Brave New World is a fictional story written by Aldous Huxley. In the story, Huxley tries to create the image of a utopian society. In the novel he predicts many possibilities for what the future might hold, including overpopulation, use of drugs, promiscuity, and the elimination of religion and family. Utopias are societies that possess highly desirable or perfect qualities. However, the society in Brave New World does not possess these desirable or perfect qualities and is therefore a dystopia.
Throughout the entire novel Huxley demonstrates that this society is missing all the key characteristics of a utopia. The World State eliminates the word family. Family units do not exist anymore, which means that there are no parents or siblings. Instead, people are created in an assembly line through mass production. “Making ninety-six human beings grow where only one grew before. Progress” (Huxley, 6). By creating people through mass production, the individuality of all people is eliminated. Children are not raised by their parents and family units, but instead they are raised in facilities where they are constantly being monitored. With children being raised in these facilities and not by a family, there is little hope for them being raised correctly and gaining the moral lessons it takes to become a quality adult.
The society in Brave New World is a place where science and technology play an important role. Religion is replaced by science and technology, and God does not exist anymore. “Well, religion, of course, there used to be something called God” (Huxley, 230). Instead of attending church on Sundays, people attend solidarity services that do not teach morality. This lack of morals leads to people having extreme amounts of sexual intercourse and taking a drug known as soma which gives them a manufactured sense of happiness. This is evidence of a dystopian society because people rely on these acts to solve problems that science and technology fail to. In a utopian society, religion can help humans with stress or problems as well as finding answers to questions they may have. In this society they instead take soma, which eliminates their problems and makes them superficially happy. They are not truly happy like they would be in a utopian society where they would find their own true happiness.
The people in Brave New World were divided into five separate castes. Each of these castes was assigned a Greek letter. The Alphas, who wore gray, were the intellectuals of the society. Some examples of this caste would be the World Controllers, Directors of Hatcheries, and Wardens. The second caste was Betas. They wore mulberry, were somewhat intelligent, and often worked as mechanics. The third caste was Gammas. They wore green and often worked as machine minders, butlers, and other basic mid-level jobs. The fourth caste was Deltas. They wore khaki, worked as helicopter attendants, screw cutters, and package packers. They were mass produced and have no individuality because of this. The fifth, and final, class was Epsilons. They wore black were unable to read and write, and worked as sewage workers, lift men, and carriers. Genetically dividing people into castes is symbolic of a dystopian society.
In Brave New World, the government, industry, and all other social entities exist in order to maximize the happiness of all the members in the society. This is the concept of utilitarianism. These entities aim to produce the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people. For the purpose of this story, the good is happiness. John the Savage rebels against the concept of utilitarian happiness. He argues that people should be able to be unhappy in order to have an appreciation of beauty. A contrasting example to how John the Savage views this is the public’s consumption of soma. People take soma to escape their unhappiness though they never truly deal with it. An example of this is when Lenina and Bernard fly over the English Channel. Bernard sees how beautiful nature is. Lenina sees an extremely frightening scene that she wants to avoid. In theory, utilitarian happiness would be a utopian concept. However, the way the society creates artificial happiness and not true happiness in Brave New World proves that it is a dystopian society.
Although there are many attempts at creating a utopian society in Brave New World, upon deeper examination, it presents itself as a dystopian society. By eliminating the word family and mass producing humans, family units are eliminated. Children are not raised by parents and families, and go without the moral upbringing that they would receive otherwise. Science and technology replace God and religion in this society. Without religion to turn to, many people lack the morals needed to become positive, contributing members of society. Separation of people into different castes pre-determines their fates, and does not grant them an opportunity to truly achieve happiness if their fate is one of the lesser castes. In an attempt to establish a utilitarian society, the government manufactures false happiness through the use of soma. All of these factors contribute to Brave New World being a dystopian society.