Mass Media and Society
15 February 2013
A Brave Censored New World
It is obvious why someone who believes in censorship might choose to object to Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. This ‘new world’ is built on sexual promiscuity, abolition of family, racism, and drug abuse in the most literal sense. A world which takes the positive aspects of Western society such as technological advances and individualism and turns it into a rigid caste system, in which the members of each caste are mass produced to the specifications of assembly line uniformity.
Readers who have standards of sexual behavior are confronted by a world of promiscuity, considered a virtue, and the sole function is pleasure, not reproduction. The role of reproduction, however, is taken over by a mass production assembly line to make member of each class equal. Women are required to use a form of birth control known as “Malthusian Belts” in order to forego pregnancies. This shows the purpose of sex is pleasure to guarantee happiness, which is the motto of this world, and allows the state more control over the population by not allowing reproduction on their own.
Family relationships are seen only in the negative sense since the only family one has is other members in a relating class. This diminishes all the feelings of love and connections to others, which reduces the possibility of people caring for each other and causing them to disrupt order; this explains the reason why sex is so casual. The concept of family gives you a sense of individuality; however, this feeling is demolished in Brave New World.
As individuality is stressed throughout the book it is hard to identify where racism comes about since everyone is alike. A Native American student who was required to read the book took up the issue of racism herself in the novel when the reader views a frontier-like outlying culture of Native American’s in which babies are born naturally. “It is this culture which is owned by savages.” Throughout the chapters we see Huxley painting the stereotypes of Indians as negative rather than “noble savages living in harmony with nature.”
As though the view of an obscene culture and pleasure of promiscuous sexual activity was not enough to dissuade the population from rebellion, Huxley brings in the widespread use of a drug known as “soma” as another means of assuring a frictionless society. With frequent doses of this socially acceptable narcotic pain is not considered a feeling. The readers locate reduction as a theme of all that is known as good in a regular society, but depressed in the novel.
There have been many attempts of censorship with this novel, such as the Native American family who managed to get the book off of the school’s curriculum. Schools across the country have banned the book for sexual promiscuity, racism, drug use, and insensitivity. However, overall the entire novel is on the top of the “100 best novels of all times” list and continues to be taught in schools.
The irony of the censorship of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World is that censorship means the depression of communication by any means because of words, ideas or images deemed offensive. This novel is a relevant and significant piece of literature with insights on the danger of letting other people do your thinking for you and that, exactly, is what censorship is.
This utopia, which Huxley created, is not supposed to be viewed favorably. In a way you are supposed to be disgusted by it. Readers are realizing the reality of scientific advancement and the dangers that come along with it along with the side effects that come along with drug use and not being able to express our individuality. If society restricts the material offered to young adults, it’s hard to see where they will get the motivation to make changes to challenge the norms.