuing romance, rather than routinized sexual relationships. His crush on Lenina leads to an adventure on the Savage Reservations, where biological family life has been preserved. There he meets John, who has been brought up to respect morals and human ties, but who eventually devolves into disillusion. Bernard and Helmholtz are ultimately banished to an island, and the novel ends with a mindless orgy, and John’s inevitable self-destruction. A stirring and chilling portrayal of a supposedly utopian society, Huxley's stunning novel will push students to reevaluate societal ideals and the meaning of freedom.

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