Brave New World
The subject of freedom and enslavement is apparent in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. The science fiction novel offers a comparison between two worlds which are a contrast of each other: the first one is the primitive society which is the home for John and other savages and the other one is the utopian society which the home for Helmholtz Watson, Bernard Max, and their fellow citizens. In this case, the primitive world is a symbol of freedom, while the utopian world, on the other hand, and is a symbol of slavery. The story in the Brave World orbits around the lives of the three main characters: the savage John, Helmholtz Watson, and Bernard Marx. The book gives an exploration of the way the three people in the "World State" are being subjected to slavery, with few of them making attempts to go against the principles governing the way of life in the World State.
Setting and Plot
The Brave New World establishes its setting from the start. Huxley announced the novel's setting: it is chiefly set in the Central London in 632 AF (After Ford); the setting in London is a fictional world which is one of the 10 regions of the world. The story's events alternating between the Reservation and the modernized London. The latter is a representation of civilization, while the Reservation is a symbol of the primitive society. This setting of the novel offers the foundation of the query of freedom and enslavement as a major theme of the Brave New world. The larger proportions of the inhabitants of the World State are in slavery, except two of them making attempts of rebellion counter to the principles of the society they are living in (Matter, 151).
Rebellion in the New World
The rebellious characters are Helmholtz and Bernard. Bernard was at the forefront in rebelling against the World State, making attempts to dare his society's principles. Through his persuasive moves, his friends become tempted to rebel as well. Among his friends is Lenina who is also his girlfriend. Bernard knows that Lenina is not free but herself believes that she is free, "Don't you wish you were free Lenina? I don't know what you mean. I am free" (Huxley, 78-79). Bernard believes that every person can be free in their own way rather than according to the ways required by the society. In realizing this, he attempts to convince her to have a child, explaining that it was amazing to be a mother. It is odd to realize that getting into marriage or becoming a mother are prohibited in the dystopian society since it is believed that doing so is against the World State's stability: these are just signs of the forbidden freedoms in the new world. Helmholtz becomes the second character to become rebellious against the ways of the World State society. He is one of the most admired characters by Aldous Huxley, and the case of appreciation is due to the level of his intelligence. As already mentioned, Helmholtz is among the characters who became rebellious.He shows his rebellion through poems which send messages in criticism of the World State (Huxley, 157-158). Through his writings, Helmholtz feels that he was having his freedom by writing the poems. He felt that he was just starting to use the power inside him. Something seemed to be going to him (Huxley, 158-159).
The Space of Freedom in the New World
In the strange utopian world, freedom has no space; everyone is directed and organized. The Brave New World is a society where its inhabitants are not free, for freedom has been forgone for the sake of contentment and steadiness of the state. Different from the New World is John (Savage) who is the novel's central character. John stands to represent the primitive societies. It can be seen that he is the most admired character in the novel for he is the one who can be mostly identified. His problems started when he is got up by civilization (Grushow, 45). The message he is conveying is for the freedom of the people of the World State. He despises their self-satisfaction belief for he is not satisfied with the so-called utopianism. He tells the people that he had come to them for the purpose of freeing them (Huxley, 186). He acknowledges that his late mother, Linda died as a slave in the utopian society. He rejects Mustapha Mond, who is among the state controllers, who stated that the world was stable at then. According to Mond, the people were happy, satisfied, safe, healthy and never worried about dying. On the contrary, John sees a society where its people are travailing in ignorance, have no father or mothers, plagued with old age, no wives, no children and are conditioned to behave in a way the control system desires them to do so. Whenever anything goes amiss, there is soma in return (Huxley, 193). In the utopian state, every person seeks to be stable and happy at the cost of their liberty. According to Like H. G., the people in the World State are self-satisfied and are not willing to free themselves from enslavement which Mond forced on them.
Utilitarianism in the State of Utopia
It is, in fact, true that the totalitarian state does not offer freedom. The happiness of its people is under the control of the masters and it is strange that they are not entitled to any freedoms not to be happy.This is confirmed from the words of John:
"Not to mention the right to grow old and ugly and impotent; the right to have syphilis and cancer; the right to have too little to eat; the right to be lousy; the right to live in constant apprehension of what may happen tomorrow; the right to catch typhoid; the right to be tortured by unspeakable pains of every kind" (212).
For this case, it is for a fact that the Brave New World gives an impression of the gallant perceptions into the frightening programmed and ordered society. Ward states that people in the utopian New World society were no longer free but act according to the orders of their master (Ward, 178). In his work, Huxley gives a comparison of two distinct worlds, the world where material wellbeing is highly valued at the expense of freedom and the primitive one whereby its inhabitants enjoy their natural freedoms.
Brave New World and the Contemporary Society
Huxley in the Brave New World gives an illustration of the society whereby materialism and happiness are set as mandatory goals, which has therefore led to the development of mediocrity among the citizens. The current society is similar to the one Huxley talks about, in that people are living under the control and supervision of a small fraction of controllers who are dominating every aspect of the people's lives including their happiness, their love, work and other rights. Just like the Brave New World where giving birth to children is discouraged, the current society encourages the use of family planning measures basically as a way of bringing stability. These are all the aspects of a totalitarian world. It is in this strange world where parents opt to adopt children rather than giving birth to their own. It is in the utopian society where people are conditioned and drawn off from a "test-tube" forced to partake of the obligations which are obligated to them by the World State. For the current world, marriages are not founded on the true love as it was in the primitive society but rather, founded on the worldly image of the parties getting involved. For instance, a savage boy cannot get married to a royal girl due to the differences in their class and status. The Brave New World by Huxley is literally an attack to the contemporary utopia of the social reformists whereby poverty and lack of stability is a social vice labelled by the state at the cost of personal liberties of thought and action (Coleman, 6). Huxley makes an argument that the aims of the state are destructive to the man as a human being for it has replaced the sense of humanity with a machine-human which is indoctrinated in the cradle and with no other option but to act as per the way it has been programmed by the state. In the World State just like the modern society, the government solves all the people's problems at the expense of enslaving them, thereby stripping the political, social and religious tenets of their functions. In fact, the people in the World State no longer have souls, and they have lost the human feeling of themselves (Firchow, 1976: 271).
Huxley's Criticisms of the World State
The American Dream is based on the idea that everyone has an opportunity in the United States, however, it is only those who are willing to suffer a little bit that achieve the best. It is through this dream that people have been forced to trade their freedoms and the sense of humanity for the sake of being inclined to the Dream. This is what Huxley is criticizing the World State where the inhabitants do not have an option but to run with the world; they do this not out of free will but due to the pressure of being required to be just like the other cogs in a big machine made and managed by the government.He goes on to attack the World State by enforcing a repugnance towards the future world through the frequent mention to the present contemporary society. The New World is unbearable to personal freedom majorly due to the pervasions of the most cherished institutions and the underlying ideas.
The novel gives an exploration of how the three characters in the world state are being subjected to slavery, with few of them making attempts to go against the principles governing the way of life in the World State.In conclusion, Huxley stated that if a man became completely satisfied and happy with the society being perfectly efficient, he stops being a human and would even become intolerable. Through the two characters who became rebels and the savage, the Brave New Worlds focused on freedom, control, and enslavement. The absence of freedom as a result of materialism and stability has thus led to the death of individuality. Huxley's Brave New World, therefore, has a connection with the contemporary society.