Brave New World Caste System: Roles & Analysis

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  • 0:00 The Society of Brave New World
  • 0:38 At The Top: Alphas and Betas
  • 2:04 Gammas
  • 2:53 At The Bottom: Deltas…
  • 3:39 What Does It All Mean?
  • 4:28 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kaitlin Oglesby

Kaitlin has a BA in political science and experience teaching.

When Aldous Huxley wrote Brave New World, he was providing a commentary about the state of society as he saw it. One of the aspects he paid the most attention to was caste, and in Brave New World, your caste determines your destiny.

The Society of Brave New World

A central part of the American dream is that people can rise above their status at birth and become something more. However, this ethos does not exist in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. In the quest for an ever more stable society, not only are the bonds of family obliterated, but people are also predestined from conception for their role in life. The very top castes receive extra attention, while those at the bottom find their growth stunted. In this lesson, we'll look at the several castes that make up society in Brave New World.

At the Top: Alphas and Betas

Ruling over the society of the World State are the two top castes in society, and unlike lower castes, they are not clones, but unique individuals. At the very top are Alphas. Alphas have it all. They are highly intelligent, extremely refined, and very good looking. Life for Alphas is not bad at all. Of course, they do have the demanding job of running society, but even that's not so bad, as it's literally what they've trained for their entire lives. They undergo intense conditioning from birth to prepare them for their roles in society and to make them feel superior to all other castes.

Despite this conditioning, sometimes citizens of the World State do not fit seamlessly into their castes. For example, Bernard Marx, one of the major characters of the book, finds himself feeling left out because he doesn't look the part of an Alpha. He's much shorter than the generally tall-statured Alphas.

Just below the Alphas are the Betas. If the Alphas were the valedictorians and sports team captains, the Betas would be merely graduating with honors and warming the bench. They mix freely with the Alphas, even though there is an unmentioned hierarchy between the two. While Alphas work high-concept jobs such as inventing new conditioning processes, Betas work as their assistants, making sure that everything works well once such processes have been established.


The Gammas, on the other hand, feel much more disconnected from the higher castes. This is because they go through the Bokanovsky Process, a method of cloning. As a result, while Alphas and Betas are genetically unique individuals, Gammas lack that individuality. Additionally, Gammas have their growth stunted from birth through chemical interference to limit their intelligence.

They are assigned rather low-level work, but still the sort of jobs that require some mental aptitude. For example, Gammas might work as machine technicians, a manual labor job that still requires thinking. Despite being clones of each other, they are still allowed to develop throughout their lives largely without interruption. In general, Gammas are the Average Joe's of Brave New World.

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