Brave New World vs. The American Dream

1503 Words7 Pages
The American Dream has always been rooted in the idea that no matter what circumstances a person is born into, that person can rise to the top with hard work and seized opportunity. This dream--the underlying belief of American exceptionalism--is the reason millions of immigrants have come to the U.S. over the years. In 1932, Aldous Huxley, a Briton, published a book that flew directly in the face of that great American ideal. In Huxley's Brave New World, citizens are pre-destined before birth to a certain socio-economic group and conditioned during early life into accepting that status. While that idea horrifies its American readers, their expectations for their own socio-economic mobility are steadily drifting away from the realities of life in the U.S, and the consequences for this shift could be severe. Americans believe they live in an upwardly mobile society that is the opposite of Brave New World's predestined existence, but perhaps that opposite is, in reality, a mirror image.

Huxley's Brave New World fast-forwards several centuries to an imaginary civilization that has moved past traditional birth and child-rearing by parents. This society takes the guesswork out of life in order to promote consumerism and reduce social unrest. There are five inescapable castes: Alphas, Betas, Gammas, Deltas, and Episilons. Caste is crucial because a citizen's work is progressively more menial the farther down the hierarchy he or she sits. In this civilization, fetuses are kept in bottles and manipulated with chemicals to be prepared mentally and physically for the jobs that have been assigned to them. After decanting (birth), they are subjected to years of conscious and sub-conscious instruction that teaches them not to question their ...

... middle of paper ...

...reality.

Works Cited

DeParle, Jason. “Harder for Americans to Rise from Lower Rungs.” The New York Times 4 Jun. 2012: 1-4. Nytimes.com. The New York Times Company, 4 Jan. 2012. Web. 25 Apr. 2012.

Foroohar, Rana. “What Ever Happened to Upward Mobility?” Time 14 Nov. 2011: 1-5. Time.com. Time Inc., 14 Nov. 2011. Web. 25 Apr. 2012.

Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World. New York City: Harper & Row, 1969. Print.

“Poll Results: Economic Mobility and the American Dream.” Chart. Economicmobility.org. The Pew Charitable Trusts, 19 Mar. 2011. Web. 28 Apr. 2012.

“Upper Bound.” The Economist [Chicago] 15 Apr. 2010: 1-4. Economist.com. The Economist Newspaper Limited, 15 Apr. 2010. Web. 25 Apr. 2012.

Zakaria, Fareed. “The Downward Path of Upward Mobility.” The Washington Post 9 Nov. 2011: 1. Washingtonpost.com. The Washington Post Company, 9 Nov. 2011. Web. 25 Apr. 2012.

More about Brave New World vs. The American Dream

Open Document