Presentation Of Satire In Brave New World

804 words - 3 pages

Analyse the passage (John the Savage in the hospital); discern presentation of satire and how it is wrought.

In Brave New World Huxley is targeting consumer, materialistic attitudes that existed in his time (and still do today) and extrapolating, then projecting them into the world that is the World State, to serve as a warning to society of the consequences of these attitudes. The passage in question is from Chapter XIV of Huxley’s Brave New World, and more specifically features the incident in which the ‘Savage’, John, visits his dying mother at a hospital, and subsequently instigates a riot because of soma, which he abhors.
The drug, soma, in particular is emblematic in its pervasive influence into the World State, of the power of technology and ‘ignorance is bliss’ outlook over science and it’s ideal as a search for truth. Soma is embraced by the populace as a means of instant gratification, embodied by such hypnopaedic platitudes as ‘One cubic centimetre cures 10 gloomy sentiments’ or ‘A gramme is always better than a damn’, drilled into the subconscious of the people, having ‘heard the words repeated 150 times every night for 12 years’. ‘Christianity without tears’ is how Mustapha Mond describes soma, contrasting with the Savage’s view that ‘the tears are necessary’ as displayed in the passage.
The first satirical irony of the passage is that John is indeed referred to as a ‘Savage’, whereas the model of humanity shown by John stemming from Shakespeare’s presentation of human nature (through his works) is quite simply more humane, and more comparable to our own contemporary ideal of what it is to be human. This is exemplified by the character of Lenina, who is frequently referred to by other men (and even herself) as being ‘pneumatic’, and elsewhere this same adjective is applied to a chair, effectively reducing Lenina to little more than an object, a piece of meat. “Like meat,’ he was thinking… ‘She thinks of herself that way. She doesn’t mind being meat.” (Pg. 83)
Similar to this, is how the society of the World State has conditioned the populace so that modern social attitudes have in fact been phased out of existence, even to the extent of something as basically moral as concern for others’ welfare:
“Is there any hope?’ he asked.
‘You mean, of her not dying? … No, of course there isn’t.’ … Startled by the expression of distress…” (Pg. 180-1)...

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