The Failure Of Choice In Aldous Huxley's Brave New World

1588 Words7 Pages
Everyone’s days are filled with choices. They start of small; what to eat for breakfast, what shirt to wear, whether or not it worth chancing it by giving the dog full roam of the house while the brand new unmarked shoes sit peacefully next to the bed. Throughout the day and throughout one’s life, the choices gradually grow bigger and bigger, until suddenly someone is faced with a decision that the consciously know will alter the course of the life. In a world so full of choice, it is hard to imagine any kind of society where they do not exit. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley manages to do this: it shows a world in which the pressure of choice is seemingly taken away. A citizen’s life is determined from before they are anything more than…show more content…
Bernard is constantly torn between worlds. When he feels like an outsider in the World State he claims he is against it, but as soon as he becomes noteworthy in it, he is happy to live in the system he had been against. He continues this pattern until the very end of the book. Huxley shows the most clearly when John and Helmholtz are being attacked by the Delta children, “urged by a sudden impulse, [he] ran forward to help them; then thought better of it and halted; then, ashamed, stepped forward again; then again thought better of it, and was standing in an agony of humiliated indecision” (214). Bernard, unlike Lenina, is an outsider in a world created so that no one has to feel negative emotion or make difficult decisions, and is therefore constantly doubting himself and making and remaking his choices. Helmholtz, in contrast to Bernard, fits in perfectly. He is “every centimeter an Alpha-Plus” (67), in height and in knowledge. Even though he lives so comfortably in the World State, he is clever and curious enough to question it. Unheeded by Bernard’s hesitance, Helmholtz chooses to go against the World State and everything that it stands for. He chooses to stop going to his committees and seeing his women, and, in a sudden, and perhaps rash, moment of bravery, decides to share a poem about loneliness with his students, “This time I thought I’d give them one I’d just written myself. Pure madness, of course;…show more content…
An excellent example of his caste, he is clever and, to the society of the World state, physically perfect. Mond started off as someone who valued science so much that he was coming up with illicit and unorthodox ideas. Clever, thoughtful, and inquisitive, Mond would be the type of person expected to lead the revolt against the World State. But he felt conflicted; he valued the system of the World State as much as he valued science. In a system that had tried to eliminate all choice, Mond had to make the biggest decision of his life. He chose stability as the most important thing, explaining that it is worth giving up things one personally might value just as much, or even more, “that’s the price we have to pay for stability. You’ve got to choose between happiness and what people used to call high art” (220). It seems a risk to allow so many of those in the higher castes to choose whether they believe in the values of the World State, but Mond trusts that people will keep the “everyone belongs to everyone” mentality and choose what is best for the world. He tells John and Helmholtz, “duty’s duty. One can’t consult one’s own preference. I’m interested in the truth. I like science. But truth’s a menace, science is a public danger” (227). He has chosen what he thinks is best for everyone else, and he expects everyone to do the same, even though he may miss his old life and old values. It is plain that he often thinks

More about The Failure Of Choice In Aldous Huxley's Brave New World

Open Document