White Noise and the Brave New World

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In both Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley and White Noise, by Don DeLillo a character tries to change the forces that govern his world, but inevitably fails. This struggle is seen in Helmholtz Watson’s character in Brave New World and Jack Gladney’s character in White Noise. Each character is put in a position where he must decide whether he should remain loyal to his world and its governing powers or be true to himself and the life he wants to lead. Both characters choose to be loyal to themselves, and although they do not achieve their ultimate goals, they do benefit from their struggles. Brave New World presents a world with one goal, to keep everybody happy so that society can remain economically and socially stable in order for the World State to remain in power. Humans are mass produced and chemically predestined to be part of certain castes, to avoid any argument about who has what place in the pecking order. The World State controls people’s philosophies by feeding them hypnopaedic phrases, which are repeated to them in their sleep hundreds of times a night for years. All relationships are kept short term and public. This prevents passionate feelings from developing, which could otherwise be channeled to overthrow or at least destabilize society. “And if ever, by some unlucky chance, anything unpleasant should somehow happen, why, there's always soma to give you a holiday from the facts” (Huxley, p. 237). For the vast majority of the population, the World State’s goal is achieved. Nearly every member of society is happy, or at least oblivious to any other form of existence, and is thus satisfied. Either way, society remains stable. However, there are some citizens who believe there is meaning in life beyond the vanity of hypnopaedic messages and soma. Helmholtz Watson is one of these people. Helmholtz Watson teaches at the College of Emotional Engineering and, among other things, writes many hypnopaedic phrases. He is at the top of the World State’s...
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