This is just a small aspect of the clinical language that Huxley has used to draw us into his world in the first chapter; both speech and narrative are written very factually and clinically – everything has a scientific explanation. To support this scientific approach, Huxley has punctuated his novel to reflect the need for order; throughout chapter one we come across blocks of speech, mainly explanations of processes, which are punctuated giving the effect of a conveyor belt and the continuous motion of the processes in the centre. This is clearly evident when the Director explains, ‘Bokanovsky’s Process’ to the students,
‘…after ten minutes, the container was lifted out of the liquor and its contents
re-examined; how, if any of the eggs remained unfertilised, it was again
immersed, and, if necessary, yet again…’
the use of commas and semi-colons gives the impression of an order of events and helps to create a visual image of the process.
Another way in which Aldous Huxley draws us into ‘Brave New World’ is by educating us at the same time as the students who have come to the centre, presumably to learn about the processes which take place there. The effect of this is that we are personally included in the text and feel as though we are being trained to work in the centre and therefore it is vital that we listen carefully to what is being explained to us and take in everything that is said. Because we see ourselves as these students, their reactions to what is happening in the story give us an insight as to how the society would react to different things; the fact that they think it is a ‘privilege’ to be talked to by the ‘Director’ tells us a lot about his status in society and that they respect him and his words. The word ‘privilege’ is emphasised in chapter one because it is repeated several times; another technique that Aldous Huxley uses to demonstrate the things that are vital to the society and that are of importance to the people within it, they are repeated several times so that we remember and value them ourselves.
The society of ‘Brave New World’ seems to have a necessity to give everything a label; every room, every place, every process and every person has a title or is referred to be a name. Many of these titles are words, which we, as readers, cannot relate to because we do not recognise but by the way in which Huxley presents them, we build up an image of their significance and level of importance. An example of this is that ‘bokanofskified’, a word which we certainly do not use ourselves, is not capitalised which suggests that it is a regularly used noun and we should accept is as something quite common whereas the ‘Social Predestination Room’ is of more individual importance and therefore is capitalised in this context. As well as giving things labels, we are also introduced to a lot of things in the first chapter in terms of figures and the amount of them that there are, can be, have been or could be which relates to the clinical and factual methods of the Centre,
‘And you get an average of nearly eleven thousand brothers and sisters in a hundred
and fifty batches of identical twins all within two years of the same age.’
We soon begin to see everything in quantities too and we realise the Society’s need to produce and reproduce in ‘batches’ although we do not necessarily understand why.
Aldous Huxley does not introduce us to many characters in the first chapter but this is intentional in that his aim is to de-familiarise the reader and to make them feel uncomfortable with what they are reading. By not emotionally involving us with the discovery of characters early on, Huxley maintains the sterile, impersonal and mass-produced society that he intended to create. The characters that we do meet, however, give us further insight into ‘Brave New World’; the most important and dominant of these is the ‘Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning’ who is introduced towards the bottom of the first page. The respect that the students have for this man influenced our views on him and phrases such as, ‘straight from the horses mouth’ suggest that there is more to this man than we can obtain from this short extract – something that he has done in his past perhaps. Linking with this, the students write down everything he says in their notebooks, irrelevant of its significance, ‘begin at the beginning’ they write down at one point, and this gives the impression that they are clinging on his every word and are in awe of his character and, because the students continue to be so throughout the chapter, we too develop a respect for him. The third time he is mentioned, the Directors title is abbreviated to the, ‘DHC’ without any explanation but we are expected to accept this in the way that the students do – with no questions asked. Because of the lack of any explanation for this, Huxley imposes a forced acceptance of issue on the reader on this occasion and many others throughout the first chapter – dictating our views and opinions. The importance of the Director is also signified in the way Huxley narrates the story, with the director’s speech embedded and filtering into it. When the director is not speaking, much of the narrative is reportage of his speech, ‘he insisted’, ‘he explained’ and at times we are unsure as to whether he is actually talking or whether it is narrative of his speech. His marked speech interrupts narrative of his own explanations showing a level of what could almost be described as dictatorship on his part.
Mr Foster is also introduced to the reader in chapter one, the director fires a question at, ‘a fair haired, ruddy young man who happened to be passing’ and the man, who we soon discover is Mr Foster, immediately replies to what was essentially a very simple question requiring a very simple answer, with a detailed and passionate response which includes statistics, reflections and ambitions. What he says, and the way he delivers his reply, with no allowance for interruption or comment, suggests that what he is doing is simply reciting a pre-prepared speech and that any of the other workers would have given exactly the same answer. This is supported by the fact that Mr Foster was a character who, ‘happened to be passing’ suggesting that the question is merely a trigger for any of them. From Mr Fosters speech, we get a clear impression of society’s views on what goes on in the ‘Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre’, ‘It’s quite astonishing when you’re used to working with European material’ is his comment on a Negro-ovary and its statistics, showing that they are passionate about their job but not about the issues created by it.
This way in which the characters seem oblivious to what we see as wrong makes us feel quite uncomfortable about the processes taking place in ‘Brave New World’ which is the author’s intention; not only are we de-familiarised with the processes and concepts, but also with the characters and their attitudes towards these things. This discomfort is emphasised in the dialogue between the characters and the individual speeches in the first chapter in the technique of clashing registers, something else that Huxley uses on several occasions to distance the reader and make them question what they are reading. An example of a clash of registers is, ‘Rams wrapped in thermogene beget no lambs’ which seems very unnatural to the reader; this in turn demonstrates how Huxley feel about the development of science and society over time and it links the audience with the setting and time.
Aldous Huxley successfully draws the reader into ‘Brave New World’ in the opening chapter. He does this by combining a number of different methods and techniques; although he introduces us to a lot of information very quickly, the inclusion of phrase repetitions such as, ‘for of course’ and, ‘naturally’ root our belief in what we are being told and we accept that we should actually already know and understand what we are being told. By alienating us from the visual and aural aspects of the ‘Brave New World’, Huxley provokes out natural human instinct to explore and to create our own views which we find strongly reflect those of the students and so, society, as we are given no alternative at all. Our inclusion in the tour, which the students are being given throughout the chapter, is very effective as it takes us right to the core of the action and almost engages us in the ‘privilege’ of being educated by the Director himself. The use of concrete nouns creates an impersonal, methodical and clinical atmosphere and the effect of these being predominantly plural is that we see the lack of individuality in society, which is emphasised by characters such as Mr Foster and what they say. Finally, the way in which the Director’s speech and narrative often become confused demonstrates the fact that personal views are blurred with what society believes to be correct and that they are, in fact, intended to be the same. From the de-familiarity of the ‘Squat grey building of only thirsty-four stories’ to the complete understanding of ‘Bokanovsky’s process’ we come a long way in chapter one of Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ and become included in the attitudes, values and actions of his society.