In the dystopian novel, Brave New World, Aldous Huxley presents a horrifying view of a future in which society has become imprisoned by the very technology it believed would bring freedom. Huxley’s distortion of technology, religion, and family values in Brave New World is far more persuading than his use of literary realism in depicting the savage reservation. Through distortion, Huxley is able to make his arguments more effectively, and cause speculation over whether or not what a person wishes for is actually what they truly desire.
Huxley effectively uses distortion in Brave New World through his depiction of social values of the future. When Barnard Marx hears somebody talking about Lenina “as though she were a bit of meat,” he becomes upset (45). Leaving the building, both the Assistant Predestinator and Henry Foster recommend soma for his bad mood. Their reaction shows that drug use is becoming an increasingly acceptable way out for a weak society. The depiction of drug use shows that society is becoming emotionally incapable of dealing with pain and hurt. Furthermore, while speaking with the director of the London Hatchery, the students are disgusted and outraged when told that at one time people were viviparous. Huxley is trying to warn society that its lack of commitment and endurance will eventually be its downfall.
The emotional ties between parents and children are severed due to the non-existence of mothers and fathers. An emotionless society feels no guilt, and if one feels no personal guilt, society as a whole will feel no guilt if it lets itself be destroyed. In addition, Lenina, when accused of lack of promiscuity by Fanny, fervently denies it. Lenina denies this because Monogamy requires commitment, pain, and work, all of which oppose the stability of her society. Huxley is distorting the problems of his time to create a prediction in which humans have progressed to a society of people who are unable to focus on anything but pleasure; unable to handle the work of a commitment or the pain of emotion.
Huxley also uses distortion to bring attention to the importance of religion. Bernard Marx hurries and frets about being late to his orgy-porgy session not because he cares that he is running behind, but because he must keep up his appearance (79). The orgy-porgy session depicts a religion in which only physical desires are fulfilled, leaving any emotional or intellectual needs to feed upon the individual. Huxley’s prediction of the church moving away from God and towards man is shockingly correct 70 years after his book was published. Church figures have appeared numerous times on the news for using the church for money, perversion, and sex. Furthermore, when Bernard and Lenina visit the reservation they are appalled at the religion of those on the Savage Reservation.
Their reaction is a warning that lack of religious tolerance could be one of the greatest downfalls of our time. Thousands of men, women and children die in Middle Eastern Holy Wars, over nothing more than lack of religious tolerance. In addition, Lenina wears the sign of the T instead of a cross. While the cross represents faith, intangible, yet real if one believes in it, the T stands for technology, something that even the weak can believe in because it can always be seen. The presence of faith is a sign of a strong society; lack of faith a sign that a society is becoming weak.
The most powerful distortion in -Brave New World is found in Huxley’s use of technology. The Director of the London Hatchery is very proud they have produced ninety-six buds from one egg. The joys and intimacy of motherhood have been replaced by the “benefits” of technology. The new society finds delight in being able to reproduce ninety-six identical people. There is no ambition, no individuality, no creativity; it is truly a bleak society. Furthermore, while the students are being given a tour of the hatchery, they are extremely impressed that children are not only decanted, but they are predestined also. Children grow up and know one job and no other, they are taught nothing but that one job.
They aren’t allowed to dream and aren’t allowed to hope. Due to the conditioning they are put through, they never even have the ability to think of how life might be better. In addition, Mustapha Mond, one of the seven world leaders, is referred to as His Fordness. Henry Ford is the god of the Brave New World. Society has replaced what is associated with beauty, nature, and creativity, with a man who invented the assembly line, a process designed to stamp out thousands of identical, interchangeable parts. Huxley’s distortion forces people to seriously consider the future of society. Are we going to become the exact same replaceable person? Creativity brought the technology, but will the technology destroy creativity?
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