Brave new world and 1984 comparison essay thesis

Other links which may be of interest to readers who were pointed here:

  • Full text of the foreword to Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death , which the comic was inspired by.
  • A 60 minute lecture by Neil Postman on technology and society.
  • A Guardian article about George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four writing process .
Back to post / website . View/add comments for this article . Amusing Ourselves to Death by Stuart McMillen. Aldous Huxley vs. George Orwell. What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny "failed to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distractions". In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us. All words by "Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business" by Neil Postman...a book about the possibility that Huxley, not Orwell was right.

The reaction of society to the book ranged from acclaim to outrage. Wells, a famous writer of science fiction and dystopian literature, panned the book as alarmist. Other critics challenged Huxley's depictions of religion and ritual as well as his views of sexuality and drug use. The novel's stark depictions of sexuality and cruelty meant that it continues to incite controversy over whether or not it is an appropriate book for all ages and audiences. Nevertheless, as a social critique, Brave New World takes credit with Orwell's 1984 for advancing a new genre of literature that fuses science fiction, political allegory, and literary ambition.

The style and presentation of these novels varies quite considerably. 1984 is very much the experience of the central character, Winston Smith. His thoughts and feelings and his fate are the story of the novel, although there is also the long (and very dull) section of The Book which explains how the world functions, and the extensive appendix on 'Newspeak'. Brave New World presents a less taut, less tense story, and the story-line moves from one focus character to another: initially it seems as though the Director may be the main character, then the story moves on to Lenina and to Bernard, and eventually to John, the Savage. There are some didactic passages here, too, most pointedly when Mustapha Mond explains how the World State functions, but this is more carefully integrated into the storyline than is The Book. However, neither novel really makes a point of presenting realistic characters—or even particularly likeable ones. Winston's many flaws are ruthlessly exposed as he writes in his 'diary' or moves through life without doing much to make us like or admire him. Bernard Marx is an outsider and in a situation which ought to evoke our sympathy—he is not a 'proper' Alpha, and acutely conscious of his shortcomings—but he is too selfish and whining to be very attractive. The Savage is in a far more pitiable situation, but even he is not really an endearing character, and Huxley makes sure that we are distanced from him by the elements of humour and the grotesque which are used to convey his story. There are, interestingly, some moments of close correspondence between the books. O'Brien and Mustapha Mond have some similarity of role and character. Bernard, at the 'religious' ceremony, is unable to feel the ecstasy along with the others and has to fake it—just as Winston cannot entirely enter into the spirit of the 'Two Minutes Hate', even though other people are screaming abuse at the figure of Goldstein. In addition, there is the resonance of the presence of death. Brave New World is full of death imagery, from the grisly description of the Hatchery right through to John's suicide. And Winston Smith regards himself as 'already dead', right from the beginning.

Brave new world and 1984 comparison essay thesis

brave new world and 1984 comparison essay thesis

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