Comparing Brave New World and George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)

Comparing Brave New World and George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)

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Aldous Huxley's Brave New World is more relevant today than George Orwell's 1984. Although both of the two totalitarian societies are based on plausible premises, the Utopia depicted in Brave New World still has a chance of appearing today, while the Big Brother-dominated society created by Orwell, being based to some extent on the totalitarian societies that existed at the time of the book's inception, is simply obsolete.
     Brave New World remains more believable in modern times because the events that led up to the creation of Huxley's Utopia have the greater chance of occurring tomorrow. In both novels, the birth of the totalitarian society is brought on by a catastrophic war that probably involves the entire world. However, in 1984, the war is in the process of being fought, giving the reader the impression that somewhere in this world, there is still a non-totalitarian government which could defeat Orwell's nightmarish police state. In Brave New World, the war that preceded the creation of Utopia has long since passed; it often appears as though Utopia has always existed. This makes it much more believable than Big Brother, especially since it seems more likely to occur when the world is at peace. Also, the war depicted by Brave New World contains technology that seems particularly significant in modern times. In Utopia, Western Europe Controller Mustapha Mond mentions that the war preceding the inception of their society was fought using Anthrax Bombs. Because biological weapons have become more common part of military arsenals in recent years, readers of Brave New World have more reason to believe that its version of the war that starts the rise of totalitarianism could happen today. Finally, 1984 ...


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... in Huxley's Brave New World, is more universal and more relevant to modern society than 1984's Big Brother. While both Utopia and Big Brother are equally plausible versions of a future society, the two were brought into existence by different preceding events. Also, Big Brother has a faint historical basis: Orwell meant for it to reflect the totalitarianism of the communist governments that existed in his era. Huxley gives no indication in Brave New World whether Utopia echoes a particular totalitarian society in real history, allowing it to remain plausible in an era when the brutal Communist regimes that existed in Orwell's time are virtually gone. Finally, Big Brother ensures its dominance by inflicting pain on dissidents while Utopia uses pleasure. Utopia, therefore, would stay in power more easily because pleasure is a more effective method of control than pain.

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