In a world where humans are conditioned based off their social class, the futuristic society in Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley demonstrates the sacrifices one must take to insure stability. The mass-production of individuals and “hypnopaedic” are used to structure their ideal civilization, where they are taught what to believe, ensuring contentment throughout the society. With the conditioning they are stripped from their freedom of thought, emotions and individuality from a young age. However, within the novel there are outcast that are exiled due to their contradicting opinions towards the upbringing of mankind in their World. The totalitarian government Huxley illustrates exposes the destructive effects it can have on humanity and identity, when one resists to conform.
Alphas are known as the superior class in Brave New World, respected upon the others, yet Bernard Marx was far from the usual. His physical appearance lacked the typical dreamy qualities of this valued class, as well as the enjoyment of their rituals. Marx understood the conditioning behind each class, disagreeing with the practice because he believed in opinions and a human’s right to individuality. His relationship with Lenina models the respect he has towards women, unlike any other human within the society, as they are taught that “everyone belongs to everyone else.” Infuriated by the manner Henry talks about her as if she was “a piece of meat” or a contest, bragging to one another to “advise you try her.” Marx’s perspective on the society throughout the novel exposes the reason for his isolation, believing that one shouldn’t be conditioned into their morals, but build them overtime. Due to the societies goal for “perfection” his isolation is seen strange to others, which leads to the rumors that he had alcohol in his blood surrogate. Rather than this alerting the people about something being wrong with the world around them, their ignorance caused by the conditioning, prevents their mind to think of the world around them anything other than flawless. Accustomed to their incomprehensibility, Marx becomes isolated longing for their acceptance, yet is fortunate to have emotions. Despite his exile, his desire for a connection makes him distinct from the rest. Huxley uses Marx to show the internal conflict within living secluded, however feeling and knowing the truth, unlike anyone else in the society.
Moreover, Lenina and Marx’s relationship elevates once their trip to the reservation in New Mexico. Before leaving Bernard passes by the Director for permission to visit the reservation, which soon becomes insightful. The director shares with the two his traumatic experience at the reserve, and how he had once taken a trip with a partner, but he came back alone. With the intention to observe the reservation’s way of life, the Director’s story made him realize the strange culture of the humans within the reserve. Once arriving they observe a ritual that catches their attention, like theirs known as the “union of twelve into one.” Lenina uncomfortable, strange, and out of place doing so and demands for her soma to numb her from what she is experiencing. Meanwhile they encounter with a young boy named John that seemed different from the rest, he wasn’t allowed to take part in the ritual, but wished for the chance to prove his strength. Marx wondered why he wasn’t allowed to, but soon realized that he was born in the reserve but not from there. John calls for his mother, Linda which realizes they’re from the Brave New World once she laid her eyes on them. Marx shortly realizes the Director was the father of John and uses this as leverage when he takes them back to meet his “father.”
Linda, eager to finally see people from her society after being left in a civilization completely taboo to her, looks forward to going back to her home. Linda had been secluded from the reserve and wasn’t welcomed due to her conditioning and contradicting opinion upon their way of living. She would get into trouble with the women in the tribe for sleeping with their husbands, expressing her beliefs that “everyone belongs to everyone else.” Linda’s isolation within the tribe forced her to be John’s only true home. Raising him to be literate and read “the complete works of William Shakespeare” and about the making of embryos, which was her job as a Beta. She provided a resources for him to be prosperous in the future. Throughout his life, she had to overcome her conditioning to be a mother to him, which she was degraded by. Her undesirable life in the reservation made her become stronger and develop a sense of independence.
John expressed the beliefs of the reservation but was never allowed to be a part of them because of his mother and his lack of Native American blood. John, looking forward to at last feel accepted and welcomed to a civilization that was portrayed to him throughout his childhood as perfection, he encounters struggles once leaving the reservation. Linda begins taking high dosages of Soma, causing her to always be asleep in a soma holiday, leaving John alone in this new society he is unfamiliar with. Instead of being accepted, Marx uses John as an exhibit to his advantage, showing off the “Savage” as if he were an experiment. Throughout all of this he becomes infatuated with Lenina, but her beliefs prevent John to have a connection with her. Instead she is interested in having sexual relations, destroying his fantasy of having a relationship with her. John becomes overwhelmed with his disappointment, because of the lack of emotion. Making matters worse his mother passes away due to the constant high dosages of soma, leaving him heartbroken without a soul to confide in the World state. John symbolizes all the morals and emotions that are prohibited in the dystopian society to have happy citizens that cannot develop their own individual perspective. The drastic measures led him to the immortal sin of suicide, something unforgivable. John’s seclusion got the best of him, in the end he rather not live than to live in a world that wouldn’t accept him.
The world state that Huxley depicts, is the conditioning to one’s environment for the benefit of the civilization. Everyone was content with the social class they were conformed to enjoy. However, in the novel he uses the main characters’ exile to expose the flaws within the totalitarian government. The contradicting beliefs go against the future of technology, and intimate relationships. Determining that exile can lead to the condemnation of those secluded, but also stimulate their growth.
- Huxley, Aldous, Brave New World, New York: Harper & Brothers, Publishers, 1