The First Chapter of "Brave New World"

The First Chapter of "Brave New World"

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Huxley´s own style of writing and his ability to describe facts and actions in a very short and direct way also mean for the reader that the book is densely packed with special vocabulary which often might not be noticed while being read for the first time.

So, especially in the first chapter "The Centre" we have the task to reread and write down the most important facts that the Book´s first sentences contain, as this first chapter is meant as an introduction that simply throws us right into the scene and enables us to look around.

Not long after starting to read, namely in the second sentence our attention is being caught by numerous words, but especially by "World State" and the slogan "Community, Identity, Stability." At this point we are being suggested that there is a "World State" instead of hundreds of different nations and that it´s aims are what our societies have already been longing for for quite a long time. If thinking of a "World State" most people would imagine a totalitarian government or at least something withing that branch but a government that supports the Identity of each human can not be so bad at all. However the reader is not only satisfied with the positive future that mankind obviously is living in - which is expressed in sentence one: "A [...] building of only 34 floors" (line 1) - he is also a bit confused about the building´s name as there is no "Hatching and Conditioning Centre" in our present and so this has no meaning for us and we are curious what kinds of inventions humanity might have made so far.

In the very next paragraph we find ourselves inside this building and it seems as cold and sterile as a laboratory nowadays. This normality however is being broken by a director, leading his students into the room, stating that this was the "Fertilizing Room" and again the reader is confused about what function this building could have and it is not being revealed yet, as we follow the group of students and the Director´s conduction and only come to know that it is a rare privilege to be lead through this building, so that the students are very ardent in writing down each and every of the Director´s words.

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But with the words "[...] in this year of stability AF 632 [...]" our attention is again being drawn. Since "AF" means "After Ford" which stands in contrast to "AC" which means "After Christ", we can conclude that there must have been a fundamental change in the role of religion in the society. Not only that it´s relevance might have decreased, the religion seems to have been replaced by the believe in progress and machines and the reader is more than happy when he reads the following sentence that starts with "' I shall begin at the beginning ' [...]" as the wondrous changes might now be explained.

However, the Director starts with a rather boring description of a progress dealing with eggs and fertilizing whose results the reader is more or less unable to overview so that he is finally brought back into the story at the point when the different castes, the "Alphas, Betas, Gammas, Deltas and Epsilons" as well as Bokanovsky´s Process are being introduced. At this point the reader anticipates that this all must have something to do with cloning or at least with the artificial creation of life but again he hopes that all this would be explained in the next paragraph and indeed the whole meaning of the Bokanivsky´s Process is being revealed shortly and in simple words so that everyone could understand it.

So we get to know that humans are artificially being "made" in large groups - up to ninety-six per egg - so that we can suggest that there must be a lot of twins existing in that world. Besides we are again confronted with the castes and after another explanation of plain facts about the whole progress we finally come to the point where "Conditioning" is being explained, though we are only being given a very one-sided view. So for now, we only get to know that the eggs, in their development to an embryo, are being separated into classes regarding their intellect and physical features. The best ones get into the group alpha and the worst into group epsilon.

These groups determine which jobs the developing being will have to attend which furthermore mostly requires a special treatment which will enable him or her to endure harder conditions for example.

So, this first chapter gives us an insight of the basis of society which already shows us a basic difference to our society today regarding religion and development of humans and so - to some extend - regarding family life and the whole society and the reader is very keen on going on reading to discover what else has changed.

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