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Monica Oves
AP Lit, PD 8
10 April 2016
Mirror Image
These days, no one has total ownership over their body and their mind. Other people take
it upon themselves to decide who you are depending on how they view you. More often than not,
you are seen as just another fish in the sea, undistinguishable from the next one swimming by.
Aldous Huxleys Brave New World can be seen as a condemnation of modernity. Huxley exposes
the lack of individuality and a willing descent into complete lack of privacy to support the
society. Both are found in contemporary America, where people are grouped under various
ideologies rather than seen as individual, are fed the same information by the media, and now
seek to escape their aloneness through the distraction of entertainment and technology.
The World States people all learn the same ideals and lack any distinctiveness, because
their only purpose is to maintain and represent the World State -- a satirical situation similar to
our present society. The people in the World State live with diluted happiness, completely
eliminating the depth and variation of emotion that distinguishes one individual from another.
The nation depends on having a uniform frame of mind, because when the individual feels, the
community reels (62) from the possible knowledge gained. The rhyme within the sentence
shows how closely linked emotion and destruction of society are, and the easy memorization
reinforces the statement as a fact in the minds of the people, to avoid feelings at all costs and to
sacrifice their individuality. With complex emotion - depression, fear, anxiety - comes a
profound understanding of self, the cause of said emotion, and whether it is provoked by societal

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conditions. These influential feelings shift the populations core priority and purpose from upkeeping the global state to instead focusing on observation and self-enlightenment. The World
State wants to remain stagnant while giving the illusion of progress, so if the public realizes they
want change and revolution, the entire system falls apart. Due to the threat to stability, the World
State brainwashes the population, preventing any variation of feeling and thereby no diversity of
thought. Using soma and other distractions, the State blocks any tumultuous thoughts of
rebellion. Much like in todays time, the slightest inkling of any sadness or fear is quickly
silenced by the use of a smartphone or a laptop, filled with videos and pictures to distract from
the impending pain and stress. Instead of a source of inspiration for thoughtful self-expression
that could educate an entire audience, such as through art, poetry, and speech, the sentiment is
treated as an annoying obstacle to eliminate. Modern man now seeks to return to the same state
of neutral contentedness that everyone else is in. This complete conformity among the people
allows for easy control by the government, facilitated by the media, just as Mustapha Mond has
done. It is very easy to introduce pleasure and distraction to appeal and manipulate the people,
often with their support, without them realizing. Through the reward that Mond provides - the
immediate gratification of soma, sexual release, and entertainment - each citizen cant help
behaving as they ought to behave (149). How they ought to behave connotes that they are part
of a hypothesis, where it is easy to guess the conclusion when everyone always has identical
reactions. They are like duplicate test subjects that have become part of a sort of Pavlovian
experimentan experiment that expanded to reality. As long as they mindlessly follow what
they have been conditioned to believe, they will continue to remain happy and invulnerable. In
conjunction, contemporary America has been taught through the catchy jingles of TV
commercials to consume at increasing rates in order to fund our governmental system.

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Entertaining oneself becomes more appealing, with films and games, because for a few blissful
seconds, everything seems to be perfect and painless. Keeping our society distracted allows for
less reason and motivation to question our system. It pushes us from individuals, to merely a
cell in the social body (60), only one out of a billion identical gears that reinforce an irreversible
social machine for the common good. Similarly to what we are taught with consumerism, what is
expected of those in the World State is hypnopaedically ingrained and becomes part of their
morality in order to upkeep their system. Because everyone in the World State is conditioned
with the same rhymed phrases, like TV jingles, there is no debate or variation on what is
considered just, and everyone is equal minded. In modern times, this system is not much more
different from our own religious climate. Through the media, we are fed stories and biased
solutions from limited perspectives, skewing our viewpoints of the good and the bad. The media,
like the hypnopaedic messages, influences us to stop viewing people as individuals and start
seeing them as representations of an entire religion, such as Islam. The identity of a Muslim
becomes identical to their companions in the eyes of an outsider, which is why many aspects
such as terrorism are attributed to all of Islam rather than the extremists. Similarly in Brave New
World, the caste system becomes the peoples identity in the eyes of people in another class, to a
point where Bernard is extremely bothered that he cannot physically fit into his Alpha character.
Within the World State, each person views the other without truly acknowledging them as
individual, because they very rarely associate with others outside of their own caste, and only
ever address others by their Greek letters like Deltas or Epsilons. The people therefore
generalize the others, like we do today with religion, stripping away their individuality by
attributing the caste as their entire identity.

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Huxley criticizes modern Americas willing descent into complete lack of privacy using
the World States theme that everyone belongs to one another, and the confusion and abhorrence
the population has towards being alone. Within the World State, every one works for every one
else (48) in order to keep the society alive. Instead of viewing it as though they are working for
a larger power, like Mustapha Mond, the philosophy is that the work they do is for the common
good of the people; they are each others leaders. This sort of interdependency and power shows
the fear of being alone. In Leninas eyes, it is impossible to do without anyone (43) and lead
functional lives without the surrounding community constantly there. It places everyone in the
hands of each other, leading to others regularly observing one another. Sacrificing the publics
privacy, everyone looks to see if others holding up their end of the bargain in upholding the
World State, as taught through hypnopaedia. This is why Fanny actively takes part in Leninas
personal life, and Lenina constantly announces her dates to the public, in order to reassure the
others that she is doing what is expected of her and thereby not directly putting the societal
system in jeopardy. Because of this, the need to put up a front of perfection is reinforced in the
State. It affects Bernard especially, as he is physically unable to change himself to fit into the
Alpha caste. He wants his seclusion when Lenina announces their date in front of everyone,
because the opinions of others would not be positive, but rather shocked that he managed to get
such a high profile date looking the way he does. However, despite his abhorrence for the
judgement and lack of privacy, he still cannot help himself but to brag to Helmholtz, whom he
trusts, about his successes, like his date with Lenina. His worst nightmare is to be sent off to
Iceland in permanent seclusion, because constant privacy seems like an eternal, foreign
punishment after spending so long without it. He only enjoys the lack of privacy when he can
successfully fake perfection and success like the others, but does not have a choice either way

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since he is never alone either way. Social media currently serves the same purpose in
contemporary times. Acting as a platform of documentation, an event seems to never have
happened unless a picture is uploaded somewhere. It is a delicate system of remaining relevant in
peoples lives, showing off progress, and avoiding being forgotten even by those they have not
spoken to in years. The concept of social media stays alive as long as people disregard space and
continue caring about other peoples lives in comparison to their own. It has progressed to the
point where others can post about someone without their knowledge, allowing for no choice on
when privacy is even allowed. It becomes unnatural now to spend time alone in self-reflection,
like for Bernard, after this way of publicly living is normalized, which the World State
exaggeratedly mocks. To other peoples horror, especially Fannys, Bernard early on spends
most of his time by himself -- alone (30), because he does not find pleasure in most peoples
company. Even then, although most of his time is in solitude, he still socializes and is in the
presence of people much of his day, but that is nevertheless considered not enough and
abnormal. The word alone is separated by a pause, because it does not belong with their lifestyle,
and Fanny is pushing it as far away from her mind as possible. It is shocking for anyone to
willingly want to be in isolation, and emphasizes how little seclusion any of the World State truly
has. They constantly play team sports, go on consistent dates and work together all of the time,
even see each other in communal bathrooms. It becomes almost insulting for anyone to
purposely seek isolation, because of the effort it takes to rip away from everyones gazes. In
todays America, the idea of solitude has become a foreign concept as well. Being alone is
constantly avoided with as many distractions as possible. Gossip about celebrities is in every
magazine, friends are expected to respond within seconds once a message is sent, and movies
transport us into another persons life entirely, much like the feelies satirize with a much more in

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depth experience. The idea of boundaries is eliminated and discomfort is no longer expected
because everyones personal thoughts are advertised and virtually belong to each other. Therefore
everyone has a certain possession over each other, which is why it is uncomfortable when
someone goes unaccounted for and escapes the public eye, because it is like losing a mind
previously seen and owned. Being alone is not only a foreign concept, it has morphed into an
unacceptable state of being with so many opportunities to escape oneself and intrude on
anothers life.
Modern times are characterized by factions of religion, race, gender, and more that many
people are grouped and generalized under. People are often mistook because of assumptions, and
these judgements and retaliations cause more people to focus on others lives, especially in the
face of social rights. Through the speed of technology, all of the media eagerly consumed offers
insight into different peoples lives, and introduces less room for individuality. The media we are
exposed to creates more divisions to categorize people under, each represented by a few who end
up on the news. It creates false preconceived notions like how white police are all prone to
racism, and how African Americans are all prone to crime. The habit of applying these factions
into a persons entire identity wipes away the individuality and turns them into another inflexible