Brave New World And 1984 Imagine a world in which people are produced in factories, a world lost of all freedom and individuality, a world where people are exiled or “disappear” for breaking the mold. Both 1984 by George Orwell and Aldous Huxleys Brave New World are startling depictions of such a society. Although these novels are of fictional worlds, control of the future may be subtly evolving and becoming far worse than Huxley or Orwell could ever have imagined. Each society destroys the freedom of the individual through various controlling methods such as the denial of language and literature, a caste system and conditioning. One way in which each society controls is by limiting the language and literature of every citizen.
In 1984, a language called Newspeak is devised in order to narrow all thought into one mode. There are three categories of Newspeak vocabulary: A, B and C. The A vocabulary consists of words used in everyday life to express simple thoughts. The B vocabulary includes words meant for political usage, forcing a particular mental state on the person using the vocabulary. Finally, the C vocabulary is based solely on technical and scientific words, constructed of only strict and rigid meanings. Individual thought is completely impossible because the constricted vocabulary is intended to include only principles of the Newspeak language. The vocabulary is constructed so that words of unorthodox meaning such as “individual freedom” are eliminated all together.
Newspeak is designed to douse the flame of thought and idea, while encouraging collective ideas. Over time, Newspeak destroys any variation of idea from the intention of the “Partys”. Literature is also slowly altered so that the authors original meaning is lost to the meaning of the Newspeak language. Newspeak translations seem to consume thoughts and memories much like a sponge absorbs water. In the Brave New World, literature and art are taken away in order to destroy individuality and freedom of thought. For as Mustapha Mond says, “It isnt only art thats incompatible with happiness; its also science. Science is dangerous; we have to keep it most carefully chained and muzzled” (Huxley 231).
The Controller has made thinking impossible by taking away all science, art and religious based books. Literature, such as Shakespeare and the Bible, that teaches old-fashioned morality and beliefs is non-existent in the brave new world because people cannot understand its text. Consequently, by banning literature the people cannot experience life to the fullest. Its colors are dulled because the individual never has the chance to feel the vast spectrum of life. Emotions like anger, sorrow, love, trust and caring do not exist. As the Savage explains, he never knew he hated Pope until he felt the emotions through the works of Shakespeare.
Thus, by destroying forms of art, all emotions are destroyed as well. Only happiness at its simplest state is spared, for blind happiness is necessary for stability. As an individual, there comes an ability to recognize and value what beauty truly is, such as the waves crashing upon a shore or the innocence of a child. But with the denial of literature and language, the individual is a mindless member of society. In each novel, a caste system is developed in hopes of keeping each group separate from one another, yet each individual alike.
In the book 1984, there are three different social classes: the Inner Party-the rich, the Outer Party-the middle class, and the Proles-the poor. Each party plays a part in an endless cycle of control. The Inner Party controls and is out of touch with the others. The Outer party resents the Inner partys superiority, while the Prolesare seemingly oblivious to their destitute place in society. As the classes are detached and busy, the Inner Party is free to create the future by destroying all evidence of the past.
For example, if an estimated 10 million shoes are to be produced that year and only 5 million are actually produced, then they destroy all evidence of ever having estimated 10 million. They find all newspapers including this information and destroy them. The Ministry of Truth then prints a new estimate in the next newspaper, stating they over-filled their quota. The caste system is a way of manipulating the thoughts and actions of each group, thus limiting the power they possess to realize their individualism. In Brave New World, each person is chemically pre-determined and born into a certain class. There are several castes beginning with the Alphas, the highest class, to the Epsilons, the lowest class. Each person is merged into a certain social position in which they are conditioned to be content.
As young children, members of each caste dresses in a distinct color to identify themselves with one another. They are also taught to dislike those who are different by the soft whispers played into their ears, increasing the gap between the groups. They are all identical and incapable of asserting individual will and free thought. Intellectual incapabilities and the preoccupation with work deter them from an original thought process. Conditioning also eliminates the possibility of individuality in each society.
In 1984, the members are occupied with a job by day and “Party” activities by evening. They are encouraged to participate in “Party” related activities at the Community Center amongst like-minded people. This allows for limited time to ponder their thoughts in solitude. Individualism is also controlled through enforced uniformity. Each and every member is constantly in the presence of a telescreen. The telescreen monitors each members actions throughout the day and their sleep throughout the night.
For example, “Smith!” yelled a voice from the telescreen. “6079 Smith W! Hands out of pockets in the cells!” (187) Even while being held by the Thought Police, Winston is watched by a telescreen. Each man and woman looks very similar in appearance and in dress as well. All clothes are described as dull, mostly in shades of gray and black. Using one of the Partys mottoes, “Freedom is Slavery”, conditioning is also administered.
This basically states that the individual does not survive alone. Only as part of a collective culture, the “Party”, will a person live on forever. The motto, “Ignorance is Strength” also limits individualism by spreading ignorance. The Inner Party keeps the Outer Party ignorant by constantly changing the truth, and destroying all data proving otherwise. The Proles are also kept ignorant through contentness, achieved by allowing them certain liberties such as love, family and sexual relations. These activities act as an escape for any emotions that must be released. They are not considered a true menace to society because they are incapable of intelligent thought and action. Citizens of the brave new world are conditioned both physically and chemically prior to “birth”. While developing in the tube, each baby is assured the proper physical characteristics and given certain vaccinations.
Every tube baby will develop a liking and an aptitude for the work they will do as adults. After birth, hypnopaedia is used to plant suggestions that will channel each child into a certain mind-set associated with their castes. They are conditioned to dread being alone, for isolation creates introspection, which in turn fosters a sense of individualism. For example, this is expressed in a scene where Bernard takes Lenina out on a first date. He suggests they go for a walk and talk, but Lenina finds such an activity distasteful.
She instead persuades Bernard to take her to the Semi-Demi Finals of the Womens Heavyweight Wrestling Championships (Huxley 64). Soma tablets are also distributed in order to calm any hint of revolt or occurrence of thought. It is a drug taken to dull the senses of the urgency and desire for action. For as Lenina says, “Remember one cubic centimetere cures ten gloomy sentiments” (Huxley 89). Throughout 1984 and Brave New World, each method of control is intended to keep the individual from questioning their individuality. By limiting language and literature, creating social classes and conditioning, these societies are able to accomplish their goal.
Yet, as long as humans continue to desire to acquire knowledge, this will never be allowed to happen. For it is upon the strengths of the individuals that our entire society is built.