Remnants Of Hope In Zamyatin’s We And Huxley's Brave New World

1934 words - 8 pages

Humanity, despite Huxley and Zamyatin illustrating two different types of dystopia where servitude is commonplace, manages to hold on to the remnants of hope which can be found in numerous (and sometimes unexpected) places.

Soma, described by Mustapha Mond as ‘euphoric, narcotic, pleasantly hallucinant’, is a drug that took ‘six years [sic] [to be] produced commercially’. It offers the conditioned society hope by giving them a way to always be happy; ‘a gramme of soma’ can cure anything in their eyes, apart from a ‘glum Marx’ . However, in all actuality it doesn’t offer hope but rather gives the illusion of hope. Instead, it controls the population, enslaving them with happiness. In chapter seven, Lenina ‘[feels] in her pocket for her soma – only to discover that, by unprecedented oversight, she had left the bottle down at the rest-house’ . This horrifies her as she has to ‘face the horrors of Malpais unaided’ as well as exemplifying how reliant they are on soma, which draws parallels to a modern society. Even if doctors don’t always prescribe us a variety of mood altering pharmaceutical drugs to tranquilise and sedate us, many people choose to seek them out illegally. Contra to Marx who said the ‘religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people’ , soma is the religion of the people. It is much like how we can become the slave of technology – it can be our master, as it has lost its human purposes. It is now used to restrict human conduct and human choice quite significantly. Mond mentions how soma is like‘Christianity without the tears’ , which goes on to solidify how religion and soma function in the same way – they both give us comfort at the expense of individuality. Therefore soma, on the surface provides the inhabitants of World State with an illusion, but in reality it is used as means to control them.

In Zamyatin’s We, society is controlled more through a military-like regimentation which assigns numbers to people as means of distinguishing them from one another, instead of the happiness inducing soma which Huxley utilises. In spite of the strict routine which the citizens of One State must follow where an impersonal sex visit must be applied for, I-330 flirts with D-503, looking at ‘[his] hands’ even when he ‘can’t stand people looking at [his] hands’ . The rebellious nature of I-330, who smokes cigarettes and drinks alcohol in discordance with One State and her ‘slender, sharp, tough, and springy as a whip’ figure contrasts with O-90 ‘everything about her round with the babyish crease on her arm’ who represents everything that One State stands for. Even though O-90 wants to ‘come to [D-503’s] place today and let the blinds down. Today – right this minute’ , ‘she knows as well as [he] does that [their] next Sex Day is the day after tomorrow’ compared to I-330 who casually invites him without an order to come and see her ‘the day...

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