Brave New World: Constructing Utopia or Discontent?

Topics: Aldous Huxley, Brave New World, Huxley family Pages: 5 (2046 words) Published: November 11, 2013

A utopia is a place or state of things in which everything is perfect, a place where every person is happy and every thought is pure. Yet, the definition varies among different people and can be interpreted differently. It is often thought that freedom makes up a perfect society, but in the novel Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, the idea of genuine human liberty is no longer valued. The community indirectly strips all choice from every citizen in the society, and unfortunately, this is happening in America as well. Americans are moving into the dystopian direction of the society presented in Brave New World. Medicine has a huge impact on modern day America. In the book, the constant drug usage creates a world with bandaged perfections. No matter what a person is doing, and no matter how they are feeling, in Brave New World, the people in the community take Soma to make them feel better. While Bernard is on a date with Lenina, he feels uncomfortable because she is taking soma, so, “He put away the soma bottle, and taking out a packet of sex-hormone chewing gum, stuffed a plug into his cheek and walked slowly away towards the hangars, ruminating” (Huxley 60). He feels that he needs to take two different drugs to fit in with Lenina and to escape from his uncomfortable feeling. By using the sex-hormone chewing gum to help him feel better around Lenina, his judgments are impaired, yet he feels more comfortable with her. Not only that, but his awkward feelings he had felt before, are now swept away, along with his sobriety. The continued use of drugs demonstrates Bernard’s inability to focus and acknowledge his actual problems. The fact that Bernard “stuffs” the hormone gum into his cheek implies how he is doing it fast, impulsively, and not thinking about the consequences. People in this society do not think before they take these pills, it is an instinct for them. He masks his reality by taking a cocktail of painkillers; the more drugs he takes, the more he is escaping from reality. A critical source agrees by stating, “effects… generated by soma, [include] dulling people’s wits and providing an outlet for their primal needs” (Varricchio 113). Soma reduces the intelligence of the people who use it, and the more they use it and become reliant on it, the harder it is for those persons to cope with reality. The individuals cannot function properly without the drugs because they are constantly craving Soma to feel at ease. The pills provide an artificial please, which is obvious, because they do not truly become calm or happy. The drugs overpower their actual emotions. Bernard --and the society he lives in-- looks for an easy way out; they resort to drugs to solve their problems, just like many in modern day America. Whether it is alcoholism, or popping a pill to mask their feelings, Americans are veering onto the same path as this novel. A recent newspaper article states, “A Los Angeles Times investigation has found that in nearly half of the accidental deaths from prescription… the deceased has a doctor’s prescription for at least one drug that caused or contributed to the death... They were middle-aged adults…with bad backs… and other non-life threatening conditions” (Glover, Scott). A doctor assigned these prescriptions to the patients; the fact that they are legal gives a bigger emphasis on the concept of drug abuse. Doctors with professional training are letting this happen by mindlessly giving out prescription medicine, and the patients are freely taking them. The sources of these deaths come straight from the doctors—the people who should be helping them. However, their medical problems are not severe, yet they still need to use something to try to ease those minor problems. Both of these societies constantly feel the need to take drugs to eliminate any trivial source of pain, which is the real problem. They not only overuse the pills, but they feel that they need to take them in order to function. However, when one...
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