“Community. Identity. Stability.” These three words constitute the planetary motto of the characters of Aldous Huxley’s dystopian fiction Brave New World. (7) Theirs is a carefully structured post-modern society which managed to overcome political and social unrest through genetic engineering, strict social conventions, exhaustive conditioning, hypnosis and dependency on a drug called soma. In order for the stability of this world to be achieved, inhabitants are stripped of independent thoughts and emotions. This work is an exploration of the disturbing effects of homogeneity, control of technology and loss of personal autonomy on the members of the Brave New World.
There are no families in the Brave New World; as the Director of Hatcheries explains to a group of students at the outset of the novel, every aspect of this hyper-modernized society is designed to maximize happiness, stability and efficiency. Emotional attachment has thus become highly taboo, to the point where the word “mother” is considered an expletive and long-term relationships are forbidden. Rather than being birthed naturally, children are created in a factory; embryos are decanted on an assembly line, designed before and conditioned and hypnotized after birth to embrace their “inescapable social destiny.” (16) Due to these processes, outsiders and free thinkers are all but unheard of here, although a very few have managed to survive.
Bernard Marx is one such individual; his eccentricity stems from painful insecurities surrounding his physical inadequacy. His companion, Helmholtz Watson, shares his eccentricity but it soon becomes evident that Bernard’s is more strongly derived from lack of acceptance in the society than deep personal conviction. Marx holds his peers in contempt; he scorns them for their unquestioning conformity to state and detests their morals. His interest in the unusual and the shocking is evident when he invites Lenina Crowne, a popular factory employee and model citizen to whom he is attracted, on a getaway to a Savage reservation in New Mexico – one of the only places in the world that remains untouched by the technological and societal values of the new world.
The Savage reservation stands in stark contrast to the civilized existence which they are accustomed to. Even Bernard is shocked by the appearance of the Savages, although unlike Lenina he makes “an effort to seem unmoved.” (110) The natives are unclean, uneducated, barbaric and “Un-Fordly” in almost every manner possible, yet Bernard and Lenina manage to stumble across an individual who is...