Monday, September 12, 2011

Thoughts: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

When I first heard of Brave New World, I thought of that movie where Colin Farrell plays Capt. John Smith, and, yes, I think he’s hot in a dirty, mangy sort of way. It never occurred to me that the book is one of the first dystopian novels ever, and probably spawned The Hunger Games series.

The novel first focuses on Bernard Marx. He lives in a world where marriage and religion are considered taboo, and wanting to be alone makes you a social outcast. Bernard travels with the beautiful Lenina Crowne to one of the Reservations, the last remaining places on earth where the nuclear family is still intact. There, they discover John Savage, a Citizen of the World State who was born and raised in the Reservation.

First of all, I couldn’t believe that this book was written in 1931. Huxley tackled issues that are still being discussed today. It made me think long and hard about the importance of individuality in today’s society, and whether an individual should be sacrificed for “the greater good.” The book also made me realize how lucky I am to be living in today’s society. Poverty and unhappiness were absent from Civilization, but Truth and Beauty could only be found in the almost-primitive conditions of Reservations. There was no middle ground where people who felt “different” could escape to.

While reading, I didn’t let myself look anything up, so I had to figure out a lot of things on my own. The characters kept saying things like “The year of Our Ford” or “Our Fordship,” and I wondered, “Who is this Ford person?” I discovered, after I finished the book, that His Fordship is actually Henry Ford, an American industrialist and the founder of the Ford Motor Company. That was pretty funny, and the way Huxley seems to make fun of everything reminded me of Kurt Vonnegut.

I was disappointed when I reached the part where John Savage and the World Controller (he’s kind of like the President of the ENTIRE WORLD) debated about the current state of society. I hate it when authors treat characters as mouthpieces for their opinions. Overall, though, I liked Brave New World a lot.

Rating: 4/5

11 comments:

Trisha said...

I agree on the following points in particular:

Colin Farrell's dirty mangy hotness
Horrid use of characters as mouthpieces
Best to let yourself figure it out instead of look it up
We are super lucky

:)

reviewsbylola said...

I remember very little about this book except that I really didn't like it. I was very bored.

Zibilee said...

I also remember very little of this book, as I last read it in high school. It seems like it would make for an interesting reread though, and I am glad that you liked it. I think the bit about Ford is very funny :)

Chrisbookarama said...

I'm going to be reading this next month. I'm glad you ended up enjoying it.

Allie said...

I read this one last year sometime and I really liked it. It was an interesting view of the future, and kind of left me feeling a little creeped out. :)

mel u said...

I read Brave New World many years ago but I still recall parts of it very well-I think is time for a reread, If I can find it on line-

Rebecca Reid said...

I started listening to the audiobook of this and it was driving me crazy. I didn't make it very far. Sounds like I need to try again. Just not on audio. I'm not crazy about dystopian fiction, so not sure I'll love it, but definitely one to try again.

Susan said...

My husband says the same thing - How is that you LOVE dystopian, but you haven't read this most classic of dystopians?? Seriously, I need to read this. Thanks for the reminder :)

Audra said...

I haven't read this in about two hundred years, maybe longer, and I don't remember any of it...but you've got me wanting to pick it up. V nice review.

Brandt Hardin said...

Brave New World is an important book but Huxley wrote much more important ones on similar subjects. If you like this one, Island (his last work) is the way to go next if you want to explore him more. The author influenced much of my own work and you can see my portrait of him at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2010/07/aldous-huxley-rolls-in-his-grave.html

Rachel said...

This one is on my list and I'm looking forward to reading it.

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