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1984 and Brave New World

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1984 and Brave New World

Undoubtedly, the thought of living in, or forming a utopian society has flashed through nearly every person’s mind. A few people have even tried to make this ideal dream society a reality. Unfortunately, within the pursuit of these societies the leaders become corrupt and begin to become paranoid with the fear of rebellion. Hundreds of people were murdered during the reigns of Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin in what they considered measures to maintain peace and stability within their respective “perfect” society. One must also consider the hardships that the citizens were forced to endure while living under these oppressive governments.

This dream of forming and maintaining a utopian society was immortalized in two novels dealing with the same basic ideas, 1984 by George Orwell and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Both of these novels deal with the lives of main characters that inadvertently become subversives in a totalitarian government. These two books differ greatly however with the manner in which the government controls the population and the strictness of the measures taken to maintain this stability. This essay with compare and contrast the message and tone of each novel as well as consider whether the utopia is a positive or negative one.

In 1984, George Orwell explores the many facets of a negative utopia. Orwell seems to focus on the measures that the government takes to maintain a public of plebeians who have no personality or identity and believe that they are not unique individuals, but instead are part of a greater senseless mob of people who constantly work for a hostile and oppressive government which is involved in incessant wars. These people are taught to love. They then learn to fear their government because they believe all of the propaganda that is constantly instilled into their minds. They willing follow their government without contest for the duration of their meaningless lives. The government controls all forms of the media (thus denying the people the basic right of free speech) and use it to personify the government (known as “big brother”) .The government therefore seems omnipotent, or all knowing and always correct. Forecasts are changed from one week to the next always proving the government was correct. As was mentioned before, many of the rights that present day Westerners take for gran...

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...nly contemplate living as an alpha or beta because we cannot contemplate living without being able to formulate ideas or basically think. No one considers living as one of the lower castes and only working throughout life until death. Thus, it seems that Huxley intended to portray an acceptable society on the surface with undesirable traits hidden deeper. In conclusion, both of these novels portray an attractive life in a utopian society, if one can conform to the rules. When people cannot conform to the societies in which they dwell (as the main characters of both novels cannot) they are branded as subversives and punished as traitors. Life in 1984 would be almost too unbearable to live. Life in Brave New World is only acceptable if one is willing to live a life of the caste one is in, that is to produce (as a lower caste) or consume (as a higher caste).

This essay has compared the differences between the societies in these two novels. There is one great similarity however that both make me thankful for having been born into a freethinking society where a person can be truly free. Our present society may not be truly perfect, but as these two novels show, it could be worse.
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