Brave New World Essay Questions
Here are some of the most typical yet exciting Brave New World essay questions that you can investigate in your paper:
- How does utilitarian society work?
- Why does the society need to limit not only the development of art and the cultural progress but also the scientific and technological progress as well, according to Mustapha Mond?
- What is John's function in the novel?
- How does a particular character develop in the novel (pick one)?
- What is the take on religion in Huxley's utilitarian society?
- How does Huxley theorize about sexuality in his novel?
- Do you agree that Huxley's views that he expressed in his novel were largely determined by his medical condition (blindness)?
- Where do John's suicidal thoughts root from and what motivation for suicide do they provide at the end of the novel?
- Is there an antagonist in the novel? Who could we call one?
- Can Huxley's Brave New World be truly called a dystopia?
Brave New World Theme Essay
The questions above are quite specific. Truly, a lot of serious works have been devoted to answering these questions. But, once again, as a student, you are allowed to cover one of them in a small five-paragraph essay. If your task is to write a bigger Brave New World essay, chances are you will have to write a Brave New World theme essay, i.e., to explore a particular theme and how it gets revealed in the novel. Here are some of the themes you can dwell upon when writing about Huxley's Brave New World:
- Commodification. An obsession with consumption makes people happy but poses an impossible obstacle to creativity and originality.
- Dystopia. How does the society seamlessly fall under one or the other kind of totalitarian control?
- Freedom. We can see how easily freedom can be re-defined into its complete opposite.
- Human impulse. We see that Huxley's utilitarian society does not control impulses. Is it wrong?
- Limits of science. How does the utilitarian government limit science to promote its central priority - the common happiness and why?
- Power of knowledge. In Huxley's novel, mankind seems to have gained absolute knowledge of everything, and it seems to have made them happy. What is the catch?
- Transformation of human relationships. The utilitarian society has rid itself of any human bond that we are used to today. How it affects them and what can we learn from it?
- Utilitarian happiness. How the notion of happiness transforms in the absence of unhappiness?
Brave New World Soma Essay
The absolute common happiness in Huxley's utilitarian society is achieved by providing the entirety of mankind with all the possible commodities. The elimination of any unhappiness is aided by the mass implementation of a particular drug called soma. Taking a closer look at this drug, its application and effects can provide for an exciting topic for an essay. If you choose to write a Brave New World soma essay, here is what you can do:
- Mark all the instances where the word 'soma' is used in the text of the novel
- Mark all the instances where the characters use this drug, ponder on their motivations to use it and its effects
- Mark the descriptions of soma's function in Huxley's utilitarian society
- Such a brief research will give you enough material to put together a solid essay.
Brave New World Analysis Essay
Another kind of essay that you can write about Aldous Huxley's novel is a Brave New World analysis essay. Here, you will analyze the novel as a whole, as opposed to putting the novel's particular detail or aspect in the center of your attention and abstracting from the rest. Such an essay will obviously be even more voluminous than a theme essay that we have discussed above - if you want to have it done properly.
When you analyze Huxley's entire novel in your essay, you will have to grasp at least several questions and themes that we have listed earlier: from the novel's background (including Huxley's blindness, as well as the events that inspired him to turn to the genre that would later be called dystopia) to the traits and functions of particular characters.
Brave New World Essay Prompts
When given a task of writing an essay, your instructor may offer you some prompts that you will have to address. If this is your case, then the job of a student gets much easier, because you no longer need to look for what exactly to write about. Either you know the material, or you don't. Either you can answer to the prompt, or you can't. Here are a few examples of Brave New World essay prompts:
- "Community, identity, stability." This is the slogan of BNW. Explain what each of these words means in the slogan. How true to life are they?
- Different opinions. The utilitarian society seems to provide happiness to all the society. Still, different characters seem to view such state of events differently. Give examples and compare them.
- Manufactured pleasure. How was it made possible to manufacture pleasure and at what cost?
- Mind meddling. Explain how the government controls the people's minds in the novel. What methods do they use? Do you know about any similar instances in real life?
- Ominous warning. Do you think that anything Huxley describes in his novel could happen in real life in the future? Maybe, it already has?
Brave New World Essay Outline
If your instructor is willing to facilitate your essay writing by giving you prompts to address, they might as well give you an outline for your essay. But regardless, if you have any doubts regarding how you should outline your essay, you should not hesitate to contact your instructor for assistance. A Brave New World essay outline may look as follows:
- Introduction. It should include the general background information - at least, the novel's title and the author's name, your thesis statement, and a transition sentence.
- The main body. Here, you answer the prompt.
- Evidence. You prove that your answer to the prompt is correct.
- Conclusion. You restate the prompt and state that you have answered it correctly.
Brave New World Essay Outlinebrave New World Essay Introduction
Finally, we would like to address an issue that many essay writers stumble upon - how to start off your Brave New World essay, i.e., how to write your Brave New World essay introduction. An introduction to an essay may be its smallest part, but it is of critical importance. If you want a good grade, you want to impress your reader. To do that, you should grasp their attention from the very first lines of your essay introduction and prepare them for what they are about to read. In case with a Brave New World essay, you are welcome to use the introduction to our humble article as a template to dwell upon.
Discuss Huxley's vision of a utilitarian society.
Huxley's utilitarian society seeks the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest amount of people. Happiness is stability and emotional equilibrium in people's lives rather than things that we might associate with happiness, such as achievement, advancement, love, and beauty. Instead, the greatest happiness comes through scientific and social conditioning that makes each person content with who they are and what they do.
Why does Mustapha Mond insist that science must be constrained in the same way that art and religion are?
Society must restrict science because too much scientific progress can result in social instability. Science, for instance, can reduce the amount of labor necessary to keep lower castes busy and upper castes satisfied with their work. Thus, society must suppress the advent of certain ideas. Huxley comments on the scientific progress of the twentieth century, which caused a great amount of advancement but which also led to mechanisms of war.
What traits of humanity does John Savage represent in the novel?
John Savage represents humanity's base desire for beauty. His love of Shakespeare - the ultimate achievement in art and beauty, according to Huxley - represents his desire for aesthetic transcendence in the human soul. John shows the reader how beauty can come from tragedy and how turmoil and unhappiness are necessary conditions for great art.
Discuss Huxley's use of character development in the novel.
Like many novels that depict dystopian futures, Huxley's novel relies less on character development than it does on the personification of social and political thought in the names, attitudes, traits, and flaws of each character. For instance, Bernard Marx personifies the unrest and hubris of socialist thought. The reader should not understand each character for their personality so much as for the thoughts and ideas that they represent.
Is Huxley’s society able to suppress religious impulses completely?
The government cannot completely suppress religious impulses in society, but they were able to control such impulses. When Bernard participates in the Solidarity Service, the participants feel a kind of Fordian Holy Ghost in a ritualized ceremony that engenders belonging and solidarity amongst the citizens. Both John Savage and Mustapha Mond agree that humans have an innate impulse towards belief in a god, but Mond sees that impulse as useless and something that society must control in order to ensure stability.
In what ways does Huxley moralize sexuality in the novel?
Huxley uses irony to make a statement about the social use of sexuality in modern society. Monogamous sex, which was a chief moral value of Victorian society and the generations that followed, was ironically a mechanism that released great moral depravity in humanity. Sexual plurality, which Huxley’s readers would have considered a moral vice, is a chief component of social stability. Huxley's views on the subject are therefore mixed. He believes that the structures of monogamous sex incite lust and passion in those that cannot restrain themselves, but he also recognizes that a society of complete sexual freedom deprives people of the base desires that, in a way, make a person human.
Do you believe that Huxley's blindness influenced the way he viewed society? Why or why not?
Huxley's blindness, a condition he suffered from beginning in his childhood, did influence his views on science and art. Huxley claimed that his love of both science and literature helped him to realize the limitations of both. His blindness kept him from devoting his training to a kind of science that valued only the achievement of progress, an idea that he rejects in his novel. Progress can be as harmful to society as it is helpful. Because of his blindness, Huxley entered a career in journalism and literature that taught him to appreciate his own affliction. His pain and turmoil opened his mind to the beauty in art and the suffering that must accompany great achievement.
Why does John Savage kill himself at the end of the novel?
John takes his own life at the end of the novel because he has become a sacrifice for the continuation of society. John feels trapped between two ideals. On the one hand, he seeks to represent the base nature of humanity, a state of unhappiness and fear that nevertheless produces beauty. On the other hand, he desires to become a part of the ritualized mob of humanity, which he cannot do on the reservation. However, when he becomes a part of the ritual with the mob in the final chapter, he realizes that being such a sacrifice robs him of all individualism. Caught between these two extremes, he feels that he will never belong anywhere.
Do you believe that Mustapha Mond is the antagonist of the novel? Why or why not?
Mustapha Mond is not an antagonist in the traditional literary sense. He displays both good and bad characteristics. In one sense, his knowing desire for control and power over humanity makes him a sinister character, but in another sense, his motivation is to create the most happiness possible for people. He recognizes that humanity, when left to its own devices, is depraved. Therefore, his motivation is to benefit the whole society, even if that motivation leads to a world deficient of emotion and beauty.
In your opinion, is this brave new world a utopia or a dystopia?
Huxley's imagined world contains elements of both a utopia and a dystopia. As a utopia, the world has achieved a peace and harmony that was very much on the minds of Huxley's readers at the close of World War I and during the beginnings of fascist states in Italy and Germany. As a dystopia, however, Huxley shows how such a stable world deprives humanity of the beauty and love that creates identity, as shown in the characters of John Savage and Helmholtz Watson. In the end, Huxley's world is an achievement that requires too great a sacrifice.