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Brave New World

Brave New World

by Aldous Huxley

Power Theme

As one character puts it, power in Brave New World "is a matter of sitting, not hitting." Rather than use violence to enforce the law, those in power in this futuristic society have simply programmed the citizens to be happy with the laws. This power is bolstered by a free-flowing supply of drugs, the insistence on promiscuity, the denial of history or future as any alternative to the present, and the use of sleep-teaching at a young age to instill the irrationality of its choosing. This same power is limited only by those individuals who desire, for one reason or another, to be unhappy.

Questions About Power

  1. Is Mustapha Mond truly a powerful guy? Or is it possible that he's a slave to his position in life, just like everyone else?
  2. Of all the devices the World State uses to control its citizens, which is the most powerful? Which is the most morally abhorrent?
  3. Different characters in the novel fight power in different ways. Bernard at first tries defiance; Helmholtz turns to subversive writing; and John leaves to live in solitude at the lighthouse. Are any of these effective? What is the best way to fight the system in this novel?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Helmholtz Watson is the most powerful character in Brave New World because he is the only one with control over his own mind.

The World State's power over its citizens is threatened most by man's instinctive desire for free will.

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