Brave New World: Utopia Without Shakespeare?
The Utopia of the future- something every human seemingly wants, but is it worth it to throw away everything for happiness and live in a world where only a few people can recall a man named Shakespeare? In Aldous Huxley's satirical novel, "Brave New World," this cellophaned world, polished and regulated to perfection, is a reality. In this Utopia, people like Bernard Marx, an intelligent and adverse Alpha, the highest class of humans, are conditioned to worship the Great Ford, to believe everything the Controllers say, to amuse themselves with sports, "feelies" and non-utilitarian relationships and, most of all, to take soma, a drug simulating happiness, whenever a problem should arise. No one feels, no one reads or experiences art, no one discovers, no one cries, no one grows old, no one feels pain or fear and absolutely no one is unhappy.
Different from regular Alphas, having mental excesses and physical shortcomings as a result of his decanting process, Bernard seeks meaning in his perfectly structured civilization. Discontented with the daily routine in "Utopia," Bernard attempts to venture out in search of mental and physical freedom. He does so by visiting the primitives in a simple Indian village outside of his ordered world. There he meets the savage named John, the "natural" son of a Beta woman who was forced to live in the Indian village after getting lost several years before. Natural childbirth is unheard of in Utopian society with its totally structured birth control system. Through John's experiences and realizations in the "Brave New World," the nonsense of the conditioned and controlled humans, living in Utopia, is understood. John ...
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... real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin. . . I'm claiming the right to be unhappy. . . Not to mention the right to grow old and ugly and impotent; the right to have syphilis and cancer; the right to have too little to eat; the right to be lousy; the right to live in constant apprehension of what may happen tomorrow; the right to catch typhoid; the right to be tortured by unspeakable pains of every kind. . . I claim them all (Huxley 288).
Certainly, the two existing places in Huxley's "Brave New World," Utopia and the Indian village contrast drastically. By representing two totally different societies, an actual and an ideal, they contribute to the central meaning of the work, to show that a perfect society in which happiness prevails is not the answer. Living your own life as an individual, in an imperfect world, is far more rewarding than Utopia.
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