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Stability vs Liberty

By jurob5 Apr 01, 2013 1848 Words
Stability Versus Liberty

Lakshmi Mittal once said: “At the end of the day you have to keep the emotions away” (thinkexist.com). However, this piece of advice may not be as wise as one may think. The novel Brave New World by Aldous Huxley demonstrates that being absent of emotions is in no way simple. The futuristic society within the novel, The World State, idealizes an absence of emotion in their population and therefore regulates all feelings to ensure a stable environment in an attempt to create a utopia. All religiousness involving God has been eliminated and Ford is worshipped instead; poetry is dead. Humans are separated into castes by the level of intelligence they were bred to have. These changes makes this futuristic world is entirely different. Pursuing this further, when John the Savage enters this emotionless world, he feels entirely out of place as he, unlike the other members of The World State, possesses a strong sense of emotion as well as individuality. John is considered a savage because of this and is viewed as a sort of alien compared to the solid, uniform society where happiness is found through sex and drug use. Point in fact, the control of feeling and creativity in this novel demonstrates to the reader the immense role emotion and individuality play in our society. Our society and the emotions we possess are questioned by observing John’s rejection of The World State through Huxley’s writing style and his use of euphemisms. All the while, we are being persuaded by the characters’ use of different types of rhetoric. To begin, Brave New World is filled with conflict, which aids in showing the differences of a society with and without emotion. John the Savage is a character within the novel that had been brought to The World State. When he becomes part of this ‘Brave New World’, there is obvious dissension between a society lacking creativity, sentiment and passion, and a man who possesses all of these characteristics. In fact, John was brought up on a reservation and became a man interested in literature, myths, religion and poetry which are all linked to emotion and instability, the opposite of what is required to live in collaboration. John disagrees with the views and restrictions of this new society, and therefore rebels against it. Since The World Sate insists on being happy and following the rules, the only way to rebel is to be miserable and refuse to conform. To do so, John “refuses to take soma, and seems much distressed because the woman Linda, his m(other), remains permanently on holiday. It is worthy of note that, in spite of his m (other’s) senility and the extreme repulsiveness of her appearance, the savage frequently goes to see her,” explains one of the habitants of the World State who does not understand or approve of the concept of love (Huxley 160). Here, John refuses to take soma and continues to love his mother and see her consistently to show his love because he does not agree with the ideology of The World State and instead stays true to his own morals and values. In Brave New World, John is much like someone from our society today if we were to be put into a new and different environment. Due to John’s similarity to a person from our society, the reader can make the comparisons and connections between these two ways of living. For instance, just as do many people in the world as we know it, John has an affinity for Shakespeare and when he finds out that the world controller, Mustapha Mond, has read Shakespeare’s poetry, his ‟face lights up with sudden pleasure,” writes Huxley. However, poetry is entirely censored from The World State by the world controllers for fear that it may wreck the established social stability. When asked about why the books on God are censored, Mond explains that The World State is forbidden from reading them “for the same reason as we don’t give them Othello: they’re old; they’re about God hundreds of years ago. Not about God now.” (Huxley 231). Many of John’s illicit desires, such as his love for Lenina who is a member of the World State, can be found in Shakespeare’s work. For example, his obsession with Lenina even though they’re from different worlds can be linked to Romeo and Juliet’s love even though they were from different families. Censored poetry is just one of the many differences of a world that accepts instability and one that does not. Due to these comparisons found in the conflict between John and The World State, we can view a strong contrast of the two ways of living, one way with feelings, and one without. In essence, Aldous Huxley demonstrates the contrasts between these two types of society through the fight of The World State against John the Savage, thereby demonstrating the role emotions and social instability play in our society. In addition, Aldous Huxley’s writing style in Brave New World contributes to the differentiation of a world absent of, and one with emotion. This novel is written in a way that the author is disconnected from what is being said; he offers no opinion while voicing the story. Brave New World is filled with ideas as well as scientific explanations and consequently, Huxley must write in a fashion that conveys the ideas clearly and consistently while making the reader develop their own conclusions. Huxley writes very clearly “One egg, one embryo, one adult– normality. But a bokanovskified egg will bud, will proliferate, will divide. From eight to ninety- six buds, every bud will grow into a perfectly formed embryo into a full-sized adult. Making ninety-six human beings grow where only one grew before. Progress.” (Huxley, 6). As shown here, Huxley writes in a clear, concise manner without opinion, allowing the reader to form their own understanding and from there, they may create their own opinion and make links to our world. Specifically, the link left to conclude by the reader is the strong effect emotions play in their society compared to the characters in the book’s society. For this reason, the author must write pointedly and without his opinion to allow the reader to accomplish this. Although the idea of consistent clarity without emotion on the narrator’s part may sound boring, Aldous Huxley ensures a captivating read and includes imagery and personifications to keep the reader interested which is also necessary when deriving conclusions from the novel. Throughout, Huxley includes imagery in segments of Brave New World in instances where it may seem dry. For example, he writes “All alone, outside the pueblo, on the bare plain of the mesa. The rock was like bleached bones in the moonlight. Down in the valley, the coyotes were howling at the moon.” (Huxley 136). Undoubtedly, these three sentences are engrossing because they are filled with imagery, a personification as well as a simile all while conveying ideas and messages. Due to the articulateness, comprehensibility and strategic use of literary devices of Brave New World, the conclusions of the effects emotions can have in our world are made possible to discover. Furthermore, the use of euphemisms in this novel allows the reader to understand the casualness of drug use and sex in The World State. Sex and the use of soma, a drug instantly making the user happy, are some of the most frequent and impulsive activities in their society. For the reader to be able to understand the incredibly casual nature, he refrains from using abrupt words and instead uses unsympathetic terms, completely detached from emotion, just like the society is. For example, instead of using a harsh term such as “sexual relations”, Huxley would instead use the term “erotic play” and in another instance, he uses the term “auto- erotism” (Huxley 32) in place of a cruder term such as masturbation (Huxley 33). With these alterations of the novel, the reader’s train of thought is not bothered by a startling word choice and the vocabulary matches the society’s mood, substituting anything that would cause instability, and masking the astringency. Euphemisms are important to the flow of the novel and contribute to the mood, allowing the reader to more easily speculate and theorize on the book and therefore make the comparison of the difference a lack of sensation and passion would have in a society with ease. Assuredly, rhetorical devices are used in Brave New World to contribute to the tone of the novel. Since The World State and its population are based on the absence of emotion, whereas the character of John the Savage is based on the opposite, there are different rhetorical devices used for each of the subjects. The reasoning of The World State is based upon logos as they aim for stability. However flawed it may be, their reasoning is that a stable environment where everyone’s needs are met by suppressing their emotions with soma as well as censorship and by being conditioned for their destined job will create a utopian society. On the other hand, John’s character is based almost entirely on emotion, and therefore pathos. He believes that humans need to express their emotions and should not be censored from literature, religion and love; he believes that it is not morally right to suppress humans from such constituents of life. In fact, John states ‟It all seems to me quite horrible,” when told about the reasons for censorship; he entirely disagrees (Huxley 221). Additionally, John postulates that the restrictions set by The World State are wrong because they are unethical, which also presents use of ethos. The novel is a battle between logos expressed through the point of view of The World State, and pathos combined with ethos, both expressed by John. Essentially, the contention between the use of these rhetorical devices adds to the comparison between the variance of the presence of emotion in different societies. In final analysis, Brave New World is an inspiring novel which allows us to reflect on the effects of emotion and individuality due to the author’s strategic structure and style. This novel leaves the reader with a better understanding of our society and emotions by describing the tale of John’s rejection of The World State. Certainly, the reader’s ability to compare Brave New World to our modern day society with ease is granted by Huxley’s clear and concise writing style which includes a generous amount of literature devices paired with characters who use different types of rhetoric: ethos, pathos as well as logos. Indeed, this novel provides the reader with a greater understanding of the enormous impact emotions, creativity and individuality have in our society, hereby demonstrating just how different the world would be in their absence; this novel is inspiring and thought-provoking. Whether this new society really is utopia or if, oppositely, it is a lake of fire and brimstone is up to the reader to decide since they are able to form their own opinions due to an education through Huxley’s novel.

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