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In the context of its time, Brave New World can be seen as an expression of the beliefs and concerns shared by the people of the 1930's.

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Introduction

In the context of its time, Brave New World can be seen as an expression of the beliefs and concerns shared by the people of the 1930's. The decades of the twenties and the thirties were ones of crisis and disillusionment unravelling in the political crisis that unfolded in the wake of the New York crash of '29. The socio-economic problems of the late 1920's and early 30's drove Huxley to reflect deeply upon the particularly negative and destructive elements of the times. Brave New World would appear to be a diffusion of new ideas and attitudes of the time whilst reflecting Huxley's scepticism regarding history, progress and human rationality, (Encyclopaedia Britannica Millennium Edition PC Rom). Huxley focused on the growth of modern technology and totalitarian ideology emerging at the time. This unrest and bewilderment speak avidly in Brave New World as Huxley exploits the anxiety of his bourgeois audience of Soviet communism and 'Fordist' American capitalism. Huxley himself noted; "under Hitler/Stalin rule, personal ends were subordinated to organisational means by a mixture of violence, propaganda and systematic manipulation of minds", (Aldous Huxley 1994 'Brave New World Revisited' Flamingo Press, pgs 37-8). The emergence of fascism demonstrated how political liberalism was in full retreat in the latter part of the 1920's. In Spain, many attempts at fascism were made while Benito Mussolini ensured a totalitarian regime in Italy. ...read more.

Middle

freezing scientific progress), "it would be sheer cruelty to afflict them with excessive leisure" (Aldous Huxley 1994 'Brave New World' Flamingo Press, pg 205). Unemployment also reduces purchasing power therefore the new worlder's are given differing levels of intellect in order for all jobs to be catered for, maintaining full employment and full purchasing power. The two extremes of governments of the time; the dictatorship of Lenin/Hitler and the laissez-faire attitudes of America were problematic to Huxley. A medium was required without the harsh realities of totalitarian regimes. The presidents of the time in America; Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge "The business of America is Business" and Herbert Hoover all believed in non-intervenist government in which markets were allowed to operate without government interference. Huxley would have noted however that monopolies were allowed to form and inequalities of wealth and income reached record levels, hence the intervenist nature of the controllers in Brave New World in which production and consumption are controlled and ordered. Indeed, Huxley could therefore have foreseen ways of avoiding the great depression of October '29. "After World War I, the economy of the US saw rapid growth but the Wall Street crash brought an abrupt end to this and resulted in worldwide depression", (Anthony Wood 1964 'Europe 1815-1945' Longman, pg 411). A fundamental cause of the great depression has been cited as lying in the overproduction and under-consumption of commodities. ...read more.

Conclusion

A drug such as soma could be ensured against political unrest by guarding against anti-social behaviour and reinforcing the effects of government propaganda. Indeed, it would appear that in Brave New World, Huxley heightens the populace's already exaggerated fear of state sanctioned mood drugs producing zombified addicts. Brave New World presents the possible future world as seen from the 1930's with the new concepts of 'test-tube babies' and 'genetic engineering' (in fact all the potentials of science and technology for changing human life). Along with George Orwell's 'Nineteen Eighty-Four', Brave New World is an influential book in terms of anti-utopian literature and thus a byword for all that is repellent and abhorrent in the future world. It would thus appear that Huxley's writing expresses the disillusionment of the twenties and the cynicism of the future, reinforcing Huxley's status as "one of the most acute and observed observers of the social and ideological trends of the interwar period", (David Bradshaw 1994 'Aldous Huxley Between the Wars: Essays and Letters, Chicago Press, pg 253) The book is conceptual rather than literal, a dystopian novel making a statement about the desire for social stability which will ultimately destroy the fundamental human right to make free choices, "Huxley's sombre mood in the late twenties was epitomised in Brave New World, a defence against what he regarded as the vulgarity and perversity of mass production", (David Bradshaw 1993 in 'Brave New World Revisited' 1994, Flamingo). ...read more.

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