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1984 Vs. Brave New World

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Both Aldous Huxley and George Orwell wrote how they envisioned America in the future. While each account gave comparably alarming views, Huxley's thoughts on how the United States would turn out are much more relevant today. Nell Postman, a contemporary social critic, states this in his passage contrasting Orwell's 1984 and Huxley's Brave New World. Although Americans had not been affected by the horrors Orwell foresaw, they had experienced different, perhaps more destructive evils which Huxley predicted.

Context plays an integral role in the writings of 1984 and Brave New World. Brave New World was written in 1936, only six years after the Roaring Twenties and right in the middle of the Great Depression. During the 1920s, America was in a state of chaos. People ran amuck and had little consequences for their actions. Women had gained more freedom, and promiscuity was on the rise. The depression following this decade of wealth and indiscrimination proved that with great happiness came great demise. People's ability to attain ultimate pleasure led them to live at their lowest. Huxley used this in his novel. People's pleasure would eventually control them, just as he had witnessed. On the other hand, Orwell wrote 1984 on the heels of World War II. The nation was up against thunderous dictators from countries such as Japan and Germany. Orwell saw firsthand how a single figure could control a country using society fear.

Even though the context of the two novels is different, the basic concept in both is very similar: the future of America will be controlled and full of oppression. While Orwell believes that oppression will come from an outside source, Big Brother in the story, Huxley believes a more abstract, yet in reality, a much simpler idea. Huxley thinks that the oppression will come from within. He feared that there would be no need for an outside source; people would not only accept, but welcome and come to love their affliction.

In line 10, Postman says, "As he [Huxley] saw it, people saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think." Regarding Americans, this could not be truer. People find every way to live passively. Through technological advancements such as the internet, cultures have become accustomed to instant gratification. Studying becomes irrelevant because it is unnecessary; answers can be found to nearly every question by a quick search of the web. A shared thought can become truth if enough people agree on it. Real truth, according to Huxley, is overshadowed by people's beliefs. Obedience to a common conception is applauded and petty matters often supersede real issues.

Huxley makes a good point in calling Americans a "trivial culture" (line 18). Subjects that have no effect on the world matter more than relevant and serious topics. The nation is ruled by feelings, not facts. Pleasure

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