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.
Download

Utopia vs. Dystopia