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F. "A.F" stands for the absolute god of this new world, Ford, an obvious allusion to Henry Ford one of the greatest and most successful manufacturers in history. The main slogan of this world is however different from that of Nineteen Eighty-Four: "Community, Identity, Stability."(Huxley, 1) the "brave new world" is not based on terror as Orwell's world was, but on conditioning and effective suggestions. Thus, the main difference is that in Orwell's world everything is done by psychological determination, whereas here the world is controlled by "New Pavlovian Conditioning." The population is here literally controlled since birth through scientific means: the human embryos are hatched in laboratories and afterwards separated in five strict classes: Alphas, Betas, Gammas, Deltas and Epsilons. Then hypnopaedia (repeated messages played during sleep) and negative stimuli (electric shock) are applied so that the individual development is thoroughly controlled. The main aim here is to abolish individuality completely and to create perfect homogeneity of the masses: "When the individual feels, the community reels." (Huxley, 94) Each individual is "created" through a complicated system in which he is conditioned so as to hate some things and love other things. In this way, each person would be satisfied with his own life conditions: "And that,' put in the Director sententiously, "that is the secret of happiness and virtue-liking what you've got to do. All conditioning aims at that: making people like their inescapable social destiny."(Huxley, 16) as in Orwell's book therefore, the power of the mind and that of psychological conditioning are superior to the forces of nature: "What man has joined, nature is powerless to put asunder." (Huxley, 22) the tendency of creating an absolutely leveled society, in which one person is like all the rest and the his or her destiny is predestinated hints at a form of similar control to that in Orwell's book: "Ford, we are twelve; oh make us one, / Like drops within the Social River; / Oh, make us now together run / as swiftly as thy shining Flivver. / Come, Greater Being, Social Friend, / Annihilating Twelve-in-One! / We long to die, for when we end, / Our larger life has but begun."(Huxley, 81) it is obvious thus that there can be no happiness in such a world, although the "brave new world" wants to be, like its name hints, a good, ideal world: "Happiness is never grand."(Huxley, 221) Everything is pre-made as from a cookery book, where the recipes are already given and the food only needs preparation: "All our science is just a cookery book, with an orthodox theory of cooking that nobody's allowed to question, and a list of recipes that mustn't be added to except by special permission from the head cook."(Huxley, 225) the phrase that gives the title of the book and which is taken from Shakespeare is obviously ironic: the world is neither new (everything is pre-established) nor brave (as change and innovation are not allowed):
This fictional dystopia is neither brave nor new. Instead, it is so controlled and safe that there is neither need nor opportunity for bravery. As for being "new," its unrelenting drives toward management and development, and its obsessions with predictable order and consumption, are as old as the Industrial Revolution."(Hochman, 2) the effective way of controlling such a society is to make it dependent on a drug called "soma," which serves as a way to level all conflicts or possible dissatisfaction: "There's always soma to calm your anger, to reconcile you to your enemies, to make you patient and long-suffering. In the past you could only accomplish these things by making a great effort and after years of hard moral training. Now, you swallow two or three half-gramme tablets, and there you are. Anybody can be virtuous now. You can carry at least half your morality about in a bottle. Christianity without tears-that's what soma is." (Huxley, 238) Thus, Huxley's main assumption is that a dystopian world can be achieved through absolute conditioning of the individual so as to make him consider his situation is perfect.
In Rushdie's Haroun and the Sea of Stories there both utopian and dystopian elements combined. Thus, Rushdie imagines the utopian world as an allusion to the curtailing of the freedom of speech in our society. Thus, he imagines the utopian world of the guppees where there is a "sea of stories" which is symbolic of the absolute freedom of speech: "Different parts of the Ocean contained different sorts of stories, and as all the stories that had ever been told and many that were still in the process of being invented could be found here...And because the stories were held there in fluid form they retained the ability to change, to become new versions of themselves, to join up with other stories and so become yet other stories... The Ocean of Streams of Story...was not dead but alive."(Rushdie, 72) the opposite dystopian world is that of Khattam Shud, who hates stories and argues that what reality needs is not fiction but "controlling": "The world, however, is not for Fun. The world is for Controlling."Which world?' Haroun made himself ask. 'Your world, my world, all worlds,' came the reply. 'They are all to be Ruled. And inside every single story, inside every Stream in the Ocean, there lies a world, a story-world that I cannot Rule at all. " (Rushdie, 161) Thus Rushdie creates in his world in which the multicultural utopia of free-speech is opposed to the dystopia of the modern political censorship: "Free narration is a form of free speech and thus is good for society. It is only through the free exchange of ideas and words that members of a community can achieve their full potential. This 'free' society is represented in Haroun by the Guppees who defend the story sea because it reflects the diversity of their own community, a multicultural utopia"(Teverson, 458)
Thus, the three works under discussion all hint at the possibility of the future existence of a dystopian world, and also at the fact that our present world may be a dystopia and we may be controlled without being aware of it.
Hochman, Jhan. "Overview of Brave New World." Exploring Novels. http://find.galegroup.com/ips/start.do?prodId=IPS.
Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World. New York: New Directions, 1999.
Keech, James. "The Survival of the Gothic Response," in Studies in the Novel, Vol. 6, No. 2, Summer, 1974, pp. 130-44.
Orwell, George. Nineteen Eighty-Four. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987.
Rushdie, Salman. Haroun and the Sea of Stories. New York: New Directions, 2006.
Teverson, Andrew S. "Fairy Tale Politics: Free Speech and Multiculturalism in Haroun and the Sea of Stories." Twentieth-Century Literature 47, no.…[continue]
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