- Published: January 26, 2022
- Updated: January 26, 2022
- Language: English
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‘ Brave New World’ by Aldous Huxley and ‘ The Day of the Triffids’ by John Wyndham are both futuristic science fiction novels. Aldous Huxley and John Wyndham have very different visions of the future, which have been affected immediately by their experience of life at the time they wrote. This essay will compare the visions that are foreseen.
In ‘ Brave New World’ and ‘ The Day of the Triffids’ there are certain themes that can be compared these are the use of technology to control society and the dangers of being alienated in these societies. Brave New World’ presents a shocking view of the future, which on the surface appears almost comical and unbelievable. Yet when Aldous Huxley wrote the novel humour was never intended. ‘ Brave New World’ was written during the 1930’s at the time when Hitler was coming to power in Europe. The idea of a totalitarian state with a one man government coming to power was not totally strange to him or the world. Huxley is therefore influenced by this to visualise a very dark future.
On the surface, ‘ The Day of the Triffids’ appears to be an exciting thriller yet John Wyndham’s vision is of the dark future followed by hope this is based on a belief in mankind. The book was written in a devastated World-Post Hitler and post Second World War, where the complete absence of any infrastructure throughout Europe had caused turmoil, displaced people and massive shortages. John Wyndham’s view of the future is as dark as Huxley’s. He sees the Triffids as the plant equivalent of the atom bomb created by humans, but unlike Huxley his view of the future encompasses hope. The Day of the Triffids’ creates a sense of isolation and terror in a post-apocalyptic England where the surviving blinded populations are slowly being picked off one by one by the marauding Triffids. Huxley’s world embraces the future as though the population have become mindless robots.
The stability of the world is held together through a combination of biological engineering and exhaustive conditioning. The millions of standardised citizens, sharing only ten thousand surnames, have not been born, but ‘ hatched’ to fill their predestined roles in society. The use of Technology to control society is illustrated in the control of reproduction through technological and medical intervention, including the surgical removal of ovaries. This is known as the ‘ Bokanovsky’s Process’. ‘ Bokanovsky’s Process is one of the major instruments of social stability! ‘ This quotation shows the fact that the reason that the society that people are living today is so stable is because they are controlled by a major instrument, which is technology.
The entire idea of Huxley’s civilisation is that it is totalitarian. This quote therefore shows that the entire civilisation lacks identity, and the Bokanovsky’s Process makes the population easier to handle, because they are so idealistic and customised, that they can only think what they have been taught in their conditioning. ‘ And that, put in the Director sententiously, that is the secret of happiness and virtue, liking what you’ve got to do. All conditioning aims at that: making people like their unescapable social destiny’ Social conditioning is the most important way that the government can manage to enslave their population. The caste system is free from the burdens of what we consider a normal Capitalist system and how people are separated in social class by way of natural selection.
They are therefore conditioned so that they do not yearn for any other life apart from their own. The Caste system consists of Alphas, Betas, Deltas, Epsilons and Epsilons -minus. You can see in ‘ Brave New World’ that Huxley’s visions are very influenced by Hitler. The fact that technology is used to brainwash people in ‘ Brave New World’ reflects that of Hitler’s Germany in 1930, because Hitler controlled the German people by brain washing them.
They permanently saw the world through rose tinted spectacles. Hitler wanted the perfect race, one in which people would never question their role in society, they would take everything that the one leader said to be correct. All these aspects of Nazi Germany are evident in Huxley’s ‘ Brave New World. ‘ ‘ The Day of the Triffids’ is an environmentalist parable about what happens when man tampers with Nature. The Triffids are the outcome of some type of biological manmade meddling that goes wrong.
Wyndham totally contrasts the view that Huxley takes, when writing Brave new World. Wyndham writes about a society that lacks technology and control. Wyndham’s world is that of disarray. The book opens to Bill Masen, who is in hospital waiting to have his bandages removed.
The awareness of impending disaster is encapsulated in the opening words ‘ When a day you happen to know is Wednesday starts off by sounding like Sunday, there is something seriously wrong somewhere’ Attacked by a Triffid in his youth Bill Masen had sight immunity to Triffid stings. He worked at a Triffid factory until a Triffid attacked him leaving him blind. During, the night, he hears people exclaiming about there being the most incredible meteor shower that the world has ever seen. A once in a lifetime event that he misses because he can’t take of his bandages yet. The next morning Bill wakes to find that almost the entire world has gone blind. ‘ I should become a looter, a sacker, a low scavenger upon the dead body of the system that has nourished me.
Such a foolishness niceness of sensibility in a stricken world! ‘ This quotation shows how a controlled Capitalist system has changed to a world with catastrophic disorder, plainly because the whole world cannot see. People are committing suicide, looting the streets and the blind capture the sighted in order to survive. The blind aimlessly wander the streets in hopeful search for food. Humans always had an advantage over Triffids that they could see. Now that this advantage had been taken away, humans were perfect pray for the carnivorous Triffids. Wyndham very much reflects the world after the Second World War.
The coming of the Triffids is just the plant equivalent of the dropping of the atom bomb. The world is thrown from normal to complete devastation, in the matter of a night. In ‘ Brave New World’ the only way that you could possibly be alienated from everyone is due to the fact that something must have gone wrong with your decanting, when you were being ‘ hatched’. There are three main characters that are alienated and all for different reasons. Bernard Marx (Alpha male) is alienated because of his inferior physical stature.
He holds unorthodox beliefs about sexual relationships, sports and community events. He is disconnected to the World State due to the fact that he is so insecure about his size. Helmholtz is alienated for the opposite reason he is too intelligent to play the role of an Alpha male. John is the only major character that has grown up out of the World State. He is not only rejected from the Indian society because he is White but he is reluctant and unable to take part in the World State, because he learnt all his views from Shakespeare, who taught him the morals of love and independence.
Quote below shows that the World State has made people reject independence. ‘ You’ve got to choose between happiness and what people used to call high art. We sacrificed the high art. ‘ This quote says that what people do not know, they can never want and the fact that people in ‘ Brave New World’ don’t know pain or suffering therefore meaning that art will never be a missed issue. The characters are so alienated because they do not fit into the everyday conventions of the World State. John who grew up out of the World State knows other morals that he learnt from reading literature.
He therefore knows that there is more to life, than being controlled. ‘ But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.
‘ This quotation shows that John wants things that the society in ‘ Brave New World’ shall never experience. Growing up outside the World State has made John see that life without the pleasures and down falls is not worth living. Again you can see that Huxley has got his influence from Nazi Germany. In Nazi Germany if you said or did something that was either out of the ordinary or against Hitler then you were sent away o a concentration camp.
In ‘ Brave New World’ the extremity of the alienation is not to the same extent. The outcasts are forgotten and removed from society, they mean nothing. This is probably the worst sort of punishment that you could give some one who was living in the world state. ‘ Wheels must turn steadily, but cannot turn untended. There must be men to tend them, men as steady as the wheels upon their axle, sane men, and obedient men, stable in contentment’ This quotation is refers to the justification that was felt in a totalitarian government. The reasoning is that the government, not the individuals know best.
Wyndham’s idea of alienation is altogether different to that of Huxley’s. The characters in ‘ The Day of the Triffids’ are not alienated from a society; they are alienated from all sorts of civilisation, because there is not any left. Society has been ruined and so the survivors are alienated from everything that used to be normal to them. They have to start a new life.
‘ The deadness, the finish of it all, was italicised there. ‘ This quotation shows the fact that Bill feels alienated because he is in the world where only the sighted survive. There are so few sighted people that he feels that he is the only one to be in desolate London. All the other sighted people have gone to begin there lives somewhere else, so they have no need to come back to London.
Therefore the conclusion that I come to is, that both John Wyndham’s and Aldous Huxley’s views of the future are very different. Huxley says that there is no hope for the future, that the human race shall be totally controlled by what one man desires. The human race shall become monotonous machines which will not ever have the power of free will. This however is what distinguishes man from machines, therefore making the plight for man pathetic and ironic. John Wyndham’s however says that yes Man will help to cause its self a catastrophe but there is hope for Man in the end because he on the whole is good.
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