Loss of Freedom and Individuality in the Modern World - W.H. Auden and Brave New World

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The loss of freedom and individuality in the modern world could be countered by human warmth and compassion but all too often it’s not. In Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and the selected poetry of W.H. Auden, the protagonists routinely lose individuality and freedom but hardly ever is this loss countered by expressions of human warmth and compassion. ‘John the Savage’ enters the Brave New World but loses the freedom and individuality he has grown up with. In the same way ‘Miss Gee’ and the Jewish refugees of Auden’s poems suffer loss without the compensation of either friendship or empathy. The composers both give prime opportunities for their characters to present human warmth and compassion but these opportunities usually pass by. Both the composers show the loss of freedom and individuality through the exploration of the idea of exclusion and isolation of individuals and their values. Huxley achieves this through the creation of the outsider, a natural man ‘John the Savage’. Auden presents us with the German – Jewish couple who no longer fit into the society that they once belonged to. When ‘John the Savage’ is brought out of the reservation where he had full freedom and individuality, though he is lionised in the Brave New World, he loses both his freedom and individuality. John feels this loss so strongly that his only defence is to lock himself away. Huxley italicises John’s personal pronouns “ ’you ought to have asked me first whether I wanted to meet them.’ ” (156)The italicisation of ‘me’ and ‘them’ shows how the lack of human warmth and the denial of his values have led to the loss of John’s individuality. At no time is John’s loss compensated by a demonstration of human warmth and compassion even though the ideal opportunity had presented itself to the citizens of the Modern World. Similarly in Auden’s ‘Refugee Blues’ he creates a couple who’s plaintive cry; “Yet there is no place for us, my dear, yet there is no place for us.” This repeated cry...
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