Marxist Criticism And Gender Studies In Aldous Huxley's Brave New World
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In 1931 Aldous Huxley published Brave New World, giving a look into a dystopian society of the future. The book is written in a modernist literary view, and is a dramatized version of the issues surrounding the world during the early 20th century. Throughout the book, literary theories and schools of criticism such as Marxist Criticism and Gender Studies can be seen in Huxley’s representation of the main characters of the story and their interactions; he shows the disparity of society when they loose their ability to feel or have emotion, and uses the inter-workings of the World State to show class differences and the consumerist society that has formed due to the importance put on economic prosperity.
As the book begins, we are introduced to the director who is touring a group of students around the Central London Hatching and Conditioning Center. This is a facility that produces nearly identical human embryos through the Bokanovsky and Podsnap processes; as these embryos develop they are placed into one of the five levels of the social hierarchal system. These levels are alpha, beta, gamma, and epsilon; with alpha and beta being the most intelligent and highest ranking. As the levels go down the individuals become less intelligent and in turn preform more remedial work.
Here is where I begin to see the first parallels with Marxist Criticism. In a Marxist society or in Marxist Criticism, class differences are a major part of the social system. In analyzing a Marxist society it is necessary to look at who is oppressing and who is being oppressed; in the case of Brave New World the alphas and betas are the oppressors because they are conditioned from birth to be leaders and thinkers.
In any society in which a social hierarchy...
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... he would like to form a life with. This is something Lenina cannot comprehend; she tries to respond to John’s feelings with acts of sexuality. John is troubled by her inability to express comparable feelings to his; the interaction between John and Lenina exemplifies the shortcomings of members of the World State propagated by the controlling Marxist government.
Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World is an example of societal and economic criticisms voiced through a literary work that has gained worldwide recognition. The book shows shortcomings of society that were relevant when the book was published and still are today. Its complexity allows the reader to examine it from numerous literary and social criticisms; for me I feel Marxist Criticisms and Gender Studies were the best way to analyze the main points of the book. “O brave new world that has such people in it.”