Conflicts in Brave New World

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  • 0:01 Conflicts in Brave New World
  • 0:49 Against Society
  • 2:10 Conflict with John
  • 2:46 Mustapha's Conflicts
  • 3:24 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kaitlin Oglesby

Kaitlin has a BA in political science and extensive experience working in the business world as Director of Marketing and Business Development at a financial advice firm.

Conflict is a part of daily life. Despite the best efforts of the leaders in the dystopian novel 'Brave New World,' there is still conflict in the World State. Not surprisingly, a great deal of this conflict has to do with John, and the people around him.

Conflicts in Brave New World

Have you ever had someone ask you why you just can't get along with someone else? Now imagine all of society expecting you to get along with everyone!

In Aldous Huxley's 1932 novel, Brave New World, all of society is pre-engineered to exist without conflict. Despite an environment where happiness reigns supreme, there is plenty of conflict to be had. Much of it originates because of people failing to fit the mold of society, even though it's clear that many of them very much would like to do so.

In this lesson, we'll see how many of the characters take issue with society, and how more than a few have a conflict with John, the main protagonist who is from a completely different culture. Finally, we'll look at conflicts involving Mustapha Mond, the World Controller who has complete rule over the society.

Against Society

For such a planned system, the World State, the name given to the government and society, has plenty of people who are just not happy. Two of the best examples come from opposite ends of the spectrum.

At one end we have Helmholtz, a close friend of both John and Bernard. He has everything that a member of this society should want. He's successful, handsome, charming, and women are throwing themselves at him. However, he's not happy. He feels hemmed in by society, being told to conform his writing to rather narrow guidelines to advance consumerism, rather than exploring other scientific advancement. Despite losing the stability and acceptance it provides, Helmholtz is excited to leave society to experience freedom in his writing.

Another example of the fight against society is Bernard. While Helmholtz is highly regarded, Bernard is simply lacking in everything that a good member of society should have. He's a pessimist, he is sarcastic, and to top it all off, he's short. However, one thing he is not lacking is conflict. His inner conflict of wanting to be accepted by society takes issue with his criticism of its conformity. His conflict with respect to the Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning leads to much of the events of the novel. Still, Bernard never feels quite good enough and is constantly at odds with the fact that he doesn't measure up.

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