Huxley's Brave New World Vs Modern Society

Categories: Brave New World Novel

Huxley presents the World State as the climax of his generation’s infatuation with comfort and technology. Yet, we are supposed to understand that the same government control that gives subjects peace and stability also steals from their humanity. The horror of Brave New World lies in its illustration of human beings as robots, manufactured on assembly lines and continuously monitored to ensure perfection within each category from high to low. John, the “savage” from New Mexico, appears to represent a type of pure human being, whose naturalness is different from the mechanization of the World State.

However, Huxley continues to undermine that interpretation, proving not only that John has been socially conformed just as the World State ignorant citizens have, but also that his conditioning leads to his stressful downfall.

In the beginning, John seems to represent a known figure called the noble savage. The noble savage is defined as an early human being, usually, a man, who grows up alone in the wilderness, yet contains a sense of morality.

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John’s characterization, “the Savage,” follows this concept, which helps portray civilization as a degrading influence instead of an inspiring one. Writers and thinkers who appeal to the noble savage also attempt to challenge the cultural conceit of colonizers, similar to when John challenges the World State’s rooted belief in the superiority of its system. Crucially, Huxley makes John a lost descendant of the World State people—visually, physically, and genetically incomprehensible from Lenina, Bernard, and the others. Furthermore, John begins to act as more of scientific “control” in the World State experiment.

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One of the ironic factors of the novel is how Bernard and the others repeatedly call the New Mexico reservation, “the Savage Reservation.” In this phase, the audience is intended to hear an echo of the European settlers who ridiculed native peoples as savages, unable to recognize that the alienated cultures represented realistic forms of civilization. Like the Native Americans of our history, the Indians of Brave New World created an individual set of rules, customs, and values, which John has taken into his own life. Hopefully initiating a sense of happiness. He was taught to value one’s strength and masculinity while being overwhelmingly disappointed that he cannot prove himself through the traditional rituals of the tribe. This group instills a deep respect for the divine in John, they also instill a belief in committed monogamy and a simultaneous distaste for immorality. This demonstrates how impactful the influence the Reservation culture makes on him, for in accepting their views on religion, love, and individuality, John decides against the teachings of his mother, Linda, one of the only people who has shown to care for John, and chooses what supposedly will inspire happiness.

Towards the end, the World State never disrupts John for being a troublesome, non-believer, as readers might have anticipated. Instead, John commits suicide when his social circumstances convince him that he is obstructive and sinful. John’s concept of romance does not represent natural, essential beliefs. Rather, he learned everything he knows about accurate sexual relations from the collected works of Shakespeare. Some people, perhaps see John’s desire for passion and fidelity as praiseworthy, Romeo and Juliet represents just one of the romantic scripts he has studied. Throughout the novel, he identifies more with the title characters of Othello and Hamlet, who express intricate doubt and indecision about physical expressions of sexuality that they are driven to murder, suicide, and other brutal acts. In the end, John’s incapacity to restore his sexual desires with his romantic peers leads him to seclude himself in a lighthouse, where he remains in a state of major self-punishment. John’s value system appears to be a spinning image of the World State, which openly celebrates sexuality and demands laws against romance. His self-whippings prove to be nothing more than violent, physical versions of the technological and rhetorical conditioning practiced by the government.

The audience should see John’s investment in love and individuality as a set of natural principles since it seems like his purpose was to find happiness. To produce this means preserving the same myth employed by World State, which brainwashes citizens and convinces them into thinking all government-approved feelings are real, while unauthorized desires represent incurable tendencies. In our society, the Reservation, as well as the World State, naturalness constitutes a supreme value—although each of those places defines “natural” in a way that appeals to their needs. Huxley’s novel is therefore not a welcoming, happy environment for unique individuals, but it is a decent place if someone is okay with being uniform to society.    

Works cited

  1. Huxley, A. (1932). Brave New World. Chatto & Windus.
  2. Bhabha, H. K. (1994). The Location of Culture. Routledge.
  3. Cheney, P. (1994). The enduring savage: Huxley's Brave New World and the noble savage archetype. Critical Essays on Aldous Huxley. G. Friedman. G.K. Hall, 129-141.
  4. Clausen, C. A. (1998). Huxley's Brave New World and the ethics of human cloning. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 41(2), 229-244.
  5. Firchow, P. E. (1977). ‘Nature’ in Brave New World. Journal of Popular Culture, 10(4), 798-805.
  6. Lindberg, K. (2011). Social criticism in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and Island. Bachelor thesis, University of Gothenburg.
  7. Miller, A. (2013). Brave New World and the flight from God. Crisis Magazine. Retrieved from
  8. Orwell, G. (1984). Nineteen Eighty-Four. Secker & Warburg.
  9. Schleifer, R. (1990). Brave New World and the rationalization of industry. The Georgia Review, 44(4), 685-698.
  10. Zammito, J. H. (2004). A nice adjustment to tyranny: an Enlightenment philosopher and a dystopian novel on happiness and freedom. The Journal of Modern History, 76(1), 25-49.
  11. Zamyatin, Y. (1924). We. Penguin Classics.
Updated: Feb 19, 2024
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Huxley's Brave New World Vs Modern Society. (2024, Feb 19). Retrieved from

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