Brave New World - Society And Socio-economic Class


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Discuss how the society in Brave New World works to ensure that people do not change their socio-economic class.

Through Brave New World, Huxley depicts a new, industrialized world, which is financially stable and has prevented poverty and self-destruction. Dictatorial governments are there to ensure stability and maintain perfection of the world.

Therefore, just like under any other totalitarian government, social, mental and economic freedoms are abolished in order to retain social stability. The government eliminated these freedoms by censoring art and religion, by predestining peoples’ social caste prior their birth, and by controlling each individual’s life with the introduction of conditioning.

At the beginning of the novel, the Director addresses his students and mentions, “ We also predestine and condition. We decant our babies as socialized human beings, as Alphas or Epsilons, as future sewage workers or future Directors of Hatcheries,” (p. 29). Citizens of the World State are categorized into distinct social classes, before they come into existence. Mr. Foster explains, “The lower the caste, the shorter the oxygen,” and this shows how chemical conditioning of the embryos presets the mentality and physical features of individuals towards a certain standard specified by the government. (p. 29) In an autocratic society whose aim is to maintain perfection, people no longer have the right to choose who or what they want to be. The government engineers babies to grow into efficient adults, who will then again contribute towards a stabilized society.

After birth babies’ minds are altered to accept the moral education of the government. Two processes the new world uses to control human judgement are the Neo-Pavlovian process and hypnopaedia. The children, during early childhood, are trained to like and dislike certain aspects of life, nature, and science so that they can consume the maximum resources. Beta babies receive electric shocks in the presence of flowers and books and then the Director teaches how, “ They’ll grow up with what the psychologists … call an ‘instinctive’ hatred of books and flowers … they’ll be safe from books and botany all their lives," (p. 36). The conditioning of the children forms a barrier in their minds, so that they are never free to decide for themselves, but are always bounded by the instructions of the state. Thus, the government is achieving its goal, the maintenance of stability.

The Alpha students also got a chance to hear one of the hypnopaedic repetitions addressing Beta babies which echoed, “ Alpha children wear grey.

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They work much harder than we do, because they are so frightfully clever. I’m really awfully glad I’m a Beta, because I don’t work so hard. And then we are much better than the Gammas and Deltas…” (p. 42). The Director explains to his students how these phrases are repeated, “ till at last the child’s mind is these suggestions…the mind that judges and desires and decides…” and how it is the suggestions from the State that become the child’s mind. (p. 43) Social groups are marked by a different colour, making it easier for everyone to recognize and differentiate between them. The government controls stability in this way, because hypnopaedia as such influences human psychology by making everyone fit into his or her own caste, and dislike or fear other classes. Therefore, in this way the state ensures prejudice and discrimination between social groups and this eliminates the chances of anyone thinking of changing their own social class, thus disturbing the world order.

The establishment of a social caste system also limits citizens to a certain amount of knowledge they are allowed to gain. Linda for instance is a Beta who worked in the Fertilizing Room with the embryos, but when her son asked her what chemicals were, she answered, “…I don’t know. You get them out of bottles…it’s the Chemical Store people who make them…” (p. 136). The Chemical Store people are Alphas who are allowed to know the most, however, without them knowing it, their knowledge is also limited. It is the cloned Epsilons who “don’t need human intelligence,” to perform their tasks, (p. 30).

In order to guarantee stability within their society, the totalitarian governments must limit everyone’s knowledge, because in this way, everyone will be happy with what they are doing and there will not be any fights or strikes that will influence efficiency and stability.

People in this new world live in the present with no knowledge of history. Influencing pieces of literature are eliminated by the government, and censorship is applied everywhere to attain stability. Mustapha Mond, after reviewing a book writes, “The author’s…conception of novel and highly ingenious, but heretical and…dangerous and potentially subversive…Not to be published…the author will be kept under supervision,” (p.178). Without the books to give the people ideas, and with the conditioning of the mind, no one would attempt a revolution or an uprising. Huxley’s novel illustrates how religion can be sacrificed for stability, where religion is no longer needed to satisfy human desire. Mustapha Mond explains to John, “… why should we go hunting for a substitute for youthful desires, when youthful desires never fail? A substitute for distractions, when we go on enjoying all the old fooleries to the very last? What need have we of repose when our minds and bodies continue to delight in activity? of consolation, when we have soma? of something immovable, when there is the social order,” (p. 231). By not allowing the citizens to believe in something holy, something beyond imagination, the state is restricting the faith of its citizens and taking away the freedom to dream and believe. “History is bunk,” said the Controller to remind his students. (p. 48) This ideology is taken to extreme measures in the totalitarian World State that aims for stability, where censorship of art and religion forms a barrier in the citizens’ minds which halts the progression of human quest for knowledge and suppresses the freedom of thought and imagination.

The ultimate society of Brave New World is run by Ten World Controllers, the only humans who are aware of the situation the world is in. Communally they form a dictatorial government that must maintain stability in order to preserve perfection. Consequently, by predestining peoples’ lives, and choosing to condition them, and by censoring art and religion, they abolish the social and mental freedoms of civilians and in this way ensure that people do not change their socio-economic class.


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