Brave New World IHubReads Chapter 1

My book for the IHub reads is ‘Brave New World’ and this blog is about chapter 1. Chapter 1 focuses a lot on describing the setting of the story. The story, told in third person omniscient view, begins in a building called ‘Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre’. In chapter one, the author uses a scene of Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning(DHC) giving a tour around the building and explaining the functions of each room to the students to indirectly inform the readers of what kind of world they are currently living in. Instead of just laying out the settings word by word for the readers, the author uses the characters’ thoughts and actions to allow the readers to guess the settings by themselves. By going through a tour around a building that functions as the foundation of all the strange characteristics that the world is built on, the readers are able to find the differences of our world compared to theirs, and set the basic background information about the world, which will later allow them to easily understand some of the odd principles and actions that the characters in the book are living by. By explaining to the readers the reason and the function of a fertilizing room, the readers get to know that the people living in their world no longer seek to be viviparous. By explaining the detailed process of bokanovskification, the readers get to guess the era and the political principles that the world is in. By furtively mentioning the World Controllers, Epsilons, and their social destinies, the author gives a hint to the readers about the social class and the discrimination that the people in the lower class are forced to undergo. The three main characters that chapter 1 reveals are the DHC, Lenina, and Henry Foster. DHC seems to be a very informed man with a lot of knowledge about the system of the world. Henry Foster appears to be very involved in his work. However, a quote in the chapter “He was going to say future World Controllers, but correcting himself, said ‘future Directors of Hatcheries’ instead.” (page.11) shows that he is a very sly canny person. Lenina was another character whose characteristics weren’t fully shown, who has a professional relationship with Henry Foster. There are two main things that I found interesting in this chapter. One of them is at page 5 “Ninety-six identical twins working ninety-six identical machines”. The adjectives that are describing both twins and machines are exactly the same. This rhyming quote seems to work as symbolism for how the people in this world view humans as nothing more than workers made to function as another kind of machine. Another thing that caught my interest was on page 13 “That is the secret of happiness and virtue-liking what you’ve got to do. All conditioning aims at that: making people like their unescapable social destiny.” I don’t know for sure if the author used the word ‘unescapable’ on purpose, knowing that the proper form is ‘inescapable’, in order to stress this point, but the reason why this phrase caught my eye was because this phrase sounded like it created a Utopia for everyone. In the current era, lots of people complain about how they have to give up what they want to do, and do what they are good at. Often the things that we are good at are not the things that we want to do. Reading the phrase from this era’s view, making people like what they’ve got to do really seems to be the secret of happiness and virtue. However, one thing that we have to also recognize is the word ‘unescapable social destiny’ Even if we were to like what we are supposed to do, if it’s an ‘unescapable social destiny’, would it be true happiness? Would living in a world without challenges and freedom really be a life worth living for? Would happiness gained without suffering and pain really be happy? These questions seem to be the main ones that the author is asking in the book ‘Brave New World’.

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