To my fellow Americans,
I am a high school senior in English and we were required to read a classic. I chose Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. At first I thought it would be really interesting and action filled but it turned out to be disturbing and strange. In case you haven’t read Brave New World, it is a story about the “perfect world” in the future. People were created in factories and conditioned (brainwashed) into doing whatever they were designed to do. (if you really want to read this book, skip my summary of it because I spoil it in the end). Throughout the book we learn that people are not really allowed to feel certain emotions, read books, or have religion and if they do they were banned. In the book Bernard and Lenina go to a savage reservation and find that a woman (Linda) was once part of their civilization but got pregnant by the director who left her. So the “savages” took care of her and she had her son John. Bernard decides to take John and his mother back to the world state. As the book goes on Johns mother dies, he starts a riot by throwing away everyone’s soma (feel good drugs.) After that Bernard and Helmholtz are told they will be exiled. Shortly after that John leaves to live at an abandoned lighthouse where he rids himself of civilization, deltas see him and basically start harassing him, and he kills himself.
All throughout the book they brought up their casts and what they were conditioned to do, at the beginning of the book conditioning is brought up like when the director is showing the boys the infant room where they are conditioning them to hate books and flowers (pages 32-37). The Director explains that lower casts do not need a love of nature because that won’t keep the factories busy, so they decided that there Is no need for it. This example early in the book is showing that people are not able to like or do what they want from the start of their lives. This example also helps show that people are divided (by casts) from the time they are made to the time they die.
Later in the novel Lenina and Bernard went to a reservation outside the World State. On the reservation a man was being whipped as part of a ceremony. Lenina was disgusted and horrified, and she had run out of soma (pages 124-125). I realized at this part of the book they used soma to escape reality in a way. They take some to stay happy and not feel emotions, further proving that the people in the world state do not get to do and feel what they want.
At the end of the book Mustapha Mond was explaining to “the savage” (John) why books like Othello, Romeo and Juliet, and the Bible are forbidden (pages 235-237). Also, on page 240 he talks about how religion like Christianity is not necessary because they have soma, “to calm your anger, to reconcile you to your enemies, to make you patient and longsuffering.” They just continue to show how the people are controlled by the World state.
The issue of division and control came up in my book many times and I needed to find a way to connect what was happening in the book to myself and life as I know it. I chose to connect it to our society right now, because as we all know Donald Trump is our president, and whether you’ve noticed or not he is diving the country based on gender, race, citizen and non- citizen etc. This issue connected to me because as a black woman living in the United States I can relate to the issue in two different ways.
Since Trumps inauguration, I’ve witnessed a few more people being more openly racist, and sexist, and Islamophobic. I remember going to the store with my sister and I saw a Hijabi woman and this group of white people harassing her, telling her to go back where she came from, and that since Trump is president there aren’t going to be anymore terrorists like her walking around. This example shows that more people think that kind of behavior is okay since Trump is president now.
As I mentioned before since Trumps inauguration more people have been more openly racist and sexist. The reason this is happening is because Trump is in a very important position of power and he himself has been very problematic. This is letting more citizens know that this negative and harmful behavior like racism and sexism is ok, which is why more people are following his example.
I decided to write this letter to my fellow Americans because what’s been going on has not been affecting people in other countries, it’s affecting us living here. I need for people to address these issues because it’s happening right now and will be for the next four years. The purpose of my letter is to start conversation about how Donald Trump is dividing the country, and to push people to make good and positive changes for us as a people because this negativity, hate, and ignorance is getting us nowhere.
Brave New World showed me that dividing a group of people will only end badly, and that since I am a member of today’s society I wish for all of us as American citizens to change for the better.