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Carolina
BRAVE NEW WORLD Has someone read this book? I've been reading it for one week but it's difficult. There are a lot of words which are not in a dictionary. Did you like the book? What do you think about this kind of society?
Mar 31, 2019 5:23 PM
Comments · 8
As for "what do you think of this kind of society," I have to say that as prophecy or prediction, Huxley was more on the mark than George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four. You could certainly see the book as an anticipation of the sexual revolution of the 1970s, the acceptance of psychedelic and recreational drugs (the book's "soma,") and virtual reality ("feelies.") Or perhaps these things were inspired and influenced by Brave New World.
March 31, 2019

I loved the book. However, I can certainly understand that it is difficult.

Not only does it use difficult words, but it is full of cultural difficulties. It also includes satire and irony, and a somewhat experimental writing style, not straightforward storytelling.

As a matter of fact, as a US native speaker, there are things in the book I didn't understand right away, culturally, and I am sure there are things I don't understand yet.

Huxley describes his dystopian world from within, and, unlike other similar novels, he does not explain many of his references. In George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, Orwell tells us what a "telescreen" is, what Newspeak is, and so on. For example, Huxley never tells us what a "Malthusian belt" is. We are supposed to know who Malthus was. We are supposed to guess that "Malthusian" means "limiting population growth through the use of contraception." And we are supposed to guess that a "Malthusian belt" must be something that women carry contraceptives in.

The book is very much of its time, 1931. A detail I didn't understand when I read the book the first time was the degree to which Henry Ford was once admired and lionized. That was a phenomenon of the early 1920s. Huxley satirizes the "worship" of Ford by making Fordism an actual religion. Ford's reputation has faded for many reasons. We no longer think of him that way, so the satire falls flat.

Huxley does not care about making things easy for a reader. Huxley wrote another book in 1936 entitled Eyeless in Gaza, in which, rather than tell the story sequentially, he scrambled up the chapters and presented them in a random order.

March 31, 2019
I read it when I was young. Enjoyed it a great deal. It is indeed going to be a challenging read for someone who doesn't have a near-native proficiency level. It is also extremely helpful to have a broad understanding of twentieth century history and politics to understand many of its puns.

 My memory will be quite hazy but if you have any specific questions (provide specific quotes) I'd be willing to undergo a kind of refresher in effort to answer them.

I would second the recommendation of George Orwell's Animal Farm which is written on a far more accessible level. This book operates on two levels. On one level, it can be read and understood by children as a book about animals. On another level, it can be read and understood by someone who has a basic understanding of the history of the USSR and it's major political figures plus a keen appreciation for satire. So it's one of those books people often read twice, once in middle/secondary school, then again in adulthood. 

These books fall under a category known as "dystopian" novels (a recent-ish example from cinema would be the Hunger Games series).

George Orwell's 1984 is another one, the language of that book would be similarly complex as with BNW, but it has, I think, less humor involving wordplay (and less humor, if any, in general) and I think any words you don't know would be easier to look up. If you end up finding that you really enjoy this particular genre, Zamyatin's We and Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 are also great reads.

Cheers, best of luck, and please do remember that a gram(me) is better than a damn. ;)
 


March 31, 2019
Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” is a good read. If you’re looking for something along the same lines but easier, you may want to check out George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” (copyright expired in Australia).

March 31, 2019

I wonder how many foreign-speakers can identify

"'Civilization is Sterilization," I used to say to them'" as a satiric reference to "Cleanliness is next to godliness?"

I wonder how many can recognize

Streptocock-Gee to Banbury-T,

To see a fine bathroom and W.C.

as a parody of the nursery rhyme 

Ride-a-cock horse to Banbury Cross

To see a fine lady upon a white horse?

I wonder how many native speakers understand what Huxley was getting at? I don't, myself, not completely! When I first read the book, as a US native, I didn't know what a "W.C." was. (It stands for "water closet" and means the fixture I call a "toilet.") "Banbury T" is a transformation of "Banbury Cross," with the cross transformed into the T of "Fordism."

But what is "Streptocock-Gee?" Probably the one of the families of the infectious bacterium Streptococcus, which are classified into groups A, B, C, and G. But why does he bring in streptococcus here?

In short... by all means, read this book, but don't be surprised or bothered if there are many things in it that are hard to understand. 

April 1, 2019
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Carolina
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English, French, Korean, Spanish
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English, French, Korean