Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, and George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm each make commentary regarding the governing of society. Each story involves a so called perfect society, or Utopia. The people are given what they want, only to discover it wasn’t really what they desired. It seems that both authors are telling us their idea of what’s wrong with society, and how extreme these wrongs could become if we government to think for us. The way in which each story gives its warning is different. I will explore this.
Throughout the novel Winston tries to avoid the control o Big Brother, by committing many almost illegal crimes, such as keeping a diary or sneaking around with Julia, his mistress. Winston is eventually caught, and tortured by “the Party” for his crimes, until he is restored’ and learns to love big brother.
1984 contains a warning about the future. Though not specifically about computers, since it was finished in 1948 “Big Brother” can be viewed as playing the role of a computer. The way big Brother, and tele – screens work can be linked to the commanding control computers have over society today. With the increasing amount of electronic business and the accelerated expansion of the Net the amount of personal information raging from tax file numbers to favourite colours available on line is aiding increasing governmental desire for a paperless world where you can be eliminated, monitored, or altered with the tap of a key.
Although many similarities exist between Aldous Huxley’s A Brave New World and George Orwell’s 1984, the works books though they deal with similar topics, are more dissimilar than alike. A Brave New World is a novel about the struggle of Bernard Marx, who rejects the tenants of his society when he discovers that he is not truly happy. 1984 is the story of Winston who finds forbidden love within the hypocrisy of his society. In both cases, the main character is in quiet rebellion against his government which is eventually found to be in vain.
Huxley wrote A Brave New World in the third person so that the reader could be allotted a more comprehensive view of the activities he presents. His characters are shallow and cartoon-like in order to better reflect the society in which they are entrapped. In this society traditional notions of love and what ideally should come out of it have long been disregarded and are now despised, “Mother, monogamy, romance. High spurts the fountain; fierce and foamy the wild jet. The urge has but a single outlet.” The comparison to a wild jet is intended to demonstrate the inherent dangers in these activities. Many of the Brave New World’s social norms are intended to ‘save’ its citizens from anything unpleasant through depriving them of the opportunity to miss anything overly pleasant.
The society values, COMMUNITY, IDENTITY, STABILITY,” supersede all else in a collective effort. Soma, the magical ultimate drug is what keeps the population from revolting. “What you need is a gramme of soma… All the advantages of Christianity and alcohol; none of their defects.” The drug is at the forefront of their daily lives providing freedom from life’s every ill). The drug is used as a form of recreation, like sex, and its use is encouraged at any opportunity, especially when great emotions begin to arise.
They are conditioned to accept this to calm and pacify them should they begin to feel anything too intensely. The conditioning also provides them with their place and prevents them from participating in social activities which they needn’t take part in. Class conciousness, once of the bains of any middle class, or lowermiddle calss citizen, is taught through hypnopadia (the repetition of phrases during sleep akin to post hypnotic suggestion) for all social classes:
In 1984, a first-person book partly narrated by the main character’s internal dialogue, the great party leader is “Big Brother,” a fictional character who is somewhat more imposing than “Ford,” of Brave New World, named after the industrialist Henry Ford. The main character Winston fears Big Brother and is much more aware of his situation than any of the characters in A Brave New World who are constantly pacified by soma. In A Brave New World history is ignored completely whereas in 1984 it is literally rewritten in order to suit the present. George Orwell was a man of strong political conviction, with a great hatred for many things, including lying, cruelty and totalitarianism. This comes through strongly in his novel 1984. In 1984 Winston smith, the main character is caught in futuristic totalitarian society. The story is of the effects on an average citizen, hence Winston Smith, as original as John Doe. His society is dominated by “Big Brother” which controls the thoughts and actions of all humans in it. It commands control through television – like devices called tele – screens. These tele screens are in most rooms including peoples own houses. Not only can the tele – screens broadcast government propaganda loaded media, but they also provide a means of aural and visual monitoring of the room in which they are located. Through these tele – screens Big Brother, and “the Party” with the help of the “thought Police” could retain it’s control over the people those in power don’t want to lose it.
The role of science in both books is extensive and complicated. 1984’s tele – screens cannot be turned off, as A Brave New World has “feelies,” an advancement on “talkies” which added sound, “feelies” add tactile senses to a movie as well. Science and human progress is not acknowledged in A Brave New World (Smith) excepting when it increases consumption, whereas it is twisted with ironic titles in 1984, “They were homes of the four Ministries between which the entire apparatus of government was divided: the Ministry of Truth, which concerned itself with news, entertainment, education, and the fine arts; the Ministry of Peace, which concerned itself with war; the Ministry of Love, which maintained law and order; and the Ministry of Plenty, which was responsible for economic affairs. Their names in Newspeak: Minitrue, Minipax, Miniluv, and Miniplenty.”). The God (Ford) of A Brave New World encourages production and consumption of shallow objects to complement the shallow minds of its citizens.
1984 was written as a warning against the results of having a totalitarian state. Winston bears the brunt of his mistakes, the crime of individuality and dissension. A Brave New World is as much a satire on the reality of today, hance the reality of Huxley’s day, as it is a novel about the future. Huxley seems to feel that society is progressing toward a materialistic and superficial end, in which all things of real value, including the relationships which make people human, will be quashed.
The two works vary greatly, A Brave New World is the Huxley’s expression of fear that mankind will create a Utopia by way of foregoing all that makes life worthwhile. Orwell’s work rings more sharply of secret police paranoia. Indeed, Winston is taken to room 101, while Bernard is merely transferred to an uncomfortable location. Hypocritical ideas are aslo much more evident in A Brave New World as well, owing to the controller’s having had a son. Both books forewarn of a day when humankind might fall slave to its own concept of how others should act.
The two books ask not whether societies with stability, pacification, and uniformity can be created, but whether or not they are worth creating. It is so often that one wants something and in wanting romanticizes it, therefore bringing us disappointment when the end is finally obtained. Just like when you wait and wait and wait for chrismas, and experince a hugelet down when it finally arrives, an anitclimax on a giant’s scale.
The books serve as a reminder to us, society, that it is necessary to have pain to compare with joy, defeat to compare with victory, and problems in order to have solutions. Both books end on negative notes; Bernard is exiled to work in Iceland and Winston is subjected to psychological treatment and then killed.