by Alduous Huxley
A vision of our future world from Huxley’s view in the 1930’s when the helicopter was a striking new invention and Ford was changing the world with his mass production lines. After a big disaster the world has been condensed and formed into nine World States, each with a supreme leader. People are no longer born but are grown in conveyor-belt style, and specially engineered to fill their regimented social roles.
The reader follows some characters on the top of the scale, the Alphas, Bernard and Hutch. One struggles to fit into his social role and the other fits easily but longs for forbidden poetry. They both push the limits of their society and get entangled with a savage from one of the wild tribes left in southwestern America. Their struggles carry them to the top of society and end in disappointing, exhilarating, and utterly devastating ways.
Good book to read, just to be aware of it, and for it’s good points about society and good descriptive scenes. Some things are ludicrous, like the fact that this world structure would work, and the parts where John the Savage can argue eloquently and fully understand the depths of Shakespeare from seeing the book some while he was a child.
This book was among the ranks of Wuthering Heights, Frankenstein, Hamlet, Macbeth, and Gulliver’s Travels that we covered in AP English my senior year. Personally, I wanted to cover more books. What about Slaughterhouse Five? Middlemarch? In Cold Blood? Grapes of Wrath? Invisible Man? Catch-22? The Things They Carried? Of Mice and Men? Heart of Darkness? David Copperfield? Come on, let’s read people!
I did enjoy Wuthering Heights and Hamlet, but I think Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland would be a better substitute for Gulliver’s Travels. I’ve heard Brave New World and 1984 compared a lot, as Orual said in a conversation about AP books on College Confidential: “I recommend Brave New World over 1984, but it depends on whether you’d prefer to read about how things we like destroy us or about how things we hate destroy us.”