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Allusions in Brave New World and 1984

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In both the novels ​1984​ by Orwell and ​Brave New World​ by Huxley, the story takes place in a dystopian world controlled by tyrannical governments where individuality doesn’t exist. Aldous Huxley who is an English writer, novelist, philosopher, and author of ​Brave New World ​argues that authoritarian governments are a threat to individuality and free thought which will lead to the loss of one’s identity. The book was written in 1931 right around the time assembly lines first became popular, which allowed the mass production and industrialization of many countries. This rapid industrialization of the world leads to the mass production of many items which leads to the creation of jobs that didn’t require much intelligence or skill. ​Brave New World​ shows what society might have looked like after the creation of the assembly line and warns about what the future holds for America if it continued down the path of rapid industrialization. Both Orwell and Huxley use allusions to emphasize the dangers than countries can face during a tyrannical government’s rise to power.

Both Orwell and Huxley use allusions in their novels to emphasize the theme of the dangers of letting tyrannical governments rise to power. In ​Brave New World​, Huxley alludes Shakespear when John says “OH wonder!” he was saying, and his eyes shone, his face was brightly flushed. How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world” (Huxley 92-93). John says this when he is talking about the World State and how unimpressed and disappointed he is with how society has developed. He is disappointed that society in this futurist world knows nothing about history, literature, suffering, or the arts.

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Instead of learning about these things the people of the World State traded it for a fake sense of security. George Orwell, famous for his literary works, shows in​ ​his work ​1948​ alludes to the Shakespear when the main character Winston says “With its grace and carelessness it seemed to annihilate a whole culture, a whole system of thought, as though Big Brother and the Party and the Thought Police could all be swept into nothingness by a single splendid movement of the arm” (Orwell 39). This allusion is effective since it shows how Big Brother is out to destroy Shakespear because it represents the richness of language and thought which Big Brother wants to destroy. Shakespeare also shows the complication behind emotions and ideas which is another idea that Big Brother wants to destroy. Both these works show how dangerous it would be to allow tyrannical governments to rise to power since they would seek out to destroy anything that could threaten their power. By destroying anything that threatens their power they would destroy the idea of individuality and end up creating robots that are only loyal to those in power.

Another rhetorical strategy that Huxley uses in ​Brave New World​ is symbolism. He uses symbolism to show how dangerous it would be for society to allow a tyrannical government to rise to power. In ​Brave New World​ “why you don’t take soma when you have these dreadful ideas of yours. You’d forget all about them. And instead of feeling miserable, you’d be jolly. So jolly.” (Huxley 62). In this passage Lenina is telling Bernard to drink soma in order to forget and numb himself from his problems. Soma is a symbolism to alcohol or drugs that are used by people to forget their problems. By promoting the use of soma World State can easily exert its influence and solidify its power base, since the society wouldn’t be able to stop them if they are intoxicated.

Both ​1984 ​and ​Brave New World​ are classic books that still are read all over the U.S. to this day. They both talk about and reflect on modern troubles facing society in modern times. Society is changing every day and it can be argued that our world is becoming more similar to the dystopia discussed in these books. A lot of people say that you should learn from the past in order to not repeat the same mistakes in the future. Following that logic, one could argue that people should learn from books since they can also teach society things that they should not do. Reading books allows you to live a life and learn from it without any danger or consequences.

Works Cited

  1. Huxley, Aldous. ​Brave New World with the Essay “Brave New World Revisited. ​Harper Perennial, 2010.
  2. Orwell, George. ​​1984​​. Penguin, an Imprint of Penguin Canada, a Division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited, 2017.

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Allusions in Brave New World and 1984. (2022, Jun 09). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 25, 2023, from
“Allusions in Brave New World and 1984.” Edubirdie, 09 Jun. 2022,
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