Conway 2nd Hr
Brave New World
Aldous Huxley was a man ahead of his time in respect to his development of the incompatibility between happiness and freedom in his 1931 novel Brave New World. The deceiving happiness was a constant reminder throughout the book. Almost every character in novel did whatever they could to avoid facing the truth about their own situations. They constantly suppress their own freedoms. The World State used alcohol fermentation, and a drugs like soma as big supressant to keep the people happy but not free. This society, happiness is not compatible with the freedom because the World State believes that happiness was at the expense of living a free life.
The World State starts making people happy at birth, really more of the “creation” of people in their case. They genetically alter Embryos to only enjoy their occupation in the world, taking away their eagerness to seek art, science, and relationships. An example of this would be Lenina, having been conditioned to be happy, had unconsciously given up the ability to have freedoms. All of her material needs and wants are met. Nothing can make her feel sadness or desire. Thus, her motive to pursue freedom is non existent. If something against her conditioning comes up, she will feel confused and uncomfortable. While on vacation at the Savage Reservation, she witnesses the savage society, where people have families, religion, and natural aging. She feels disgusted by it, “Too awful” (pg 116), so she goes on Soma holiday to forget about what she has seen. While over the roaring waves of the English Channel, Lenina cannot come to admire the beauty of nature, “She was appalled by the rushing emptiness… among the hastening clouds” (pg. 90). When John professes his love to her, Lenina is unable to understand his feelings, she’s only familiar with physical/sexual relationships, “For Ford’s sake John, talk sense… you’re driving me crazy” (pg. 191). Although her body is free, she lacks spiritual freedom, whether it be in terms of relationships, natural, or cultural beauty. This further proves that because people are destined to be a certain role, freedom is taken out of the question. They,
the citizens, are never given the opportunity to think for themselves or by themselves; thus, taking away the possibility of critical or analytical thinking. During the decanting period (birth) and even prior to that, the citizens of the World State are unable to choose their destinies, their futures are laid out before them before they are even processed as people. Not only are they devoid of the most common emotions, they lack any individuality at all because they are created to have a certain level of intelligence, a certain status in society, they’re engineered to have certain likes and dislikes and are even under the control of society when choosing what colour to wear. “From the ranks of the crawling babies came little squeals of excitement, gurgles and twitterings of pleasure… Small hands reached out uncertainty, touched, grasped, in petaling the transfigured roses, crumpling the illuminated pages of the books.
When freedom is constantly questioned throughout the novel, John had the power of free will on his side because he had the capability to feel his own emotions, think critically, and act accordingly. John, a boy grew up sharing the values of the Indians and William Shakespeare, was in opposition to those of the World State. Once he got in contact with “civilization”, he realises that his values were rejected by the “civilized” people. For example, he loves Lenina very much, but gets furyious and insulted when she doesn’t understand his motives. When he tries to initiate sex, she responds with “get out of my sight or I’ll kill you” (pg. 194). When his mother eventually passed away, he became upset with the death conditioning of the children and interferes with it, “The savage looked down at him… did not even look round” (pg 207). That is something this society simply would never get the opportunity or ability to experience. When he was conflicted in a situation he lacked no restrictions on his feelings. The love he felt for Lenina and the pain he felt for being an outcast, being different. John had the ability to feel everything even if no one else shared those feelings. “”Is there any hope? ” he asked. “You mean, of her not dying? ” (He nodded. “No, of course there isn’t. When somebody’s sent here, there’s no …” Startled by the expression of distress on his pale face, she suddenly broke off. “Why, whatever is the matter? ” she asked. She was not accustomed to this kind of thing in visitors. (Not that there were many visitors anyhow: or any reason why there should be many visitors. ) “You’re not feeling ill, are you? ” …. Anger suddenly boiled up in him. Balked for the second time, the passion of his grief had found another outlet, was transformed into a passion of agonized rage.” (Huxley P. ). In contrast with the other citizens of the World State who cannot make out the most simple of genuine emotions and one’s ability to react according to how they feel in a situation, this really puts the concept of freedom into perspective. He is not only able to feel a wide selection of emotions but because of that freedom he can think critically and make logical and rational decisions about the State’s affairs and his own life. Due to his personal freedoms he is able to see things for what they really are instead of what they are made out to be by the World State.
The concept of freedom or being happy is always changing, and is often open to people’s own interpretation. What, exactly, is freedom? and why is it so important that we be free? In Brave New World, Aldous Huxley leaves the reader in continuous wonder over which character is truly happy or has their own freedom. Most of the citizens of the World State, like do not possess any notion of freedom, they are unable to control the way they think, feel and make decisions; however, the outcasts, like John, have learned the ability to do all of those things.