Explain how Huxley draws the reader into 'Brave New World' during chapter one.

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Explain how Huxley draws the reader into ‘Brave New World’ during chapter one.

Aldous Huxley uses a variety of both literary and linguistic techniques to draw the reader into ‘Brave New World’ in the first chapter of the book. Almost subconsciously we accept aspects of this world, which, on opening the front cover, were completely alien to us, and things begin to seem increasingly ‘normal’.

The first of the techniques that Huxley uses us to alienate the reader from the visual and aural screen in the text. The first sentence in the first paragraph is just one example of this, ‘ A SQUAT grey building of only thirty-four stories’. To a twenty-first century reader, or one preceding that, the oxymoron of there ‘only’ begin thirty-four stories would make them feel very much a tourist in the landscape, for we get the impression that this building is surrounded by other, much larger ones which is quite an intimidating image. From the first paragraph, we also learn of some of the values of the Society that Huxley has created, we hear their voice in the use of the word ‘only’ but also when we learn of the World State’s motto, ‘COMMUNITY, IDENTITY, STABILITY’ which we understand as belonging, individuality and that the world is in a stable situation.

These three abstract nouns are the only aspect that we can relate to and recognise in the first paragraph and so we naturally cling on to the image that they have created. The next thing that we notice about Huxley’s style in ‘Brave New World’ is his frequent use of concrete nouns to describe the ‘Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre’, throughout the whole chapter. The effect of this is that we feel alienated and disorientated from the workplace as it is being described and it also conveys that lack of emotion that there is. The laboratory is described as being, ‘cold’ which makes the reader feel unwelcome and the nouns are often plural, ‘overalls’, ‘workers’, ‘tubes’, which makes us feel as though we are looking in on a process rather than being a part of it and also contradicts the motto in its statement of ‘identity’. No one thing is described in great individual detail, which gives us a very bleak first impression of this world.

Where abstract nouns are used, they have no real significance to the reader, we learnt that, ‘it was a rare privilege’ for the students to be given a tour by the Director but we do not know why and so are excluded from the text. Other abstracts are devalued by not being capitalised, words which we would begin with a capital and value in today’s society are not proper nouns in ‘Brave New World’. Words such as, ‘north’, ‘summer’ and  ‘winter’. This devaluation of abstract nouns is another technique that the author uses to draw us into the society in his book and to help us understand its attitudes and values; the human, man made things, such as the ‘Fertilisers’ and ‘Fertilisation Room’ are capitalised and anything natural is not giving the impression that the human race is in control of nature. This control of anything natural is evident on several occasions in the first chapter of ‘Brave New World’, ‘against any possible infiltration of the day’ which seems quite ironic when the whole purpose of the centre is to re-create and build on the natural process of reproduction. The ‘Hatchery and Conditioning Centre’ is completely devoid of anything natural and we can see this from the way in which they describe part of the insemination procedure, a very natural process in today’s society, ‘they have to be kept at thirsty-five instead of thirst-seven. Full blood heat sterilises.’

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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’ ...

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