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Dystopian Novels


Dystopian Novels - Bibb County Public School District – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Dystopian Novels

Dystopian Novels
Definition Check Utopian
  • Utopian refers to human efforts to create a
    hypothetically perfect society.
  • It refers to good but impossible proposals - or
    at least ones that are difficult to carry out.

Dystopian versus Utopian
  • Dystopian is the opposite of utopian it is often
    a utopia gone sour, an imaginary place or state
    where everything is as bad as it could possibly

Dystopian Novels
  • Dystopian novels usually include elements of
    contemporary society and are seen as a warning
    against some modern trend.
  • Writers use them as cautionary tales, in which
    humankind is put into a society that may look
    inviting on the surface but in reality, is a

Brave New World
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (1932)
  • At first, the world it describes sounds like a
    utopia humanity is carefree, healthy, and
    technologically advanced.
  • Warfare and poverty have been eliminated, and
    everyone is permanently happy.
  • However, all of these things have been achieved
    by eliminating family, cultural diversity, art,
    literature, science, religion, and philosophy.

Relation to the Real World
  • The issues raised in the book were influenced by
    the issues of Huxleys time.
  • The Industrial Revolution had brought massive
    changes to the world.
  • Mass production made cars, telephones, and radios
    cheap and widely available.
  • The effects of World War I and totalitarian
    regimes were still being felt.
  • Huxley used his book to express the fear of
    losing individual identity in the fast-paced
    world of the future.

Relation to the Real World
  • One event that influenced Huxley was an early
    trip to America.
  • Huxley was outraged by the commercial-led
    cheeriness and selfish nature of many of the
  • There was a strong fear in Europe of worldwide

Relation to the Real World
  • Therefore, in Brave New World, Huxley explores
    the fears of both Soviet communism and American
  • Worse, he suggests that the price of universal
    happiness will be the sacrifice of everything
    important in our culture motherhood, home,
    family, community, and love.

  • The dystopian literature of the period reflected
    the many concerns that resonated throughout the
    twentieth century.
  • The concept of a dystopia was introduced to help
    reveal the potential consequences of a utopia
    turning against itself.

Do they work?
  • What do you think about forming a utopia?
  • Is it possible to create a perfect world in which
    to live?

  • "There will be, in the next generation or so, a
    pharmacological method of making people love
    their servitude, and producing dictatorship
    without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of
    painless concentration camp for entire societies,
    so that people will in fact have their liberties
    taken away from them, but will rather enjoy it,
    because they will be distracted from any desire
    to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing, or
    brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods.
    And this seems to be the final revolution."

Brave New Worldby Aldous Huxley
  • A satirical piece of fiction, not scientific

  • A piece of literature designed to ridicule the
    subject of the work.
  • While satire can be funny, its aim is not to
    amuse, but to arouse contempt.
  • Ridicule, irony, exaggeration, and several other
    techniques are almost always present.

  • As satire, the books purpose is to examine the
    failings of mans behavior in order to encourage
    him to reform.
  • It may be painful to recognize todays faults
    through the literature.
  • Pain and growth are part of the human condition,
    and prove that Huxleys prophesies have not come

  • However, many of the cultural concerns seen in
    the novel are still matters of great importance.
    In the years since Huxley first published this
    book, some of his prophesies seem far more
    plausible than they did in 1932.

This novel presents a world
  • of sexual promiscuity
  • with a drug culture in the most literal sense
    of the word
  • in which the traditional family has been
    rendered taboo
  • in which religion has been reduced to rituals
    of physical expression
  • in which art panders to the sensations of mass
  • in which the positive values of western
    democracy have been converted into a rigid caste

  • Huxley exploits anxieties about Soviet Communism
    and American capitalism.
  • The price of universal happiness will be the
    sacrifice of honored parts of our culture
    motherhood, home, family, freedom, even

  • Mustapha Mond, Resident Controller of Western
    Europe, governs a society where all aspects of an
    individual's life are determined by the state,
    beginning with conception and conveyor-belt
  • A government bureau, the Predestinators, decides
    all roles in the hierarchy.
  • Children are raised and conditioned by the state
    bureaucracy, not brought up by natural families.
  • There are only 10,000 last names
  • Citizens must not fall in love, marry, or have
    their own kids.

  • Brave New World, then, is centered around control
    and manipulation
  • He instills the fear that a future world state
    may rob us of the right to be unhappy.

  • time and place written 1931, England
  • date of first publication 1932
  • settings (place) England, Savage Reservation in
    New Mexico

  • settings (time) 2540 AD referred to in the
    novel as 632 years AF (After Ford), meaning 632
    years after production of the first Model T car
  • narrator Third-person omniscient
  • point of view Narrated in the third person from
    the point of view of Bernard or John, but also
    from the point of view of Lenina, Helmholtz
    Watson, and Mustapha Mond

  • Happiness derives from consuming mass-produced
    goods, sports such as Obstacle Golf and
    Centrifugal Bumble-puppy, promiscuous sex, the
    feelies, and most famously of all, a supposedly
    perfect pleasure-drug, soma.

  • People resort to soma when they feel depressed,
    angry or have negative thoughts it numbs
  • They take it because their lives, like society
    itself, are empty of spirituality or higher
  • Soma keeps the population comfortable with their
    lot in life.

Why use soma?
  • Huxley foresees a culture in which widespread and
    addictive use of drugs offers another way of
    assuring a controlled society.
  • This is in addition to the pleasure of frequent
    and promiscuous sexual activity, used to distract
    the population and dissuade them from rebelling.

Keep in mind
  • The sole function of pleasure is to guarantee the
    happiness in the Brave New World, and assure a
    stable, controllable population
  • State-encouraged promiscuity assures that loyalty
    to a lover or family will not undermine ones
    loyalty to the state

This is satire!
  • Please keep that in mind
    as you
    read--Huxley does not offer this world as an ideal

  • Life is nice - but somehow a bit flat. In the
    words of the Resident Controller of Western
    Europe "No pains have been spared to make your
    lives emotionally easy - to preserve you, as far
    as that is possible, from having emotions at all."

  • Life-long emotional well-being is not genetically
    pre-programmed. It isn't even assured from birth
    by the soma.
  • For example, babies are traumatized with electric
    shock conditioning.

  • The Brave New World is a totalitarian
  • There is no war, poverty or crime.
  • Society is genetically predestined by caste.
    Alphas, the most intellectual, are the top-dogs.
    Gammas, Deltas and Epsilons toil away at the
    bottom. The lower orders are necessary because
    Alphas, even when they take soma, could never be
    happy doing menial jobs.

  • BNW is set in the year 632 AF (After Ford). Its
    biotechnology is highly advanced.
  • Yet the society itself has no historical dynamic
    History is bunk. In this utopia, knowledge of
    the past is banned by the Controllers.

  • The Brave New World is not an exciting place to
    live in.
  • It is geared to the consumption of mass-produced
    goods Ending is better than mending.
  • Society is shaped by a single political ideology.
    The motto of the world state is Community,
    Identity, Stability.

  • Clones, the BNW inhabitants, are laboratory-grown
    and bottled from the hatchery.
  • They are conditioned and brainwashed, even in
    their sleep. They are never educated to prize
    thinking for themselves.

  • This novel is more applicable today than it was
    in 1932. This is a time of

propaganda, censorship, conformity, genetic
engineering, social conditioning, and mindless
  • This was what Huxley saw in our future. His book
    is a warning.

Questions to consider as you read
  • Is it better to be free or to be happy?
  • Is freedom compatible with happiness?
  • Is the collective more important than the
  • Can children be taught effectively to think in
    only one certain way?
  • Can young people be taught so well that they
    never question their teachings later?
  • Is stability more important than freedom?
  • Can alterations made by advanced science to
    mankind be made permanent at the DNA-level?
  • Can mankind be conditioned by science?
  • Should the individual be limited/controlled for
    the greater good? If so, how much?

  • Universal happiness keeps the wheels steadily
    turning truth and beauty cant. Aldous Huxley

  • "The books we need are of the kind that act upon
    us like a misfortune,
  • that make us suffer like the death
  • of someone we love more
  • than ourselves, that make us feel
  • as though we were on the verge
  • of suicide or lost in a forest
  • remote from all human habitation
  • a book should serve as the ax
  • for the frozen sea within us."
  • Franz Kafka
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