Many times there is an underlying topic to a novel and what it truly means. For Brave New World, there are many underlying ideas as to the makeup of Aldous Huxley’s novel. For example, themes like science, sex, power, freedom and confinement, drugs and alcohol, society and class, and dissatisfaction as different themes that Huxley produces in the novel. Also there could be many symbols in the novel including, bottles and Ford. Not only are these themes and symbols throughout the novel, but there also could be a direct tie to Brave New World with Freud.
Aldous Huxley’s novel, Brave New World is about a futuristic society where humans are made from bottles that go through a brainwashing after their growth in a bottle. Each citizen is instructed to serve the community, they are there to be consumers and workers and to do their job. The bottles are placed in a caste, and according to each caste is how they are to grow up and become a part of society. For example, the Alphas are one of a kind; they are smart, tall and muscular.
Contrasting, the Epsilons are grown in batches of 100 identical dumb, ugly and short humans. In order to keep the five castes separate, all but the Alphas are given harmful substances to keep them “stupid.” In the novel, Mustapha Mond states “The optimum population… Is modeled on the iceberg- eight-ninths below the water line, one-ninth above (Huxley, 223)” Mond claims that those under the water line are actually happier than those above it, another reason being that those in the upper castes are more seen and are the face of the society whereas those in the lower casts are of non-importance.
In both Brave New World and in Freud’s studies, there is a lot of focus on the sexual aspect of human life. In Brad Buchanan’s article “Oedipus in Dystopia: Freud and Lawrence in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World” Buchanan claims that throughout Huxley’s life, he often rejected Freud and his ideas, however, the tone of Brave New World speaks otherwise (Buchanan, 75). Freud studies the psychosexual stages throughout a child’s life; this idea relates to the life that Huxley portrays in his novel. In Brave New World, sex is a major focus in the community’s day-to-day activities, no one gets married, and everyone can “have” everyone. There are no direct ties to each other, and there is no problem of over population because of all the babies being made in bottles on the assembly line. This creates a power in the makers’ ability, because the babies are made to their specification.
Power is another theme in Brave New World. In the novel, the citizens are brainwashed to be happy with the laws and not to “fight the man” when it comes to changing the laws because they have been programmed to love the laws and their entirety. This power is bolstered by the endless supply of drugs, the ability to be promiscus, the denial of history or future as any alternative to the present, and with the brainwashing at a young age. This is directly influenced by the freedom and confinement theme within the novel.
Citizens are always in a state of imprisonment, but because they have been conditioned to love their servitude, no one seems to have any problems with it. This also creates the theme of dissatisfaction. This society leaves something to be wanted, mostly individuality, passion and love because individuals have been programed to be happy, those who do feel this dissatisfaction are confused by it and completely unsure of how to act. Most of the individuals that are experiencing dissatisfaction are often turned to drugs.
In Brave New World, soma is used quite frequently throughout the novel. Soma is described as the perfect drug; for example, it has all of the benefits (calming, surrealistic and 10-hour long highs) without all of the negatives (no guilt or hangovers). Like the early brainwashing, the citizens are also conditioned to love this drug, and they use it to escape any momentary bouts of dissastification.
Along with the many themes throughout the novel, there are also many symbols that correlate with them. One symbol is the bottle, if taken in a way that we see these bottles today, this could be an extreme designer baby technique. This symbol of the bottle could be that if designer babies become even larger than they already are, that an entire society will be completely made up of these “designer babies”.
Ford as a symbol in the novel reveals the new world’s value system. Henry Ford is famous for the perfection of mass production and the assembly line. In the new world, humans are mass-produced and grown with the help of the assembly line. With Ford as the new world’s deity, efficiency, production, and consumerism are the most important values whereas with a more traditional deity, morality, compassion and piety are the most important values.
Even though, the new world may seem like a place of happiness and carefree living, it is warped beyond all being. There are many themes in the novel with a symbol that could correlate to the true meaning of what the novel means.
Buchanan, Brad “Oedipus in Dystopia: Freud and Lawrence in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World” Journal of Modern Literature. 25.3/4. (2002) 75-89. Print Huxley, Aldous Brave New World. New York: 1946. Print.
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