Presentation on theme: "Brave New World, Part 1. Some Basics About the World State The World State: The name for the central government that controls the entire world in Brave."— Presentation transcript:
Some Basics About the World State The World State: The name for the central government that controls the entire world in Brave New World. The World State is run by people who have the title of “World Controller.” Mustapha Mond is one of these people. The “D.H.C.” or “The Director” is the “Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning” for London, where much of Brave New World takes place. The year is stated as “632 AF,” which means 632 After Ford. The World State starts its calendar in the year Ford produced the Model T, which means the novel take place in 2540 AD, our time.
The Caste System Castes: Social classes with no possibility for upward (or downward) mobility. In the World State there are five castes, predetermined at birth by manipulation of the embryos during development: – Alphas – Betas – Gammas – Deltas – Epsilons Castes are named after the first five letters of the Greek alphabet (in fact, we get our word “alphabet” from “alpha beta”). Children (and sometimes, but not always, adults) of each caste wear a specific color associated with their caste, and are conditioned to be happy that they are a member of their caste and no other.
The Society of Brave New World Group work: How does The World State (the society portrayed in the novel) approach the following issues? How might this be a critique of Huxley’s own society? Can you make any comparisons between Brave New World and what we learned about Utopia? Each group should have several quotes to discuss with the class. Group 1: Equality Group 2: Individuality Group 3: Emotion (both good and bad) Group 4: Consumerism Group 5: Sexuality Group 6: Nature
This is an idea novel… As I said before, this novel is light on character development, heavy on ideas. With that in mind, here are some characters through whom Huxley gives us a big does of the philosophy and attitude about human nature that is the basis for the World State: The Director’s Tour of the Hatchery and Conditioning Center tells us a lot about how the World State thinks about scientific progress, individuality, child-rearing, etc. This is where Huxley hits us in the face with how different this place is. The World Controller, who joins the tour on p. 34, is basically a mouthpiece for the World State, explaining why the World State did things like abolish families and get rid of emotion.
But the Characters Do Matter… What makes Bernard stand out? Why is he different from the rest of the Alphas? How about Helmholtz? (Bernard’s writer friend) How is he different? Lenina also stands out from the crowd. What makes her different from others like her? – Lenina’s name is unusual because she is named after Soviet leader Vladamir Lenin – note that the World State admires Communist conformity and efficiency while at the same time embracing the consumerism and materialism more often associated with Capitalism.
The Solidarity Service The section that we read for today ended with the “Solidarity Service” (otherwise known as the “orgy porgy” scene) on p. 78-86. What purpose does this quasi-religious ritual serve for the “World State”? How does this scene relate to the themes of lost individuality and the relationship of individuals to society?
Brave New World as Response to Utopia Brave New World and other works of dystopian fiction make some fundamentally different assumptions about human nature than Thomas More did when he wrote Utopia. In Utopia, the Utopians follow the strict rules because, More believes, Utopians’ ability to reason tells them that following the rules will lead to a better life for everyone. Huxley is not to optimistic about human nature. In the World State, people follow the rules not because they have decided to, but because they are conditioned to follow them.
Some other echoes of Utopia to watch out for… In Utopia, people are able to do productive, fulfilling work. If they were inclined to a job, they could be adopted into a family who would teach them that job. No one lacks work, and everyone has a job that they enjoy (most of the time… unless they’re farming). In Brave New World, everyone has work, but there are significant differences. What are they?
Some other echoes of Utopia to watch out for… In Utopia, the sick and the dying are well cared for, and the terminally ill are given the option to commit suicide as not to take up resources from the rest of the community. In Brave New World, you will eventually see how the World State treats the sick and dying. Compare their treatment of these people to the country of Utopia’s.
Some other echoes of Utopia to watch out for… In Utopia, education and the development of the mind are of the highest importance. In the World State, books are deemed dangerous. What fundamental difference between the two societies does this show? In both Utopia and the World State, each individual is expected to act and live for the good of the community, but what does it mean to act for the good of the community in each society?