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Barron's Booknotes-Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
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TERM PAPER IDEAS

UTOPIAS

1. Compare Brave New World, Huxley's bad Utopia, with Island, his good one.

2. How does the society prophesied by Brave New World compare with today's reality?

3. Why do the creators of Utopias introduce savages into their new worlds? (Hint: looking at ideal states through the eyes of a primitive stranger provides deeper and more colorful visions.)

COMMUNITY, IDENTITY, STABILITY

1-3. How is each one achieved in the brave new world? (Hint: see the section of this guide on themes.)

SCIENCE

1. What scientific developments did Brave New World foresee? How much of its scientific prophecy has come true?

2. Why did Huxley emphasize chemical and psychological conditioning rather than make super weapons or nuclear energy elements of his new world? (Hint: he was interested in science that could affect man without killing him, and his Utopia took other advances for granted.)

3. How does the controlled breeding of Brave New World compare to the recent changes in genetic engineering in the real world?

CONDITIONING

1. Why does the Utopia use chemical and physical conditioning on embryos in bottles? (Look at the specific conditioning achieved.)

2. Why does the Utopia use hypnopaedia to condition babies? (Distinguish between teaching facts and teaching moral attitudes while you sleep.)

3. In what ways are we "conditioned" today? By what? Whom? From what motivations? For what purposes?

SEXUAL PLEASURE

1. Why does the Utopia encourage people to be promiscuous?

2. Would I like to live in a world where everyone belongs to everyone else? (Analyze why and why not.)

3. Would Malthusian drill be something we could borrow from Brave New World to deal with teenage pregnancy? (Again, why and why not?)

SOMA

1. Why is this drug a supreme necessity in the brave new world? (Hint: keep people happy by enabling them to escape.) Why is this a perversion of Huxley's hopes for a perfect drug? (Hint: it doesn't help you achieve knowledge of God; see section on Themes in this guide.)

2. How does the Utopia's use of soma compare with real-world use of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and cocaine?

3. In what ways can and are drugs used in a positive way today? In a negative way? What dangers does Huxley want us to avoid?


OTHER PLEASURES

1. How would I feel about the Feelies?

2. How would I feel about Brave New World sports? (Include your thoughts about Huxley's failure to give details and on his using the names as a joke.)

RELIGION

1. In what way is "Ford" in Brave New World like "Christ" in our world? In what ways are the two different?

2. Why do you think Huxley chose to mythologize Ford (and briefly Freud) in Brave New World?

FAMILY

1. Why does the Utopia make family an obscene joke or a crime? (Hint: Huxley says it's because families produce neuroses. Could it also be that the family is a focus of loyalty that might compete with the state?)

2. Compare the idea of family in Brave New World with a Utopia you create that redesigns a family to make people happy. (What changes would you make in your own family?)

DEATH

1. Death as a natural process-how the Utopia sees it, and how I see it.

2. Why the brave new world tries to eliminate the sense of loss and grief.

THE COSTS OF UTOPIA

What are the costs of achieving the good aspects of the brave new world? (Describe the benefits of the world and their costsincluding costs like the loss of family and the loss of art. Estimate whether the costs are high or low, and compare your estimate to Huxley's.)

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Barron's Booknotes-Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
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