Essay, Research Paper: 1984 And Brave New World

Literature: George Orwell

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In Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and Huxley’s Brave New World, the
authoritative figures strive for freedom, peace, and stability for all, to
develop a utopian society. The Utopian society strives for a perfect state of
well-being for all persons in the community, and over-emphasizes this factor,
where no person is exposed to the reality of the world. As each novel progresses
we see that neither society possesses family values nor attempts to practice
them. Neither are passionate nor creative in factors such as love, language,
history and literature. Our society today, in general, is unsure about the
future: The nightmare of total organization has emerged from the safe, remote
future and is now awaiting us, just around the next corner. It follows
inexorably from having so many people. This quotes represents Watts’ fear for
the future; George Orwell and Aldous Huxley both explore the future state of
civilization in their novels. They both warn us of the dangers of a totalitarian
society. Both books express a utopian ideal, examine characters that are forced
into this state and are compelled to dealing with this society and all the rules
involved. The impracticality of the utopian ideal is explored in Orwell’s
Nineteen Eighty-Four and Huxley’s Brave New World. Both authors suggest that a
lack of familial bonds, the repression of human individuality, and the
repression of artistic and creative endeavors in order to attain a stable
environment renders the achievement of a perfect state unrealistic. The lack of
familial bonds, in both novels, contributes to the development of a dystopian
society. This lack of familial bonds is evident through genetic engineering, the
use of names, and a commonly used drug, soma. One of the first mentionings of
family in Brave New World is when the main character, Bernard, asks the
Controller, the ultimate leader, about the past and why their society does not
believe in families. His response suggests that authoritative figures do not
believe that there is need for a mother in society and therefore, the Controller
responds, “Mother, he repeated loudly rubbing in the science; and, leaning
back in his chair, these, he said gravely are unpleasant facts; I know it. But
then most historical facts are unpleasant.” The disregard for mothers as a
valuable figure in life contributes to the lack of familial bonds. In Huxley’s
Brave New World, human life is conceived in a bottle; the embryo no longer grows
in the mother’s womb, and therefore no bond is formed between the mother and
the baby. There are ‘bottle births’ rather than the birth of a baby from
it’s mother. There are also conditioning centers, which become a home for all
children for their entire childhood. In such circumstances, one does not receive
the special attention that you would receive from a family. Since they do not
have family, they do not receive love during their upbringings, therefore the
products of this society do not develop the values of love nor do they respect
themselves as sexual beings. Orwell’s choice in naming the Party’s leader,
‘Big Brother’ in Nineteen Eighty-Four, gives the reader the impression that
all of Oceania is like a huge family. There are no smaller individual families,
which results in this society’s lack of close and intimate relationships. The
first description Orwell gives to his audience of Big Brother is, ”
…standing like a rock against the hordes of Asia…doubt about his very
existence, seemed like some sinister enchanter, capable by the mere power of his
voice of wrecking the structure of civilization.” This first impression of
‘Big Brother’ is a frightening and violent image. It leads families to
believe that he is a poor role-model in depicting what the word ‘brother’
really stands for. “The word ‘brother’ is the name that one would use in a
family. The Big Brother, the Great Leader in Oceania, contributes to the lack of
family values and the corruptness of the Party. It is not a justice
comparison.” Using Big Brother’s name so often takes away from the family
ideal and begins to weaken family relationships. The use of soma, the perfect
drug, acts as a negative replacement for familial bonds. When an individual
cannot cope with the daily stresses of life they rely on soma, to turn their
stress into an illusion. This acts as a substitute to dealing with their
problems, rather than relying on family for support or advice. Soma is an
“euphoric, narcotic, pleasantly hallucinant… a holiday from reality.” It
leaves the individual with unresolved issues and results in an illusioned life;
this is not fair to the family, who has to deal with the individual’s reliance
of the narcotic. Soma has a negative effect on familial bonds, and contributes
to the achievement of a perfect sate, which is unrealistic. Authority, in the
novels Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-Four have an immense effect over
one’s identity and individualism, leading to a dystopic state. This great lack
of individuality is due to the conditioning process on the children, and the
maintaining of a stable environment. In Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and
Huxley’s Brave New World everyone is identical. Huxley writes about the loss
of human individuality. “Twelve of them ready to be made one, waiting to come
together, to be fused, to lose their twelve separate identities in a larger
being.” Each citizen loses power and pride in their own identity. Every human
being, in both utopian worlds, is conditioned to fit society’s needs. In Brave
New World, the DNA of a embryo is arranged exactly the same as several others,
producing several twins. Then as a child, you are put through different drills
and routines, including psychological conditioning, and “sleep-teaching”,
forcing you to become a product of a certain class: Huxley wrote out of his
scientific background and mass-produced his population in the fashion long
popular in science fiction, growing them in bottles and conditioning them from
birth in all the ways proposed by psychologists. This shows that the products of
the conditioning process do not know nor understand the realities of the world.
They are hidden in illusion their entire life and are modified from the time
that they are first placed in a bottle, to believe in the utopian ideals. In
Brave New World, John, the savage sees the illusion. “You’re so conditioned
that you can’t help doing what you ought to do”. John, the savage, points
this out to Lenina, a product from the utopian society, but she is so caught up
in the illusion that she cannot see the conditioning. In Nineteen Eighty-Four,
O’Brien, a member from the elite class, confesses to the corruptness of the
political party, ‘...the Party seeks power for its own sake…Power is not a
means; it is an end.’ This shows the Party’s intentions in keeping society
an illusion. They have power to do anything that they wish to do. Since this is
true, the Party brainwashes thoughts into the followers heads believing that
they live in a utopian society. Winston, in Nineteen Eighty-Four, has been
brainwashed: Winston gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him
to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark mustache. O cruel,
needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast!
Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right,
everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over
himself. He loved Big Brother. This shows the power that the Party and O’Brien
has had over Winston; they have taken his old understanding and beliefs and
transformed them into an attitude that complies with those of the Party. The
conditioning of an individual for a utopian society often results in the
repression of individuality. Both novels attempt to create a utopian society.
The major thing that holds these societies together is because they are stable.
Stability is a goal for both Oceania (from Nineteen Eight-Four) and for the
Brave New World. It reinforces the control and power of the elite class.
“Stability means minimizing conflict, risk, and change. Without conflict,
risk, and change, Utopia is realistic.” When stability is attained, the world
of Utopia becomes an illusion. Individuals that are stuck in this illusion can
no longer see reality. The Party, in Nineteen Eighty-Four, creates goals, that
they place all over the city. The signs say: “WAR IS PEACE”, “FREEDOM IS
SLAVERY” , and “IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH” . The Party is adding to the
illusion, forcing people to have no choice but to accept the oppression. This is
the Party’s way of controlling and brainwashing its people. Brave New World
has a similar, yet different, way of control: “Both heredity and environment
were absolutely determined. These bottle products were released from moral
tensions because they were so conditioned that none of their actions had moral
consequences.” This shows that society is stuck living an illusion. The elite
class has so much power that the other classes cannot understand and will never
be able to deal with the true problems within the world. This is evident in
Brave New World, when Lenina and Bernard first arrive at the Indian Reservation.
While being guided around the island, the whole reservation has gathered for a
ceremony in the center of the island, and Lenina sees sickness, age, scars,
pain, and a woman breast feeding their children. She is repulsed by all of this,
and cannot cope with any of it. The Indian island is not stable, and that is why
Lenina cannot deal with realities, as she has never been exposed to these things
before. As soon as stability has been broken, so has the utopian ideal. Through
the vast uses of human conditioning and the constant stable environment, human
individuality is no longer be present. In the case that there is no human
individualism, the utopian ideal remains dystopic. The repression of artistic
and creative desires are contributors to the unrealistic state of utopia. The
depletion of language and history is present in Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four
and Huxley’s Brave New World and acts as a part of the repression of artistic
and creative endeavors. Everyone has the need to express themselves; whether it
is through poetry, music, writing or painting; it should be a wonderful passion
that individuals enjoy. With a ban of creative or artistic activity, there will
definitely be a change in society. ‘…And passion and neurasthenia means the
end of civilization. You can’t have a lasting civilization without plenty of
pleasant vices.’ This shows that individuals must be able to express
themselves in order to have an interesting and pleasant society. Language and
history are slowly being erased from Oceania and brave new world. Newspeak, the
local news station on the telesceen of Oceania in Nineteen Eighty-Four, aims to
reduce the number of words in the language. The plan continues with the
reporters using less and less words to decrease the thinking in the brain, and
the eventual dissolve of one’s imagination. “In the end we shall make
thought-crime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to
express it” Now there is no need for the Thought Police because there will be
a little amount of words left in the English language. History, in both novels,
contributes to the development of stable society. Winston, from the novel
Nineteen Eighty-Four works for the Ministry of Truth. This Ministry is
completely immoral, where Winston’s job is to change history constantly so
“:..the chosen lie would pass into the permanent records and become truth..”
In Brave New World, people have no desire for history and literature because
they have been brainwashed to stay away from books. In both societies, people
will never learn how to make their lives better or be aware of the illusion that
is present. This results in living in a stable society, where nothing will ever
change. The people from this society unwillingly paid the price of their
creativity and their ability to think, which results in their lack of expression
and imagination. These creative and artistic endeavors that are necessary to
sustain a utopian ideal, create an unrealistic utopia. Expressed in George
Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, is the
unfeasibility of the Utopian ideal. There perfect state remains dystopic when a
lack of familial bonds, the sacrifice of human identity, and the lack of
creative and artistic desires try to create stability in their society. The
illusion of the utopian society is obvious. Both of these authors do an
excellent job in depicting the reality of utopia ideal: ‘But I don’t want
comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want
goodness. I want sin.’ ‘In fact,’ said Mustapha Mond, ‘you’re claiming
the right to be unhappy.’ ‘All right, then,’ said the Savage defiantly,
‘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 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.’ There was a long silence.
‘I claim them all,’ said the Savage at last. This quote represents the
failure of the utopian ideal. John in Brave New World, is the last one to see
through this illusion. He recognizes what the controllers have done; they have
deteriorated family relationships, lost the individualism in each human, and
repressed artistic and creative endeavors to a minimum to ensure a stable
society. In Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, Winston has almost reached the
state of seeing through the illusion. The Party realizes this and sends his to
Room 101, where ‘your worst fear becomes a reality’. The purpose of this
being to readjust Winston’s attitudes. He is conditioned and at the end of the
novel comes to a realization, “I love Big Brother” . The Party is too
powerful for Winston to see through this illusion. It is evident through both
novels, whereby both societies strive for this utopian state, that in the end,
it is proved that with a lack of familial bonds, the loss of human
individuality, and the repression of creative and artistic endeavors, both
societies remain dytopic.
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