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July 13, 2005

So, Brave New World.  First, let me say that you shouldn’t read this unless you want me to spoil the ending.  Although you might leave with a better impression of the book if I do spoil it, because you can gradually accept the ending as you read up to it.

That said, what a horrible, horrible book.  No, I guess that’s not true, in the sense that it made me think a lot and was pretty well-written.  But that ending was just stupid.  I think Aldous Huxley only wrote it that way so that it would fit the death requirement that qualifies it as classic American literature.  Because, as you should know, either the main character or somebody else who’s very important must die at the end of a novel for it to become a classic.

But joking and personal preferences aside, I simply can’t understand why it was necessary for John to die at the end.  He lived his last days in anger and hatred, and then he killed himself over it.  Which implies that the Brave New World, the place full of mindless drones, is the way to go after all.  The central idea that the book seemed to be leading up to was that the ignorant happiness of the new world wasn’t real happiness, which can only be experienced by living a meaningful, individual life, emotions, choices and all.  But if John is the representation of that kind of life, he sure didn’t do a good job of it.  All he exhibited were horrible feelings that brought him no satisfaction in the end; the hatred only fed on itself until it consumed him.  And was his life any more meaningful for it?  Did he do anything about the situation?  Did anyone learn from his blind rage?  Is that the way to honor his mother, by killing himself just as she killed herself?  The way I see it, by killing himself, he just gave up on everything, conceded to fate.  So he was no different from all the sheep who mocked him, only he lived his last days in torment rather than blissful ignorance.

And then his good feelings had no meaning either.  He fell in love with Lenina, for crying out loud.  For no other reason than the way she looked and seemed at first glance.  And he thinks himself so much better than everyone else because he knows how to love.  What a joke.  I find it ridiculous that he was at all surprised that Lenina didn’t turn out to be the perfect being he envisioned.  If that’s love, then I guess I’ve made the right choice in not trying to pursue a girlfriend all this time.  Is that the value of our emotions?  That they make us see things that aren’t really there; that they blind us from the truth?

If I didn’t know better, I’d say Aldous Huxley was in favor of the brave new world.  Why else would he choose such a terrible example of what the value of choice is? Which isn’t good for me.  I’m already enough of an emotionless drone without books like this encouraging me to be one.

On the plus side, I’ve just finished a book called Xenocide, another jewel by Orson Scott Card.  I simply don’t know how he does it.  I think I may have to add this book to my list of favorites as well.  It’s not just science fiction.  It’s about philosophy, human nature, the workings of the mind, relationships, connections, understanding.  Every character in it is an interesting person, but no character is like any other.  In a word, it’s about life.  If you’re alive, you should get something out of it.

Again, while my appreciation of the two books varied greatly, I did find them both very interesting.  They make me want to start my own story.  I’ve been wanting to write a story for some time now.  Years, in fact.  But even after all this inspiration, I have a hard time thinking of something to write about.  I also feel like I’m going through a period of such heavy thinking and rapid learning that whatever story I write today may lose its meaning for me in less than a year, as I move on to other thoughts.

If I do figure out something to write about, you can be sure I’ll post it here.


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  1. As a note: I’m going through your xanga backwards, so keep that in mind.Huxley does believe that emotions blind us from the objective truth (as should everyone), but also that being conditioned to only feel certain emotions would blind us even more.

  2. Huxley is also trying to say to us that there is no escape from the brave new world. it’s how we have evolved…we cant just simply de-evolve.

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