Discomfort- Brave New World PR

Brave New World left me severely uncomfortable.

Huxley’s methods of instilling discomfort within his readers left me astonished, and frankly not wanting to continue.  Since its release, the book was under constant controversy for its apparent use of drugs and the shameless sexual promiscuity. Although nearly one hundred years have passed since the book’s initial release in 1932, there are numerous instances where I felt dumbstruck at the book and its contents.

The story is centered around a seemingly utopic society, where citizens are encouraged to take recreational anti-depressants, to remain in a constant state of polygamy, and go through heavy brain “conditioning” since birth. Citizens no longer have family, emotion, imagination, religion, or any sort of individuality. Why would they? They already have soma- induced “happiness”, constant sex and orgies, and Sunday Solidarity Service!

As a teenage girl, the instances throughout the book involving the degradation, and sometimes violence against women, incited some uneasiness. I found irony in the fact that in this “Brave New World” with a supposed better quality of life, the normalization of the objectification and sexualization of women still stands. The encouragement of these things is also worth noting. For example, in Chapter III, one of the main characters, Lenina, comments on how her current sexual partner Henry Foster, patted her behind. One of her few female friends Fanny, responds triumphantly, “That shows what he stands for. The strictest conventionality.” (pg. 35). I do no believe Huxley did this with the intention of commenting on women’s rights, more so alluding towards the casual polygamy and sex throughout the story.

The story becomes all the more disturbing when some horrible details are realized within our society.

I found ways to enjoy the book and its sterile language, and political implications. Moreover, there were multiple instances while reading where I questioned: Why do I need to read this? I’m just a fifteen year old girl! Why am I reading about fake drugs and sex for a tenth grade novel study? I am still questioning some of these, but I learned that I do not always have to enjoy what I am reading. I find myself wanting to live in a sort of ignorant bliss. I have also learned to become grateful for the things that Lenina and John came close to, but do not have. These being emotion, free will, and the ability to choose the colour of my clothes.



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