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Brave New World
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Apr 2013-Brave New World > Chapter 1- 6

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Karena (karenafagan) Please keep discussion in these chapters. Spoilers will be present so please beware.


Jessica | 464 comments The first set of chapters was entertaining for me. Especially, when the Director is taking the students on a tour through the Hatchery. I got more involved, once the actual story began to transpire between Lenina and Bernard. Lenina is so caught up in the repetitious words she has soaked up her life that it kept her from seeing beauty in the night sky. I found that a bit sad.


Karena (karenafagan) Jessica wrote: "The first set of chapters was entertaining for me. Especially, when the Director is taking the students on a tour through the Hatchery. I got more involved, once the actual story began to transpire..."

Way to get the ball started, Jessica!


Jessica | 464 comments I am liking it...But also preparing to get a head start on Anna, lol.


LaLaLa Laura  (laurabhoffman) It was disturbing how people were made like cars on an assembly line.
"Making 96 human beings where only one grew before. Progress." Chapter 1, location 87.


Karena (karenafagan) Jessica wrote: "I am liking it...But also preparing to get a head start on Anna, lol."

Actually, I finished the other day for exactly the same reason!


Pink I've just finished chapter 7 and so far I love this book. It reminds me of The Matrix slightly, with the hatchery of people from test tubes. I'm looking forward to seeing if Lenina can develop from what she has been conditioned to be, reciting those same learned lines all the time!


message 8: by Ian (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ian Cohen (abstractor1181) I found the societies use of Ford as a replacement for God to be quite cryptic. Its definitely Huxley's critique of mankind's dependence on a higher power. Obviously in this case its in reference to technology.


message 9: by Ian (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ian Cohen (abstractor1181) Also, did anybody else catch the remarkable similarities between Bernard's visit to the Singery and communion practices in our present times. Minus the sex orgies of course. I likened the soma to the partaking of the body of Christ and the strawberry soma drinks to the drinking of Christ's blood. I also found Bernard's reaction to this gathering to be very similar to most non-believers. both in the church or the Singery. There is this sense of skepticism in Bernard that life is meant to be lived in such a way. It's no secret that Huxley was an atheist and I think this scene in Chapter Six really brought out his view on any form of organized religion.


message 10: by Ian (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ian Cohen (abstractor1181) I meant Chapter 5 for the visit to the Singery.


message 11: by Grandpa Jud (last edited Apr 02, 2013 07:14AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Grandpa Jud (grandpajud) | 42 comments I'm listening to an audio presentation of this story - in my experience a great way to "read" a book since the audio book readers usually do a great job providing the right accent, inflection or tone to the right words.

This book is fascinating so far. Human embryos are engineered to provide both the intellectual skills and emotional conditioning that will be needed for the individual's pre-programmed adult life. Thus elevator operators and artists are both happy with what they do. The population is sexually liberated - an understatement! - and is often high on the society's one drug of choice.

Everyone is happy! So it all seems to be working. Well, everyone except Bernard.


Jessica | 464 comments Ian wrote: "Also, did anybody else catch the remarkable similarities between Bernard's visit to the Singery and communion practices in our present times. Minus the sex orgies of course. I likened the soma to t..."

I picked up on this. I find a lot of similarities between religion and how modern civilization views the eastern realm. I have not done a lot of research on Huxley so I was not aware he was an atheist, but I can see that in a lot of the writing. After I read your post, I began to pick more of the religion echoes in the next few chapters.

The whole conditioned response seems to echo how people tend to feel about religion, in general. The truth is, unless the heart and soul is in it, it becomes nothing more than a conditioned response and words to quote just like Lennina. One must seek the depths of one's soul through God to find meaning.


Liza  (lizashaw) Just finished ch.6 and I definitly wouldn't want to live in a world where people are made in a factory, like a car or anything else is today.

And living by a standard set of beliefs, no thank you. I much prefer being independant.

I really didn't like the cruel way that children, especially babies are conditioned.

But if we really come down to it - the way a persons life is pre-ordained by their classification, isn't really that different from our own class system prior to WW2.


message 14: by Ian (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ian Cohen (abstractor1181) I also found the "T", referring to Ford's Model T, as a replacement for the Christian cross to be highly controversial as well. Almost as to say that that as long as this dystopian society continues to follow its predestined path, it will be redeemed from "sin". Thus the importance of soma. It's quite a radical standing and I'm sure a novel that isn't popular with the Catholic church.


Danaë | 89 comments Liza wrote: "Just finished ch.6 and I definitly wouldn't want to live in a world where people are made in a factory, like a car or anything else is today.

And living by a standard set of beliefs, no thank you...."


I agree Liza, the baby conditioning was hard to read! I almost put the book down right there.

It was intriguing though that they were being conditioned to fear nature, but still want to go to the countryside as long as expensive toys were involved. Strikes a chord as I live in a rural area that gets a lot of recreational visitors who seem to enjoy riding around on various machines more than the scenery.

The discussion above on religion is very interesting. Lots to think about. Honestly, I hadn't looked much beyond being amused that Ford is worshipped, since during his life he attempted to build communities to his specifications, including mandatory square dances if I remember right - possibly sing-alongs too. Anyone wanting to dictate the particulars of people's lives the way he did would surely enjoy a little worship. :)

I thought the belts full of contraceptives and the conditioning to remember to use them were a little odd. Do you suppose Huxley just couldn't conceive (oh bad pun) of a longer term option when he wrote this in the 30s? Surely a society with all these advances could temporarily halt fertility and restore it when wanted. Or did he deliberately use the belts as a way to remind the reader that old fashioned reproduction was a smutty horror?


Cecily | 44 comments Liza wrote: "....But if we really come down to it - the way a persons life is pre-ordained by their classification, isn't really that different from our own class system prior to WW2."

Why stop at WW2? The class system has changed somewhat, and loosened up a bit, in some ways, for some people, but I think it's still the case that most people don't move very far from the niche they are born into - especially those who start off most deprived.


Angie Downs Grandpa Joe wrote: "I'm listening to an audio presentation of this story - in my experience a great way to "read" a book since the audio book readers usually do a great job providing the right accent, inflection or to..."

I think that becomes one of the underlying questions in this novel: can a person truly be happy when they have no choices?


Jessica | 464 comments I had a thought, while finishing the book. There are many things that saddens me about this society. One of them I just can't shake, and that is never knowing the joy of having a family/being a parent. It's heartbreaking to me. It's loneliness on a level that is almost too brutal.


Angie Downs Jessica wrote: "I had a thought, while finishing the book. There are many things that saddens me about this society. One of them I just can't shake, and that is never knowing the joy of having a family/being a par..."

Funny. I just wrote about that on one of the other threads.


Jessica | 464 comments @angie. I just saw it. Great minds think alike! :)


message 21: by Am (new) - rated it 4 stars

Am I just finished chapter 3 and I would say that it is a thrilling and shocking book, especially considering the time it was written. I especially enjoy the satirical tone, for example A.F. (Anno Ford) which I just realized yesterday that the author was actually referring to the Henry Ford ( I thought in the beginning it was their director/leader that happened to be named Ford).


Liza  (lizashaw) Cecily wrote: "Liza wrote: "....But if we really come down to it - the way a persons life is pre-ordained by their classification, isn't really that different from our own class system prior to WW2."

Why stop at..."


Thats very true


Heather I have really enjoyed the first chapters. I find the idea of cloning in such a manner innovative (for the authors era). I am rather surprised by some of the negative comments I have read about it being disappointing. I can only hope the next chapters are as intriguing.


Angie Downs Jessica wrote: "@angie. I just saw it. Great minds think alike! :)"

Totally. :)


message 25: by Andrew (new)

Andrew (andrew619) | 183 comments I finished this first part of the book, and as for others, I'm always suprised for the genial ideas of the sci-fi novels of this period. The world described is distressing: human nature totally controlled (emotionally and genetically), not exist a single person but all are part of the whole and the traditional birth is seen as an abomination (and so the figure of parent). The figure of "Ford", in a chapter described like Freud (chapter 3), is like god, and this society seem based on science and reason, without emotion other than those provided by "soma". I like and I'm curious to continue to read.


Grandpa Jud (grandpajud) | 42 comments Andrew wrote: "I finished this first part of the book, and as for others, I'm always suprised for the genial ideas of the sci-fi novels of this period. The world described is distressing: human nature totally con..."

The alpha+'s in this society - or the world controller(s) - seem to have made value judgments about what a utopian society is like and, for better or worse, they have ranked the happiness and stability of the society as more important than alternate competing values that might have been promoted. It is unclear to me from these chapters what importance, if any, is attached to scientific advancement. Or do the world's rulers think they have already learned all they need to know?


Angie Downs Grandpa Joe wrote: "Andrew wrote: "I finished this first part of the book, and as for others, I'm always suprised for the genial ideas of the sci-fi novels of this period. The world described is distressing: human nat..."

That is an interesting question, because the society no longer studies science at all. A community that doesn't study science, which in effect means to search for the truth, is ignorant of the truth - which exactly describes this society.


message 28: by Nicole (new)

Nicole Field (nicolefield) Wow, I've really gotten started on this late. So far, only up to the end of the first chapter, but I can already see that this one is going to be a head trip!


Reija I have just read three chapters (baby factory) and I have to say, even sci-fi fan, I hated it. So maybe this is origin of these awful human battery and laboratory ideas which writers seem to love.. but this was really disgusting. I really hope that this getting better but I'm not hold my breath..

I have to say I have mixed this book with something else because I was really suprised when I picked this on the library and read backcover. I guess I was thought we are going to read that really long Proust book.


HeatherIlene (heather_ilene) | 91 comments I really like and appreciate all of the points Ian brought up earlier -- it's a step further than what I was getting.

I have tried to read this book a few times before and was always turned off by the first chapter. I finally plugged through it and things started to fall into place for me around chapter three. I'm looking forward to rereading chapter one after I finish the book.

I'm curious to see where everything will go -- the juxtaposition of the reservation and 'civilized society.'


message 31: by Nicole (new)

Nicole Field (nicolefield) Reija wrote: "I have just read three chapters (baby factory) and I have to say, even sci-fi fan, I hated it. So maybe this is origin of these awful human battery and laboratory ideas which writers seem to love....."

How strange, I hate sci-fi, but I'm actually kind of curious and concerned despite myself with this one.

Heather, I too have just gotten past chapter three, so I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes from here!


message 32: by Ann (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ann (ann_01) | 9 comments I have just finished the first chapter. I got pulled into it after the director explained about the Bokanovsky's Process. A great imagination by Huxley and I am excited and thrilled. Curious to know where it will lead.


Nicky (nally_gene) | 10 comments Ian wrote: "Also, did anybody else catch the remarkable similarities between Bernard's visit to the Singery and communion practices in our present times. Minus the sex orgies of course. I likened the soma to t..."

I'm a little over halfway done with this book right now. While I did notice some of the religious (anti-religious) references, such as the Ford T model instead of the cross, I'm surprised that I didn't make the connection about the Singery. Good catch Ian! It does vaguely remind me of a lot of sci-fi things such as the Matrix, but I think the separation from family members and emotional connection is somewhat unique. I was surprised by how overly sexual the beginning of this book was, considering it was an option to read for my freshman year in high school.


Francie Grice I just finish this section, so I guess I'm a little behind. I think the lack of true emotion is what bothers me the most. I'm an emotional personal and very tied to my family. I can't imagine not having that emotional bond with anyone. I realize the characters are all conditioned that way, but it just seems like you're an empty shell. On the other side, scaring and shocking the babies into hating beauty sort of makes you realize that our basic instincts are to love and appreciate the beautiful things around us. I am shocked at the promiscuity just because of the time period it was written in (the 1930s).


message 35: by Leo (last edited Apr 11, 2013 05:23PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Leo Walsh (llleoll) | 17 comments Nicky wrote: "Ian wrote: "Also, did anybody else catch the remarkable similarities between Bernard's visit to the Singery and communion practices in our present times. Minus the sex orgies of course. I likened t..."

Well, you're not alone. I'm new to the group, so behind as well. But catching up rapidly, and am about half way through chapter 7...

When I read "Brave New World" (BNW) first -- high school or college -- I thought it was even more believable as a dystopia than "1984." And it still rings more relevant to me than Big Brother. Mostly because the government employs mostly carrots, ensuring that their populous is happy, but does wield a heavy stick. Like shocking the babies to condition them away from liking flowers and books...

And this seems to fit with how the US and UK control their citizens. The mindless consumerism. The reliance on costly entertainment (think of how much time & money people put into X-Box games, a very costly form of entertainment, versus just reading, walking outdoors or catching a good play or symphony at a nearby theater). The "healthy sexuality."

I am also intrigued by Marx. He has the most detailed interior of any character in most dystopias. His only competition IMHO is Offred from Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale." Not to mention the obvious fact that his name tends to be wrapped up with Marxism, which Huxley was no fan of. Since he had faith in the continuation of Enlightenment science. And thought both communism and mindless consumerism bunk...

I cannot wait to catch up with the others though... =)

Cheers,
Leo
leo-walsh.com


message 36: by Ann (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ann (ann_01) | 9 comments We see a society where humans are conditioned to be categorised according to their job status. The people are also conditioned from birth to be content and happy. In a way it’s good, since people are content. Of all the lot Bernard and Watson did not fit in the line. They miss something, and I am curious to know next.


message 37: by Nicky (last edited Apr 13, 2013 03:34PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Nicky (nally_gene) | 10 comments Leo wrote: "Nicky wrote: "Ian wrote: "Also, did anybody else catch the remarkable similarities between Bernard's visit to the Singery and communion practices in our present times. Minus the sex orgies of cours..."

I just read Margaret Atwood's "Handmaid's Tale" this year! Personally I found that one easier to get through than "Brave New World," simply for the fact that I felt the characters had more depth. I personally really like "1984" though.


Jacque Hodges (Carter) Cecily wrote: "Liza wrote: "....But if we really come down to it - the way a persons life is pre-ordained by their classification, isn't really that different from our own class system prior to WW2."

Why stop at..."


Yes. The last statistic I saw was that only 10% of any given population move out of the socioeconomic group that they were born in.


Christine Pink wrote: "I've just finished chapter 7 and so far I love this book. It reminds me of The Matrix slightly, with the hatchery of people from test tubes. I'm looking forward to seeing if Lenina can develop from..."
Yes, I noticed the Matrix reference also. I think Lenina will move beyond her "conditioning" because Huxley gave hints early on that Lenina preferred monogamy- at least I hope she is able to!


Christine So far I have found this book very disturbing. Huxley's "brave new world" bothers me on so many levels! I guess the part that disturbs me the most is that the freedom of choice has been taken away. The good citizens are so programmed not to think that they do not even realize how enslaved they are. The irony is that the savages who cannot escape the reservation have more freedom than the alphas.


Chahrazad This is the first time I read sci-fi, and I have to admit that it changed my stereotyped idea of a sci-fi novel.
The first seven chapters are quite intriguing. And indeed there are a lot of religious allusions and symbols.
I don't know but I think I read something like "Ford-Freud" in one of the chapters. It was mainly talking about the sexual freedom. maybe one of you guys noticed?

I found the erotic play of children to be extremely disturbing.


Andrea | 6 comments It took me a while to get started because I really really don't like this book. And it isn't because of my faith, I'm comfortable with the book in that aspect. Ian made some really neat points referencing the book and religion. It's interesting. But this isn't something I can get into, but then again sci-fi's never been my favorite category.

Anyhow. Even though I don't really enjoy it, I'll probably have it finished by the end of the week.


message 43: by Jeff (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jeff Curtis (jcurtis) | 15 comments What I took away from "A Brave New World", was that in any society you will have those who stand out, those who fit in and those who don't. There will be imperfections because there is nothing that can be perfect. I compared the "Soma" to that of our societies "crack". And I believe Huxley was showing us that even a society that is created in a "test tube" lab environment will eventually develop imperfections.


Beth (bibliobeth) | 36 comments Sorry I'm a bit late to the discussion! This was the first time I've read this book, although I've wanted to read it for a while. I loved the tour in the beginning chapters, it was so disturbing to see the levels they are going to for human manipulation.


Alana (alanasbooks) | 208 comments There are definitely many questionable elements, especially in this first section. I agree about the contraceptives...in fact, in this society, I'm surprised that they don't just sterilize the embryos on their conveyor belt as they go... or do they recognize that to continue to produce relatively healthy bodies, that they can't just keep creating clones of clones of clones and that eventually they need healthy egg/sperm to create their next "batch?"


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