Taking the setting of a world where “happiness” is readily served for every citizen with the help of technologies we have yet to imagine, “Brave New World” can be classified instantaneously as a novel of the science fiction and dystopian genre.
Science fiction, or sci-fi, is a genre, as perfectly encapsulated in the name, that explores the field of science and technology advancements, typically in the future, through the imagination and speculation of the author. Some recurring themes in science fictions are space exploration, time travel, and extra-terrestrial life. Works of sci-fi, aside from providing us glimpses into the glamourous possible outcomes of the present, often raise in our minds consideration of what consequences will the technological developments bring, and sometimes even criticism of our own present-day society.
Dystopian and utopian are genres that dive into the problems of social values, political makeup, and, occasionally, authoritative powers. While a utopian setting presents a desirable world operating with a set of virtuous morals, a dystopian setting depicts a society founded on dehumanizing ethics and corrupted beliefs. Distinctive as they maybe, many books combine both genres as an allusion to what path humanity will go down to, depending on its choices. In some cases, readers can be introduced to a place designed with such a sense of happiness and fulfilment, it feels like a perfect utopia, only to be revealed the dreadful reality of the dystopia as the story progresses.
With the set of attributes of the genres above, it is easy to spot the characteristics of “Brave New World” that have earned the book its place as one of the most prominent examples used to described the genres: the nuances, the language, and even the cover illustration. However, one aspect that differentiates the book from others of the same kind is how it does not portray any character as an antagonist to the story. The author did not criticize the dystopia deliberately, but let us examine it thoroughly and come to our own censure of its morality.
Standing as one of the most iconic examples of science fiction and dystopian novel, “Brave New World” undoubtedly bears many recognizing features of the genres. At the same time, the book has some trope-breaking details that proved its worth as not only a famous book but one classic work of literary.
In order not to misunderstand and answer this question wrongly, leading to the repetition in ideas in later parts, in this part, you should first point out what is impressive/ good related to various aspects of the content (for example the storyline, a certain character, a certain detail, plot twist, etc.) and explain your assessment.
Praised by many critics in and out of its times, “Brave New World” certainly have many elements that fascinate readers. To me, the elements shone most brightly would be the world-building, the portrayal and the role of characters.
After only the first few pages, it became clear to me, as any reader, how carefully crafted the setting I was reading was. When considered, one can see that the process of explaining the World State – the place where the novel unfolds – takes up a substantial portion of the book. The picture of the seemingly perfect utopia was scrupulously painted and described with such details, it remained vivid in readers’ mind even after the novel has finished.
Throughout the story, one feature that piqued my interest was with each character introduced, they can be found depicted with both good and bad sides of their nature. In Bernard, one of the protagonists, we see him as an out-spoken individual who feels isolated for seeing things differently at first. But when he brought John to the civilized world, he exploited John’s fame for his own relations, for which he later regretted. And Mustapha Mond, portrayed as an antagonist in the beginning, never created hindrance to the protagonists, but rather posed as a neutral, all-knowing figure tasked with maintaining a morally controversial society. We see the characters in different lights, understand them better, and, thus, feel that they are more genuine, more “human”.
“Brave New World” also took a bold, but no less effectively interesting, move in devising the role of each character. At first, the novel left me perplexed: no apparent threat nor antagonist have appeared even though the book has long passed the mid-point, while there have been two introduced protagonists. Only when the final pages are reached did I realize that the antagonist, all along, have been the dystopian state of society itself. It is an inconspicuous, silent contender. And with the end of our characters, we can see that it has, and always will, won.
In my own criticism, Aldous Huxley has done an outstanding job in not only building the futuristic dystopia but also delivered a range of complex characters in mould-breaking roles.