Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian
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Far in the future, the World Controllers have finally created the ideal society. In laboratories worldwide, genetic science has brought the human race to perfection. From the Alpha-Plus mandarin class to the Epsilon-Minus Semi-Morons, designed to perform menial tasks, man is bred and educated to be blissfully content with his pre-destined role.
But, in the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre, Bernard Marx is unhappy. Harbouring an unnatural desire for solitude, feeling only distaste for the endless pleasures of compulsory promiscuity, Bernard has an ill-defined longing to break free.
A visit to one of the few remaining Savage Reservations where the old, imperfect life still continues, may be the cure for his distress…
A fantasy of the future that sheds a blazing critical light on the present--considered to be Aldous Huxley' s most enduring masterpiece.
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Brave New World opens with a student tour of a London laboratory where the production of babies takes place. A great deal of time goes into explaining the different processes go into separating the five castes from each other the highest being Alpha and the lowest Epsilon in social standing, intelligence and height. All of this is done to insure the continuation of the motto Community, Identity, Stability. Everyone is conditioned to be happy within their ranking seeking immediate gratification and grateful to do their part.
In some cases, it doesn’t always work as is with Bernard who is significantly shorter than other Alphas and is unhappy making him a social misfit. On a trip to a “Savage” reservation with Lenida in New Mexico, which shows the vast differences to the new world state and the old, he meets another outsider, John, whose mother was from London. The introduction of John to London life shows that ignorant happiness in life and truth about life don’t always go together.
A significant amount of time is spent on drug use, sexual behavior and contempt for religion, which are the main reasons according to ALA.org that it has been banned in schools. I think that it might be better to read it in a setting where you discuss and analyze the material due to the satirical nature of the book. It’s not directly about any of the things it’s spends so much developing, because it’s a critique on society and even though it was written in the 1930s it still has relevance today.
I never read Brave New World in school and I wish I had. I might have gotten more out of it with guidance, but I tend not to enjoy satirical books outside of the general take away message, but this book is an interesting look on how society could be and in many ways how it is now.