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1984 and Brave New World

It is the purpose of this sample topic outline to show any college student how to compare/contrast George Orwell’s 1984 with Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. These are both science fiction novels but more specifically, dystopian novels; they both present a bleak vision of a future world. Huxley’s book was first published in 1932; Orwell’s in 1949.  In terms of the verifiability of the two author’s predictions, Huxley chose more wisely than Orwell — Brave New World is set some 600 years after the twentieth century (the year is 632 After Ford), while 1984 was set in a time only 35 years after it was written.  1984 and Brave New WorldMoreover, in terms of the direction which the world seems to be heading in the year 2002, particularly the world of the liberal democracies, Huxley’s predictions seem more accurate than do those of Orwell. But both novels, each in its own way, present a horrific view of the human future.  Huxley shows a world in which human life has lost all meaning.  Orwell depicts a world in which the elites of totalitarian governments have created states, which have as the one and only aim the infliction of suffering on the populace.

Common themes throughout each work are as follows:

  • Communication - Government controls communication
  • Knowledge - media and entertainment dilute knowledge
  • Truth - Truth is concealed through entertainment transfixion or through repressive control

Brave New World and Human Happiness

The primary difference between the two books has to do with human happiness.  In Huxley’s novel the situation in which human beings find themselves is benign.  People are kept happy through the consumption of soma, and through a daily round of activities that include a reasonable amount of work, a high-level of consumption, various group amusements, and a great deal of casual sex (the only kind there is in Huxley’s future world). Everyone, with the exception of a few misfits, is happy.  Happiness is, in fact, the reason, the justification, that the leadership uses for those elements of the society that the Savage and Watson reject—see the conversation that takes place in Mustapha Mond’s office towards the end of the book.

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