Brave New World Symbols & Symbolism

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

Aldous Huxley uses symbolism in ~'Brave New World~' to support his political stance and to share his fears about what could happen if people allow the government too much control.

Think about some of our national symbols: the flag, Uncle Sam, the Statue of Liberty. What does each represent? In Brave New World, Aldous Huxley uses symbolism to reflect his views on Socialism, technology, and instant gratification. Symbolism is using an object to represent a bigger idea. In this lesson, we will look at some of the symbols that are used in this novel.

Names

The author names several of the characters after political leaders of the time in an effort to call attention to his beliefs that too much government, as in the case of Socialism, may bring stability to a society, but the risks to personal freedom are not worth it. In most cases, the characters and the political leaders have little in common. The symbol comes from the name itself, rather than the characterization.

  • Bernard Marx is named after Karl Marx. Karl Marx criticized capitalism and promoted socialism. After his death, Vladimir Lenin's interpretation of Marxism became the basis for Communism in Russia. Bernard's character is not a duplicate of Karl Marx by any stretch, but both are big thinkers who are critical of the political state of their communities. 'Too little bone and brawn had isolated Bernard from his fellow men, and the sense of this apartness, being, by all the current standards, a mental excess, became in its turn a cause of wider separation.'
  • Lenina Crowne is named for Vladimir Lenin. Vladimir Lenin introduced Communism to Russia based on his interpretation of Marxism. Lenina has little in common with Lenin, except that both were fascinated and influenced by Marx.
  • Benito Hoover was named for Benito Mussolini and Herbert Hoover. Benito Mussolini was a Fascist dictator in Italy and could not have been more different from Benito, who is always happy and doesn't need soma to enjoy life. Herbert Hoover was the U.S. President during the Great Depression. Benito's name has less to do with his characterization than the author's intention to incorporate ideas surrounding economics and politics.
  • Mustapha Mond symbolizes Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. 'Monde' is French for world. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was a reformist who modernized Turkey. Mustapha Mond is one of ten world Controllers.
  • Polly Trotsky, the little girl who makes the boy who doesn't like erotic games cry, symbolizes Leon Trotsky. Leon Trotsky attempted to be a peacemaker among different factions of Communism during the Russian Revolution, but as a result, was seen as a threat to both sides. After Stalin came to power, Trotsky was excommunicated. Like Polly, he wasn't trying to hurt anyone.

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