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Brave New World and The Time Machine

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“….They’re so conditioned that they practically can’t help behaving as they ought to behave. And if anything should go wrong, there’s soma, which you go and chuck out of the window in the name of liberty….”

This quotation from the novel “Brave New World,” by Aldous Huxley depicts a world where people are divided into castes and exhaustively conditioned to perform specific tasks.

Set in the distant future, this novel was written in the 1930’s. The author’s views of the future arise from what he observed of Hitler’s efforts to promote a superior German race with blond hair and blue eyes. He believed in a racist brand of fascism. This political system is used in the setting of “Brave New World.” The World State is divided into ten zones each run by a resident World Controller. Each of the World Controllers believes that people who are conditioned are abnormal and inferior.

To maintain the stability of the World State, biological engineering and thorough conditioning is carried out. The World State is stable because the people in this “strange society are conditioned” to be happy with what they have. Contentedly, the people fulfil their social roles in life without experiencing pain or unhappiness.

During childhood, methods such as hypnopedia are used to instil the advantages of obedience and immoral sexual relations into them. Then, at the end of childhood, they are given soma, which allows them to be free of experiencing the negative feelings of life. The World State’s rule of conduct includes the saying; “Community, Identity and Stability”. With the help of soma, this rule of conduct is instilled more deeply into the minds of the citizens.

Like Aldous Huxley, H.G Wells had strong motives when writing “The Time Machine”. Written in 1895, Wells had predicted that humankind would destroy itself through the fast changes and growth of the science and the technology industries. Both novels portray a horrifying future.

“The Time Machine” is set in the future, where the human race has split into two distinct species;

“….It seemed clear as daylight to me that the gradual widening of the present merely temporary and social difference between the capitalist and the labourer, was the key to the whole position. No doubt it will seem grotesque enough to you- and wildly incredible!”

Immediately, the impact of this quotation, from H.G Well’s novel is that the differences between the two human species is extraordinary. Humanity is divided into the effete, the “beautiful” surface dwellers and the brutal “subterranean” Morlocks. The Morlocks- “….something inhuman and malign”. “Instinctively” the Time Traveller “loathed them”. As the story is told from the Time Traveller’s point of view, it is ironic that he considers the Morlocks to be “inhuman” as they derived from him and the current anthropoid.

The Time Traveller assumes that the Morlocks are the descendants of the working class, due to the large number of machinery and “ever larger underground factories.” That machinery is in place to perpetuate the easy life that the Eloi have apparently enjoyed for generations;

“So in the end, above ground you must have the Haves(rich) pursuing pleasure and comfort and beauty, and below ground the Have-nots(the working class), the workers getting continually adapted to the conditions of their labour.”

From this the Time Traveller concludes that they would have to pay rent and for ventilation of the caverns, and “….if they refused, they would starve or be suffocated for arrears.” However, because they could not afford the rent, the upper-world people stopped giving ventilation to the under world people. The survivors of the workers, “….became as well adapted to the conditions of underground life, and as happy in their way, as the upperworld people were to theirs.” The Eloi are existing in simple luxury thanks to the efforts of the Morlocks. Both groups are euphoric with their lifestyle.

The people of the novel, “Brave New World,” are happy with their place in their civilization like those from “The Time Machine.” There is much detail throughout most of the stories, which is used to describe the perceptions and attitudes of the characters in depth;

“The work gave him intense pleasure, After those weeks of idleness in London, with nothing to do, whenever he wanted anything but to press a switch or turn a handle, it was pure delight to be doing something that demanded skill and patience.”

This quotation, obtained from the last chapter of “Brave New World” explains why one particular person is happy with his place in society. In this extract, strong adjectives in expressions such as “intense” and “pure delight” is used emphasise the man’s positive ardour towards his work.

The language used in “The Time Machine” is very descriptive, like Brave New World. This is shown when the traveller reports a spectacle at one point of his trip to the future;

“For a little way the glare of my fire lit the path. Looking back presently, I could see, through the crowded stems, that from my heap of sticks the blaze had spread to some bushes adjacent, and a curved line of fire was creeping up the grass of the hill.”

Intense words such as “glare” and “creeping” successfully mark a great impact upon the reader. The way that Wells presents the setting and things included in this passage such as the position of where the “…blaze had spread” which was “…. To some bushes adjacent” is very detailed. Personification is used for the fire as it “…was creeping up the grass of the hill.”

The novel, “The Time Machine” has a serious, dejected style. Its usage of language is formal but not as exceedingly as “Brave New World.” The story is written in the first person and the narrator is the main character. Throughout the story, the reporter often refers to his opinion that “…it was impossible, somehow, to feel any humanity” to the Morlocks. Because the Time Traveller is the only principle character and the narrator of the story, it enables his perspective to be thoroughly expressed;

“Instinctively I loathed them (Morlocks)….Now I felt like a beast.”

The Time Traveller clearly proclaims his contempt for the Morlocks and makes it very clear to the reader how much he contradicts the system of society in the future.

The story of “Brave New World” is written in the third person. This is very important because detail of more than one person’s view is essential. It is important to know much about the Savage, for instance, as he is distinct from the rest of the characters and plays a major role in the story. Thus, the difference between his perspective and the views of the civilised people must be distinguished because it is significant to the story. Huxley includes elements of the feelings and attitudes of the characters of Brave New World;

“….the work gave him intense pleasure.”

In depth, this passage explains how much one is happy with his allocated place in the community using the adjective “intense.” The Savage “….was ashamed of his jealousy.” Unlike in “The Time Machine,” the opinions of more than one character are constantly expressed thoroughly throughout the book.

Bernard Marx objects to the structure of society and the philosophy of the system “freedom from pain,” where no negative emotions are experienced. “He laughed,” and says to his girlfriend;”

“Yes, ‘everybody’s happy nowadays,’ We begin giving the children that a five. But wouldn’t you like to be in some other way, Lenina? In your own way for example: not in everybody else’s way.”

This rhetorical question, taken from chapter six, shows Bernard expressing his misery to his girlfriend, Lenina. He uses the line “Everybody’s happy nowadays,” with a sense of sarcasm. This Alpha-Plus is different from the other members of his rank in society. He is supposed to be conditioned to be happy without solitude but his physical appearance resembles that of a Gamma, a group regarded as a lower caste than Alpha- Pluses. One of the characters even suggests that a “minor mistake” was committed while he was “still in the bottle” and that he was “mistaken for a Gamma.” This may explain why he has a desire to be an individual, unlike the other Alpha-Pluses, and objects to the regime of the World State.

“The Time Machine” has a variety of different length sentences. An example of this is when the Time Traveller says;

“My pockets had always puzzled Weena, but at last she had concluded that they were an eccentric kind of vase for floral decoration. At least she utilized them for that purpose. And that reminds me! In changing my jacket I found….”

The first sentence is very extensive and complex, followed by two compact sentences. The third one sounds effective as it increases the possibility of tension and action. In total, the novel is written in a sombre, sincere style, which adds to the shocking and gloomy effect, which the narration tries to produce.

“Brave New World” is written in a serious style that contains formal language with a wide- ranging and challenging vocabulary. The book contains a compound of long, contrived sentences and short, direct sentences. A sample of this is the following quotation from the first chapter;

“A scientific triumph. But socially useless. Six year old men and women were too stupid to do even Epsilon work.”

Here, there are three sentences, two crisp short which create a strong impact and one that is long and descriptive.

Overall, the author has used a complicated abstract style. He also does not express any of his opinions of the story and leaves the reader to form their own. An example is;

“While the child was asleep, a broadcast programme from London suddenly started to come through: and the next morning, to the astonishment of his crash and crash (the more daring of the boys ventured to grin at one another), Little Reubon woke up repeating word for word a long lecture by that curious old…”

I think Huxley is trying to give a grave warning of the dehumanising effects of uncontrolled science. In addition, he is depicting a fascist society that is against all individualism. Therefore, this author attempts to portray how the future would be affected if a fascist like Hitler had won World War II.

The character I can relate to the most in “The Time Machine” is the Time Traveller. Because Well’s intentions were to persuade his readers to oppose the operations of this new world, he makes the narrator emit a negative report of his journey. As a reader, I feel that if I were the Time Traveller, I would be against the division of the Morlocks and Elois which derived from the division of the working class and first class which occurred in society in the late 19th century. Therefore, I choose to oppose society in the future.

John the Savage, “Brave New World”, possesses the same views as Bernard but he is a much more resistant person. It is he that counteracts to the greatest extent and boldly declares the horrors of the system. Without this character in the story, we would not be able to identify with someone who, like us, does not live in an area that is conducted by using methods of conditioning. The purpose of this book was to allow the author to express his fears and opinions of what a fascist dictator like Hitler is capable of instigating. Possibly, the reason why Huxley made John oppose the system of the World State was, in a very subtle way, to persuade us to share this character’s views on indoctrinating humans.

Both novels possess depressing views of the future. They both depict a society where the citizens are divided into castes or ranks and only those of the highest position are given more privileges than the rest. Each of the two novels features a character that resists against the cruel regime of the society. In Huxley, one lives in the community but disagrees with the system of his homeland. The character in Wells, is a visitor shocked at his discovery of the division into two sections of the human species. The regime of each community is maintained differently from the other.

In “Brave New World,” brainwashing is used to achieve “happiness without pain.” The idea is that, the world will be much happier if everyone is conditioned to be happy with what they have and who they are. Liberty is insufficient for specific members of the community and is only available to those of an elite.

“The Time Machine”, on the other hand, presents a world where evolution is used instead of conditioning, to maintain its system. As the operation of society in this book was a gradual process, the people were adapted to the prerequisites and conditions of this management. That is why everyone in this community was happy, dissimilar to Bernard in “Brave New World.” It was a visitor, the Time Traveller, who perceived the horror of the future.

In my opinion, the idea of Huxley’s novel is more favoured as it arouses more of my interest. The reason for this is because recently, the code of the human D.N.A has being solved making it possible for conditioning in embryos to take place using the knowledge of genetic science. “Brave New World” delineates the possible outcome of us existing in a fascist regime if Hitler had won World War II. Well tries to express his fears of uncontrolled science and division between poor and rich people.

I would recommend Huxley’s novel more than Well’s novel. The justification for my perception is that I find that “Brave New World” is a more viable situation and very prophetic.

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