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Brave New World

In a world where the concepts of family, marriage, love, science, religion, and loyalty no longer exists, a character who has parents become the marginalized when entering into the Brave New World. In the book Brave New World, Huxley juxtaposes two worlds into one setting, where the Savage Reservation coexists with the civilized Brave New World as a place of the outcasts of society. It is under such a setting that Huxley explores the colonial gaze—when people like Bernard and Lenina look at the perceived barbarians like John, a character from the Savage Reservation. Born in a completely different world, John carries on values and morals utterly different from the Brave New World values, and his unusual origin direct contrasts with the imagined utopian society and reveals the core values of humanity and the daunting consequences of compromising freedom and happiness for the illusions of social stability. In the book, Huxley uses John—a seemingly outlier of society with mysterious origins—to point out the problems with the dystopian world and to advocate for a society that could preserve personal liberty and free will.

        In Brave New World, John’s unusual origins render him a spectacle when he leaves New Mexico for Brave New World, and John’s values give him the courage to directly speak up against the dauntingly dehumanizing world that he sees, which represents the larger conversation between human morals and the rapidly corrupting society. When John is astonished by the extensive use of soma and orgy porgy, for example, he challenges the toxic habits and raises the intellectual question of the real meanings of happiness, arguing that real happiness comes from the internal feelings of joy, instead of from outside stimuli. Similarly, during the heated debate with Mond about World State policies, John exclaims that he does not want comfort but wants God, poetry, real danger, freedom, and goodness as well as sin. Through the introduction of John into the novel, Huxley adds an important perspective that presents a direct clash between humanistic values and the dehumanizing nature of the World State, where anonymity, homogeneity, and dullness replace the exciting human world. From adding the voice of John, a character with unusual origins as compared with the people born in tubes in the World State, Huxley reveals the absurdity and horrifying consequences of the dystopian society that prioritizes conformity over individualism.

        Besides using the confrontation between John and the World State to condemn the problems with the dystopian world, Huxley directly calls for the preservation of humanity in the novel in the book and uses John to celebrate the profound values in society. Through the empowering conservation with Mond, the leader of the World State, John reaffirms his values and narrates that “I like being myself. Myself and nasty.” The confidence of the character translates directly into the importance of freedom and individuality to the character, who claims the right to be happy despite knowing that he would “be tortured by unspeakable pains of every kind” as a price. The conversation fully demonstrates that John, even when being informed of the human illnesses and suffering that would accompany, would stand behind freedom and resort not to lose his basic free will. Similarly, experiences in the World State reignite John’s love for his original world; through the relationship with Lenina, John goes through confusion and comes to the revelation that he wants passion and hopes to feel something strongly. From the contrast, Huxley rekindles the defining characteristics of humanity and reminds the audience of the importance of such values. Although John is an outlier in the New State with a mysterious origin, his speech and his defense for freedom could easily resonate with the reader.

        To John, a human from the Savage Reservation who dares to think, love, and act based on his free will, World State purports to be a ridiculous place that imprisons the humanity of the people; to people from the World State who have been conditioned since their birth, John appears as a hilarious maniac. It is through the interesting encounter between the characters from clashing world that Huxtley presents the incompatible nature between a dehumanizing state and the restoration of humanity. With John, Brave New World no longer functions as an isolated dystopia but encompasses the direct conflict between freedom and conformity, happiness and robotic numbness, and between a flawed world full of human experiences and emotions and a seemingly perfect one that ironically dehumanizes each individual.


Published by Sunny

I am a high school rising sophomore and I love to read and write.

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