As part of the Back to Classics Challenge, I chose to reread Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. I first read this novel in 8th grade at Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School in NYC, however, I do not think I fully grasped the ideas presented in the book at that age. I do remember feeling torn apart by the ideas of controlled destiny.
I grew up in a home where I was always fighting for control. I often felt that I needed my mother’s permission to simply exist. By high school, I longed for the freedom to be flawed. This battle had a devastating effect on me, and I spent much time withdrawn and creating drama where none existed just to have a reason to rage.
In Brave New World, chaos is not a problem. Leaders use science to predetermine position and eugenics. They also use hypno-edcuation to control fate and to ensure complicity. It seems that control is not just a goal but a necessity.
I imagine that this world came about as the result of one that closely resembles our own. Just think about it for a minute or two. Politicians are failing their citizens. Lawmakers are cutting government programs. The politicization of education has corrupted the whole system. Some see individualism as an act of tyranny.
Additionally, the role of parents is changing and not necessarily for the best. Police are acting more like soldiers and no one feels safe. Women are losing access to reproductive care and rights. Years of racial inequalities, covert and now overt racism are bringing racial tensions to the front and center.
Disharmony is the best way to describe the current state of affairs, and it seems that only drastic measures will fix what ails us. Huxley carefully constructs this new world as the solution to the problems of the world. At its core is a love story- a tragedy in the vain of Shakespeare.
What was it like to reread Brave New World?
What can I say? It took me far too long to finish reading Brave New World as the writing can be a bit tedious at times. Don’t get me wrong — Huxley a skilled author and does an excellent job of matching the monotony of the daily life with his prose. Yet a few chapters (or maybe just sections) can drag on and feel like they are never-ending. While I enjoyed this novel very much and although am planning to read Brave New World Revisited, I am taking a break from the heaviness of it all.