Utopia vs. Dystopia Brave New World as a Dystopia What is an Utopia? Literally it means “a place that does not exist” Basically it is the “perfect” society Utopistic narratives involve the descriptions of societies similar to the author’s own society, but better. That means the society is similar to ours, but functions more ideally. Basic Points in a Utopian Novel: The story is set in an isolated place The story is developed by following the principles of that place/society In the place/society there is a ruling class A tragic development occurs in contrast with what the reader expects What is a Dystopia? A place where the conditions of life are extremely bad, from deprivation, oppression, or terror. A dystopia narrative tells the story from this perspective. Basic Points in a Dystopia A hierarchical society where divisions between the upper, middle and lower classes are definitive and unbreakable (Caste system). The propaganda and the educational system have the purpose of preserving the order of system/society. The cancellation of individuality. Basic Points in a Dystopia The constant surveillance by state police agencies Back story of a disaster that justifies the dramatic social changes A protagonist that doubts the society More advanced technologies Brave New World BNW is a dystopia HUXLEY DOES NOT WANT THE SOCIETY IN BNW TO ACTUALLY HAPPEN He is satirizing the British society he was living in and criticizing their increasing emphasis on logic and disregarding emotions. This was a growing problem and idea seen in Hitler Germany during WWII. Brave New World Reference Points Rev. Thomas Robert Malthus Pointed out the dangers of population overgrowth. People have the ability to create more life than the planet can handle. Our book references a “Malthusian belt” that Lenina got as a present. This belt is her means of birth control. Ivan Petrovich Pavlov He is the guy that realized people could be conditioned to behave a certain way. This information is used to condition the behavior of the inhabitants of the Brave New World. In BNW this is done in the “Neo-Pavlovian Conditioning Rooms” using a shock and reward system to teach children what they do and do not like. Karl Heinrich Marx He is credited with founding Communism. The idea of everything belonging to the state is a communist idea that the BNW society functions within. Basically he believed that in a Capitalistic society we were destined to be in conflict with one another and that this conflict led to problems. In BNW everything is predetermined and we all work for one another. Karl Heinrich Marx continued Marx believed that the largest conflict in society involved labor. We all need to work, but the better technology gets the less we need workers. In the BNW everyone has a job and items are built to wear out. That way we are in constant need for new goods and therefore constant need for workers to create these goods. Thus, no conflict. Communism A system in which everyone works to their ability and gets according to their need. Ideas were put to paper by Karl Marx and Fredrich Engels. This society was attempted in Russia by Lenin and Trotsky. It eventually failed and became democratic. The society in BNW is similar yet still has classes and leaders unlike a true communist state. Shakespeare His works are now forbidden reading. They are emotional and therefore BAD! Four main plays are referenced: The Tempest Othello Romeo and Juliet King Lear The Tempest The king in our play takes on a slave and tries to make him “civilized”. In doing so the slave does not fit in with his own people and yet he is not good enough to be part of the new world. The same happens with John when he comes to the new world. He is white and yet not one of them. His color has kept him from belonging with the people with whom he was raised and yet his upbringing keeps him from fitting into the BNW. Othello Othello is a jealous man that is constantly torn between viewing his wife as a pious, clean woman and a whore causing him to love and hate her at the same time. John goes through the same concerns with Lenina. He is in love with her and wants her, and yet he is jealous of the idea of everyone belonging to everyone else and does not want to share her. Romeo and Juliet Forbidden love that can not be attained. (I’m not going into more detail you read this!) John references this play since Lenina is unattainable and they come from separate backgrounds. King Lear Father is tricked by his daughters and they ruin him. When he realizes he has been tricked he goes on a tirade about the evilness of women. After John feels Lenina has tricked him, he hits her and quotes King Lear’s tirade showing his distrust for women.