26 Aralık 2011 Pazartesi

Brave New World as a Dystopia


The word utopia coined by Thomas More (and used as title of his book, about an imaginary island enjoing perfect legal, social and political systems). The word comprise from Greek ou (not) + topos (place), and extended to “any perfect place”. When we look at anthropologists informs, we realize that the idea of searching a better place to live is stand to ancient tribes. For example, special to B.C. period, Guarani tribe searched for Land Without Evil.   

What about dystopia? In 1868, J. S. Mill coined this word to use as title of his story called “Hansard Commons”. The word compose form Greek dys- (bad, abnormal) + utopia (any perfect place), and extended to “imaginary bad place”. As we can see from the etymological statement, with the negator, the word utopia turned into a negative meaning. Dystopian works describes a futuristic, imagined universe in which oppressive societal control and the illusion of a perfect society are maintained through corporate, bureaucratic, technological, moral or totalitarian control. Dystopias, through an exaggerated worst-case scenario, make a criticism about a current trend, societal norm or political system.

There are some characteristics of a dystopian society, such as: propaganda is used to control the citizens of society; information, independent thought and freedom are restricted; citizens live in a dehumanized state; the society is an illusion of a perfect utopian world; citizens conform to uniform expectations; individuality and dissent are bad; the natural world is banished and distrusted; citizens have a fear of the outside world; a figurehead or concept is worshipped by the citizens of the society; citizens are perceived to be under constant surveillance…

In a dystopian novel/story there will be a clever protagonist who believes or feels that something is wrong with the society in which he lives, questions the existing social and political systems, feels trapped and is struggling to escape and helps the audience recognizes the negative aspects of the dystopian world through his perspective.

We may say that Brave New World is both technological and philosophical/religious control types of dystopia. There is technology; they produce babies, as they want to. There is philosophical/religious control by the idea of Fordism. The control component is one of the main importance of a dystopian work—otherwise how can you repress people to do whatever you want—and this novel has both types of it.

There are mottos to make society obedient, such as; “Ending is better than mending.”—a message promoting consumerism. The manager of the BNW, use a sleeping-learning technique supposed to be moderately effective at making people remember direct passages or facts, word for word. They create non-real facts for the society. This type of messaging is one of the characteristics of a dystopian work and as we can see from Huxley, he used this very skillfully.

It fits as a dystopian novel to the characteristics of a dystopian work, like we talked about it above.

The protagonist Bernard Marx’s wishes are exactly the opposite of the society. He wants to be alone, believes monogamous life. These demands are not quite expectable for that society. The difference between him and the rest of the society may be seen from his physical appearance; he is short then the rest of his class. Helps us, as the readers, to see the defects of this utopic society and we realise that it is actually a dystopia.     

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