The Ideology of Savagery in Brave New World
The concept of savages in this novel arises with the introduction of John, a character who lives outside of the society at the savage reservation. He and the society he lives within are deemed savages because they are not a part of the World State. The true issue here arises with their title of “savages”, what truly makes someone a savage? To fully understand this, we must first understand the true definition on the word. As per dictionary meaning, the word savage has two different meanings; One, the word can represent something in a state of nature / wild, or uncivilized. Two, the word can also represent a brutal or cruel person. So, with this information, who are the true savages in Huxley’s A Brave New World?
When the first meaning of the word is taken into consideration, it becomes clear that the people who live in the reservations are savages. But when it comes to the second meaning, the ideology behind savagery gets flipped around. Most of the people living in the World State find their civilized world is perfect. They don’t see anything brutal or cruel about it, yet people like John who have a different set of values, feel uncomfortable in this so called civilized world and want to escape it. This is due to the harsh reality that the people the World State’s society associate as savages are in fact by far more civilized, and the ones thought to be civilized are indeed, the true savages.
From the first opening scenes at the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Center, a group of boys are exposed to the factory process used to create humans. Conditioning them for their predestined roles in the World State society. The Hatchery destines each fetus for a particular caste in the society. The five castes are Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Epsilon. Here the group is introduced to the Bokanovsky’s Process,” One egg, one embryo, one adult-normality. But a bokanovskified egg will bud, will proliferate, will divide. …………Making ninety-six human beings grow where only one grew before. Progress.” (pg.17). This process in its self isn’t an act of savagery, one may argue that its’s just the use of technological advancements. But the conditioning process the embryos endure can be categorized as cruel and inhumane.
The three lower castes are conditioned to be identical to one another, and are conditioned to be mentally inferior to the two upper castes. Fetuses destined for work in the tropical climate are heat conditioned while oxygen deprivation and alcohol treatment ensure the lower intelligence and smaller size. “The lower the caste,” said Mr. Foster, “the shorter the oxygen.” The first organ affected was the brain. After that the skeleton. At seventy per cent of normal oxygen you got dwarfs. At less than seventy eyeless monsters.” (pg.24). It takes a cruel person to talk about the purposeful destruction of human life with little to no remorse. This is the first of many forms of savagery displayed by the World state citizens.
So far, I feel that everything is coming together pretty well. My overall theme behind my essay is exposing the true “savages” in the story. I believe the world state are savages, but I also believe the people who live in the reservation are savages as well, but just in a different form. In the essay, I want to compare the actions and beliefs of both parties.
I am having trouble piecing all the information I have together and trying to organize it in a way that makes sense. I plan on going in chronological order through the book instead of jumping throughout the book to avoid confusion.