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Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

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Introduction

Aldous Leonard Huxley was born on July 26, 1894. In Goldming, Surrey southeast of England. Aldous' father was the son of Thomas Henry Huxley, a great biologist who helped develop the theory of evolution. Undoubtedly, Huxley's heritage and upbringing had an effect on his work. Gerald Heard, a longtime friend, said that Huxley's ancestry "brought down on him a weight of intellectual authority and a momentum of moral obligations." Throughout Brave New World you can see evidence of an ambivalent attitude towards the ruling upper class (A. Mathew). This fact and several other events in his life had crucial effect on Huxley's writing. Like England in the 1900s, Huxley's Utopia possesses a rigid class structure, one even stronger than England's because it is biologically and chemically engineered and psychologically conditioned. And the members of Brave New World's ruling class certainly believe they possess the right to make everyone happy by denying them love and freedom. Huxley felt that "heredity made each individual unique, and the uniqueness of the individual was essential to freedom"(Aldous Huxley: The...). An event that marked Huxley was his mother's death from cancer when he was 14. ...read more.

Middle

He also worried about the dangers that threatened sanity. In 1958, he published Brave New World Revisited, a set of essays on real-life problems and ideas we will find in the novel like overpopulation, over organization, and psychological techniques from salesmanship to hypnopaedia, or sleep- teaching. "They're all tools that a government can abuse to deprive people of freedom, an abuse that Huxley wanted people to fight" as put by A. Mathew. As Huxley states that there were "ninety six identical twins working on ninety six identical machines" (Huxley 48). This shows one of the many benefits of cloning humans. Another influences of Huxley would probably be because of the drugs he used to take. In the 1950s Huxley became famous for his interest in psychedelic or mind-expanding drugs like mescaline and LSD, which he apparently took a dozen times over ten years. Sybille Bedford says he was looking for a drug that would allow an escape from the self and that if taken with caution would be physically and socially harmless (Aldous Huxley: The...). The range of Huxley's interests can be seen from his note that his preliminary research for Island included "Greek history, Polynesian anthropology, translations from Sanskrit and Chinese ...read more.

Conclusion

Huxley himself later commented that we are moving in the direction of this Utopia much more rapidly than anyone could have imagined. At the time the novel was written only a comparatively few research scientists were concerned with conditioning, the importance of heredity and environment, and the effect of chemical imbalance on physical and mental development of the people. Today, governments, educational institutions, and industries are exploiting the results of research in these areas. The breadth and depth of Huxley's interests and ideas prompted one critic to refer to him as one of the most prodigiously learned writers of all time. In addition to his ten novels, Huxley wrote poetry, drama, essays, biography, and history. His interests and capabilities embrace art, religion, philosophy, music, history, politics, psychology - and this novel expresses Huxley's concern with the importance of each of these areas. After reading Brave New World I must say that not many novels cover so may social issues. As Mathew puts it "BNW looks at mans quest for domination of the natural world which when looked at closely the reader is able to see in doing this there is virtually nothing left that is natural or hasn't been manipulated to suite the controllers wants of a world based around commerce. ...read more.

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