Throughout the dystopian novel Brave New World, Aldous Huxley paints a portrait of destroyed innocence in a bildungsroman storyline. Huxley’s novel resembles the trials and tribulations of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet as a direct comparison can be made between Juliet and John the [Noble] Savage, with their shared innocence destroyed by the undeniable truth of the worlds they reside in. Huxley warns his audience of technology controlling every nuance of a person’s life and he insists that we as individuals must be our own person against the complacency of society. In a way, the world slides into chaos and anarchy throughout the novel because of the so called “way of living,” through the disciplines of their society.
In every society, there are multiple different “worlds” that make up a whole of society. The same situation is seen in the novel, as it encompasses the lives of the natives on the reservation, and the high tech society of brave new world. The reservation portrays the version of living that involves the influence of community involvement in activities and even in their religion. The natives worship a Christian-like deity while still worshiping traditional Native American gods. This shows a strong connection between the community members, but the reader clearly sees that John is not welcome at these events. John continuously attempts to become a part of the “savage family”; however, he is alienated because of the color of his skin and his origins of birth and mother. When Linda describes the reservation as, “Everyone belongs to everyone else” (121), Huxley points out the extreme of the society where everything they receive goes to all in the community. John the [Noble] Savage desperately wants to belong to this society but is rejected and later learns that it may have been for the better.
Conversely, the society of brave new world focuses on the technological aspect of a community. It shows the emphasis on individuality and self-mediation. Brave new world shows the destruction of a society through the allowance of self medication and a focus on personal wants and needs without thought to the society as a whole. The Director describes brave new world by saying, “the secret of happiness and virtue- liking what you’ve got to do. All conditioning aims at that: making people like their unescapable social destiny” (16). Concluding, the way you are taught to live is the way you will learn to live and in that mind set, the way of living you have been brought up to know, becomes the only way to live.
Although both societies have there benefits and problems, John finds himself ostracized from both. He attempts to change himself in order to fit into what seems to be the only way of living, only to find that he cannot force himself to fit into the stereotypical lives of the people he has come to know. As he learns more about the society of brave new world he realizes that his infatuation with Lenina is not reciprocated because of the lack of feeling in her society. This realization brings him to the brink of insanity as he feels like even more isolated than he did before. Huxley describes John’s fears of his newfound knowledge of the society he entered by writing, “pain was a
fascinating horror” (258). This quote exemplifies the introduction of true pain into John’s life and how John felt he wasn’t good enough for either world, when in reality he was the absolute best.
At one point in everyone’s life they feel as if they don’t fit in like they think they should. John the [Noble] Savage journey’s through this bildungsroman storyline to find the horrors of two extreme societies. One is the reservation where personal possessions do not exist and the other, is brave new world where the society is built on individual cares without thought to the society as a whole. Aldous Huxley shows how the dangers of an industrial society and the misuse of knowledge can lead to a depraved society.