“Community, Identity, Stability”. Alienation and oppression are explored heavily in the novel, which many of the characters experience. For example, Bernard is alienated because he is a misfit, too small and too powerless for the position he has been conditioned to enjoy. Helmholtz is seen to be too intelligent to play his role and finally, John who is also alienated on multiple levels. He is alienated by the Indian community, and feels he is unable to become part of the world state although this alienation can be seen to provide the characters motivation for their goals.
You could argue that this alienation is brought about due to the oppressive society in which the characters live. The new world order puts stability before everything, therefore the truth becomes undesirable. A lot of the characters follow the idea of ‘freedom hurts’; they are not willing to see the truth because it’s painful and often they can’t get to grips with the unfolding of lies. Although John can be seen as the exception, he is disgusted by the lack of humanity and “be happy all the time” ground rules. Therefore, he makes himself suffer to prove he is not under the thumb of the controllers.
John being the only human naturally born from a mother represents a very unique character. In the novel, conditioning and permanent social stratification is used to make everyone fit the system perfectly. John’s mother was created in the civilized society and lived there until John was accidentally conceived. John had a connection to civilised society very early on through Shakespeare and stories from his mother. John finally arrives at civilisation as an experiment by Bernard Marx and Mond and they were intrigued to see how a savage would cope in this new environment. John at first seems to cope well, but he is disgusted by the people’s lack of free will and their ignorance and selfishness. He denounces civilised society as Mustapha Mond tells him, “there is no place for God”. He creates his own society, which at first works, until reporters come and interrupt his tranquillity. He then ultimately turns to soma and eventually commits suicide as a form of escape. Overall, John shows us the failings of the savage and civilised society and although he created his own society that is different from the rest it also fails, indicating that there is no ideal tranquil society.
John is a religious man, he believes in life after death to an extent. We shouldn’t indulge in mortal life in order to save our souls in the next. In certain types of Christianity, self-torture can be seen as a way of cleansing the soul. Throughout the novel there are various incidents which show this emphasis on self-preservation. For example, in Chapter 18, John throws himself into a “thorny bush” and Lenina thrusts her nails into his wrists. When he exiles himself from the civilised society he forces himself to drink mustard which somewhat acts as a self-conditioning and repentance. Even soma is described as “Christianity without tears” as it helps control society without pursuing the divided nature of religion.
Karl Marx, the founder of Marxism, believes that the needs of the society are more important than our individual needs, because everybody has a role in society and a goal to accomplish. Marxists believe that if you serve the needs of someone else, everybody will make sure your own needs are taken care of. In the novel, it is illustrated by the fact that people are replaceable and that the only priority is the efficiency of society. Mustapha Mond, the world controller, is a key enforcer of this. We can see this from the first moment we are introduced to him; a key aspect of control in A Brave New World is the use of his loud voice which is used in Chapter 15 to calm the riots. As we are introduced to Mond we are instantly told of “his strong deep voice” and the fact that “his voice sent a strange thrill quivering along [the students’] diaphragms.” Mustapha Mond is an embodiment of the idea of control in the novel, and the mention of his loud domineering voice contributes to this.
Ironically one of the key moments in the novel regarding Mustapha Mond is when he isn’t speaking. In Chapter 12 he is reading a Biology paper, and although he is interested by it he does not hesitate to throw it away. He seems to sacrifice happiness in order to pursue the ideals of social efficiency.
“Mother, monogamy, romance” are the words Mustapha Mond uses when discussing society to the young. Something that John stands firmly against, Mond is stating that the world state has been created to do away with these things in order to create social stability. This stance creates Johns isolation, he doesn’t deem throwing away these basic freedoms are worth social stability. This is a key point in the novel as it creates John’s isolation and is a key chain in the events that led to his eventual alienation and suicide.
John’s fixation on Shakespeare comes from his early reading of his novels as part of the Indian society. In many ways Shakespeare’s works can be seen as an analogy for his life. For example, John finds himself isolated much like Othello does. Othello is discriminated because of his skin and John his upbringing. On the other hand John is not oblivious to his isolation. “Hey, I’ve spent my whole life being lonely. You too!? No way!” His acceptation of his loneliness is evident in this quote. Yet later on in the novel when he meets Lenina he sees someone who can remove him from his solitude. “Look! A white girl!” John sees someone who is like him; this therefore offers him a chance to escape his alienation.
This leads me on to the next comparison Huxley makes between John’s relationship with Lenina and Romeo and Juliet. John sees Lenina as his ticket to freedom so he attempts to ignore her flaws; this relates back to my earlier point about the pursuit of happiness. John finally cracks when Lenina offers him sex and he reacts angrily towards her. You could argue Lenina is nothing like the virginal Juliet that John portrays and demands her to be. She is often described “pneumatic” by Bernard, which suggests what she says and stands for bares no real substance.
Animal imagery is a significant concept in A Brave New World. At the start of the novel Huxley continuously references animals. “The delta children staring at Linda with the stupid curiosity of animals”, although civilised society has aims to become less animalistic it has the opposite effect. John soon shares the same view point and once this happens the characters in the novel start to refer to him as an animal. The crowd throws food at him like he was an “ape at the zoo”. This indicates to the reader that any attempt at further understanding in this society is deemed wrong and the people within the novel resort to animalistic tendencies, something that adds to John’s isolation and desires. You could argue John escapes in order to prove his humanity to God.
Brave New World: the Alienation of John in Both Cultures Essays
870 WordsDec 19th, 20054 Pages
Cursed to a life of isolation because of his appearance, values, and outrageous thoughts, John was alienated mentally, emotionally, and physically in both the Savage Culture and the World State Culture. Torn between keeping true to his virtues and conforming to society, the treatment of John highlights the values of both cultures in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. Not looking like the rest of the Indians on the reservation hampered John's ability to fit in with the Savage society. John wanted more than anything to be a part of the Indian culture, to be part of the ritual, to give his life. "Why wouldn't they let me be the sacrifice? I'd have gone round ten times twelve, fifteen." John asked why, but he knew the answer. "But they…show more content…
"You ought to have asked me first whether I wanted to meet them." John was sick of being shown to people and gawked at. The rift between John's values and the rest of the "civilized" people was further split when Lenina tried to have John. "Whore!" cried John when he realized what she was doing, "Damned whore!" His beliefs were tested and he passed. The new world was so different than the reservation, Lenina and the rest of society was pushing him further and further away. "They had mocked him through his misery and remorse, mocked him with how hideous a note of cynical derision! Fiendishly laughing, they had insisted on the low squalor, the nauseous ugliness of the nightmare" What was paradise to some, was hell to John. The brave new world he had dreamed of was turning out to be a nightmare. Isolating himself from the rest of the world was his only escape. In a last attempt to change society, John halted a soma distribution by throwing the rations out of a window. "But do you like being slaves?" John didn't understand because he didn't have the same upbringing or beliefs as the rest of the people. Before long John had become a hermit, secluded in an abandoned lighthouse. "After all, it was not to sing and enjoy himself that he had come here. It was to escape further contamination by the filth of civilized life; it was to be purified and made good; it was to actively make amends." To keep himself focused and away from