QUOTATION: As Linda, the civilized citizen turned savage, reenters the World State, she is characterized through the opinions of her fellow civilians. The narrator’s description shows how her social status is greatly degraded by her unusual appearance. “Finally – and this [is] by far the strongest reason for people’s not wanting to see poor Linda – there [is] her appearance…you simply couldn’t look at her without feeling sick, yes, positively sick”(153).
ANALYSIS: In Brave New World, an eerie novel written by Aldous Huxley, the lack of respect for those who are deemed abnormal is surveyed. In the fictional world Huxley created, every social class has distinct physical and mental characteristics. In the event that one were to stray from the mold of their rank, he or she would be banished from the civilized world so as not to further upset the general public. Bernard Marx, the oddball of the alpha class, is irregular in the sense that he prefers isolation and to sit in silence rather then converse with a large crowd. So on his date with a stereotypical alpha female, Lenina Crowne, he makes her extremely uncomfortable by suggesting that they sit and gaze at the moon. Being indoctrinated with the thought that solitude means unhappiness, Lenina begins to criticize Bernard on his choice of pastime and begs to be taken home. Following their date, Lenina informs her friend Fanny of the night’s occurrences.
By bringing up the unusual activities her date wanted engage in, Lenina swiftly prompts Fanny to make the conclusion that alcohol had slipped into the tube containing Bernard’s embryo, consequently forcing him to act in bizarre ways. An example of discrimination by physical as opposed to mental differences is shown through the reactions to Linda, a returning civilized citizen. The outward form she acquired during her time on the savage reservation deems her not only an outcast, but a blemish on the face of society. She was “fat; having lost her youth; with bad teeth and a blotched complexion” (153), which induced discomfort among the public due to the widespread inability to accept anything that strays from the normal path. The strict conformity of the “brave new world” is the catalyst to the citizens’ deficiency in seeing past any and all imperfections.
In today’s world, much like that of the World State, the majority of people are quick to characterize and judge their peers based on impersonal interactions. If one were to look at a typical high school, for example, the overweight kid is more likely to be bullied then the physically fit student because obesity is seen as abnormal. Also, in the modern music industry, computers are commonly used in the improvement of a singer’s voice. Therefore, scouts are now looking less for the amount of talent and more for the sought after “it look”. As a result, many gifted artists are being passed up for less talented people with more universally accepted appearances.
Additionally, Lady Gaga is a prime example of discrimination based on irregularity. Her songs are often outspoken and her outfits are continuously peculiar, thus creating a large group of Gaga critics. Disapproving individuals harp on her because she is not afraid to stand out as herself, and people find that threatening since it differentiates the singer from the rest of society. As the world continues to heavily rely on the idea of being “normal”, it will steadily persist in its decline of acceptance and soon, all unique characteristics will be lost.