Study Guide

Brave New World Power

By Aldous Huxley


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As one character puts it, power in Brave New World "is a matter of sitting, not hitting." Rather than using violence to enforce the law (ahem), those in power in this futuristic society have simply programmed the citizens to be happy with the laws. How do they do it? A free-flowing supply of drugs, an 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. The question is—is this future any better than our current situation? Sure, it might sound fun at first, but one look at Huxley's Brave New World and you'll learn pretty fast that all play and no work makes humanity one dull group.

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

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.