GG my love,
I finished this a while ago but never got around to posting an entry about it. It was… interesting. Really fantastic, but certain parts were a bit strange. It made you think about what that kind of society would be like: everyone in their own place, with no reason to be unhappy, yet with no families, real love, or art. Would that be true happiness? The people in this society are conditioned from birth to belong to a certain class, with beliefs specific to that class. They wear one color their whole lives to identify themselves, and are assigned to a job. There’s no freedom, except about who you can date, apparently. And you’re taught to be promiscuous, because sex was merely pleasure and no longer about making children. (Children are made in tubes!)
The real message hits when two characters visit the Reservation, where Indian tribes roam free. A woman from the outside was lost there years ago, and had a child while stuck on the Reservation. The woman, Linda, is wrecked by age (they don’t let them get old, basically, in society) and pretty much just goes crazy. She wants to get back to civilization, but when she gets there she takes a ton of soma (happy pills) and goes into a coma-like state until she dies. Her son, John, is basically the big symbolic character in the book; he doesn’t understand the “perfect” society outside of the Reservation and eventually goes mad himself, because he’d been raised on with the Indians who taught values of freedom and love. The two contrasting lifestyles present the real issue that the novel tries to get across. Which would you rather chose: being able to love and be free, but also true unhappiness and pain, or knowing your place, with adequate pleasure to keep you satisfied but no choice in the matter? (Personally, I’d take the love.)
As far as the characters went, I felt like a couple of them could have been a bit deeper. I guess the point was that no one in this society was very deep, because their true essence was only on the surface, as was their happiness. The only three who did go deeper (Bernard, Helmholtz, and John) symbolized the fact that we, as humans, are prone to human desires, pain, and emotions, no matter how conditioned we are not to be. These three characters pretty much ended up unhappy at the end, but ultimately, they were more free than any of the others. (John’s conclusion especially exemplified freedom, when a human being is asked to go against his nature.) I also wanted a stronger female character, as the women were all basically dumbasses. (Lenina had meaning, but she still made me roll my eyes.)
Overall a wonderful and complex read. Not easy, but certainly worthwhile. And now I think I’ll continue with Wit’s End, which I started and seems like a cute story. My workload this semester is a little more than it was last, so I might have to have some easy reads for a while.
Miss you dearly. ❤