Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Comparison between Brave New World and 1984

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Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451

For more than half a century science fiction writers have thrilled and

challenged readers with visions of the future and future worlds. These authors

Write your Comparison between Brave New World and 1984 research paper

offered an insight into what they expected man, society, and life to be like at

some future time.

One such author, Ray Bradbury, utilized this concept in his work, Fahrenheit

451, a futuristic look at a man and his role in society. Bradbury utilizes the

luxuries of life in America today, in addition to various occupations and

technological advances, to show what life could be like if the future takes a

drastic turn for the worse. He turns mans best friend, the dog, against man,

changes the role of public servants and changes the value of a person.

Aldous Huxley also uses the concept of society out of control in his science

fiction novel Brave New World. Written late in his career, Brave New World

also deals with man in a changed society. Huxley asks his readers to look at

the role of science and literature in the future world, scared that it may be

rendered useless and discarded. Unlike Bradbury, Huxley includes in his book a

group of people unaffected by the changes in society, a group that still has

religious beliefs and marriage, things no longer part of the changed society,

to compare and contrast todays culture with his proposed futuristic culture.

But one theme that both Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451 use in common is

the theme of individual discovery by refusing to accept a passive approach to

life, and refusing to conform. In addition, the refusal of various methods of

escape from reality is shown to be a path to discovery. In Brave New World,

the main characters of Bernard Marx and the Savage boy John both come to

realize the faults with their own cultures. In Fahrenheit 451 Guy Montag

begins to discover that things could be better in his society but, sue to some

uncontrollable events, his discover happens much faster than it would have. He

is forced out on his own, away from society, to live with others like himself

who think differently that the society does.

Marx, from the civilized culture, seriously questions the lack of history

that his society has. He also wonders as to the lack of books, banned because

they were old and did not encourage the new culture. By visiting a

reservation, home of an uncivilized culture of savages, he is able to see

first hand something of what life and society use to be like. Afterwards he

returns and attempts to incorporate some of what he saw into his work as an

advertising agent. As a result with this contrast with the other culture, Marx

discovers more about himself as well. He is able to see more clearly the

things that had always set him on edge the promiscuity, the domination of the

government and the lifelessness in which he lived. (Allen)

John, often referred to as the Savage because he was able to leave the

reservation with Marx to go to London to live with him, also has a hard time

adjusting to the drastic changes. The son of two members of the modern society

but born and raised on the reservation, John learned from his mother the values

and the customs of the civilized world while living in a culture that had

much different values and practices. Though his mother talked of the

promiscuity that she had practiced before she was left on the reservation (she

was accidentally left there while on vacation, much as Marx was) and did still

practice it, John was raised, thanks to the people around him, with the belief

that these actions were wrong. Seeing his mother act in a manner that

obviously reflected different values greatly affected and hurt John, especially

when he returned with Marx to London. John loved his mother, but he, a hybrid

of the two cultures, was stuck in the middle. (May)

These concepts, human reaction to changes in their culture and questioning of

these changes, are evident throughout the book. Huxleys characters either

conform to societys demands for uniformity or rebel and begin a process of

discovery; there are no people in the middle. By doing so, Huxley makes his

own views of man and society evident. He shows that those who conform to the

brave new world become less human, but those who actively question the new

values of society discover truth about the society, about themselves, and about

people in general. An example of this is Huxleys views of drugs as an escape.

The conforming members of society used widely a drug called soma, which induces

hallucinations and escapes from the conscious world for two to eight hour

periods. Those very few who didnt, John included, mainly did not because they

thought the drug either unclean or an easy escape, one not needed in a society

aiming at making life very simple. By refusing to go along in this escape

from reality, John is ultimately able to break from society and define his own


In Fahrenheit 451 Guy Montag, the main character, is able to see through the

government and the official policies of his society. He does so by gradually

beginning to question certain aspect of society which most simply accept as

fact. Montags job as a fireman serves as a setting to show how many people

passively accept the absurdity of their society. Instead of rushing to put out

fires, as firemen today do, Montag rushes to start fires, burning the books and

homes of people reported to have books. This was considered by most people to

be a respectable profession. But on different occasions Montag took a book out

of burning homes and would from time to time read them. From this, he begins

to to question the values of his society.

Montags marriage also serves a setting to contrast passive acceptance versus

questioning of societys values. His marriage is not the happy kind that

couples today experience but more like a coexistence. He and his wife live

together and he supports her, though he apparently neither loves her a great

deal or expects her to love him.

This relationship and living arrangement, with its lack of love, is

Bradburys way of showing what life could be like if people not only stop

communicating but stop thinking and choosing, thus loosing control over their

lives. Montag and his wife continue to live together though people in that

situation today would not hesitate to terminate such a relationship. Montags

wife apparently accepts this relationship because it is normal for the society

in which she lives. (Wolfheim)

Like Brave New Worldcharacters escaping from reality through the use of

soma, Montags wife, and many other characters, escape through watching a

sophisticated form of television. This television system covers three of the

walls of the Montags TV room (they cant afford to buy the screen to cover the

fourth wall), has a control unit that allows the watchers to interact with the

characters on the program and another unit that inserts Mrs. Montags name

into specific places, thus creating the image they the characters are actually

conversing with them. Montags wife, having only a few friends and ones she

rarely sees, spends much of her day in this room, watching a program called

The Family, a government sponsored program that shows the viewers what life

at home should be like.

The problem with this is that Montags wife takes the program as a substitute

for reality. She is almost addicted to the program, much as people were with

soma in Brave New World. Bradbury uses this television and its programs as a

way of showing the escape he is worried people will look for in the future.

Without actively questioning societys values, he is concerned that people will

look for ways to idly spend their time.

But like Marx, Montag chooses not to take part in this addiction. By

abstaining, he can see the affects its use has on the people around him, much

as Marx and more importantly John the Savage saw in their culture. Both

authors try to show that with life made easier by strong government control and

a lack of personal involvement people will no longer spend their time thinking,

questioning or developing their own ideas.

Through these various diversions from normal behavior in society, Marx, John

the Savage and Guy Montag are able to see the truths behind the societies they

live in and are able to learn about themselves. And though their discoveries

meant that their lives would be changed forever, the authors succeeded in

showing that the key to humanity lies in thinking and questioning. These men

found themselves through their own discoveries, much as Bradbury and Huxley

hope others will do.

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