Dystopian Novels Compared… Orwell vs. Huxley

“Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley and “1984” by George Orwell are two of the most well-known dystopian novels, each painting a bleak picture of a future society controlled by a totalitarian regime. While both novels depict a world where individual freedom is curtailed, they approach the theme in different ways, with “Brave New World” focusing on a society where people are manipulated into compliance through pleasure and conditioning, while “1984” portrays a world where fear, surveillance, and brute force are used to maintain control.

In “Brave New World”, Huxley imagines a society that has achieved stability through technological advancements, mass production, and psychological conditioning. Individuals are conditioned from birth to accept their predetermined roles and are kept docile and content through the use of drugs, entertainment, and sex. The citizens of Huxley’s world are more focused on their own pleasure than on fighting for their rights or questioning the system.

On the other hand, Orwell’s “1984” presents a world where the ruling Party maintains control through the constant surveillance of its citizens and the brutal suppression of any dissent. The government manipulates language, history, and even the thoughts of its people, creating a reality where the truth is whatever the Party says it is. Fear and the threat of violence are the primary means of control, with the protagonist Winston Smith ultimately succumbing to the oppressive regime.

Both novels have had a significant impact on the world around us, serving as cautionary tales that warn against the dangers of totalitarianism, surveillance, and the erosion of individual freedoms. “The Machine Stops” by E.M. Forster, another dystopian work, similarly explores the consequences of technological dependency and the loss of human connection. J.G. Ballard’s “Memories of the Space Age” offers a collection of dystopian short stories that reflect on the psychological and societal implications of space exploration and the abandonment of Earth.

Huxley’s letter to Orwell provides insight into the author’s belief that the ruling elite would ultimately find more efficient ways to govern, like those presented in “Brave New World”, rather than relying on brute force. While both novels have examples in today’s world, such as surveillance and the manipulation of information, it could be argued that Huxley’s vision has become more reflective of our reality. The rise of technology and social media has created a world where people are constantly seeking pleasure and validation, often at the expense of privacy and critical thinking.

However, Huxley’s assertion that hypnotism and narco-hypnosis would become the primary tools of control has not fully materialized. While the manipulation of public opinion through the media and the internet is prevalent, the methods employed today are more subtle and varied than Huxley anticipated.

In conclusion, “Brave New World” and “1984” each offer a distinct and harrowing vision of a dystopian future, with both novels remaining relevant today as we grapple with issues of surveillance, censorship, and the erosion of individual freedoms. As Huxley suggested, our society has evolved in ways that increasingly resemble the world he imagined, yet the darker elements of Orwell’s vision continue to haunt us. The enduring legacy of these novels serves as a powerful reminder of the need to remain vigilant and protect our rights in an ever-changing world.

Letter from Huxley to Orwell:

Wrightwood. Cal.
21 October, 1949

Dear Mr. Orwell,

It was very kind of you to tell your publishers to send me a copy of your book. It arrived as I was in the midst of a piece of work that required much reading and consulting of references; and since poor sight makes it necessary for me to ration my reading, I had to wait a long time before being able to embark on Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Agreeing with all that the critics have written of it, I need not tell you, yet once more, how fine and how profoundly important the book is. May I speak instead of the thing with which the book deals — the ultimate revolution? The first hints of a philosophy of the ultimate revolution — the revolution which lies beyond politics and economics, and which aims at total subversion of the individual’s psychology and physiology — are to be found in the Marquis de Sade, who regarded himself as the continuator, the consummator, of Robespierre and Babeuf. The philosophy of the ruling minority in Nineteen Eighty-Four is a sadism which has been carried to its logical conclusion by going beyond sex and denying it. Whether in actual fact the policy of the boot-on-the-face can go on indefinitely seems doubtful. My own belief is that the ruling oligarchy will find less arduous and wasteful ways of governing and of satisfying its lust for power, and these ways will resemble those which I described in Brave New World. I have had occasion recently to look into the history of animal magnetism and hypnotism, and have been greatly struck by the way in which, for a hundred and fifty years, the world has refused to take serious cognizance of the discoveries of Mesmer, Braid, Esdaile, and the rest.

Partly because of the prevailing materialism and partly because of prevailing respectability, nineteenth-century philosophers and men of science were not willing to investigate the odder facts of psychology for practical men, such as politicians, soldiers and policemen, to apply in the field of government. Thanks to the voluntary ignorance of our fathers, the advent of the ultimate revolution was delayed for five or six generations. Another lucky accident was Freud’s inability to hypnotize successfully and his consequent disparagement of hypnotism. This delayed the general application of hypnotism to psychiatry for at least forty years. But now psycho-analysis is being combined with hypnosis; and hypnosis has been made easy and indefinitely extensible through the use of barbiturates, which induce a hypnoid and suggestible state in even the most recalcitrant subjects.

Within the next generation I believe that the world’s rulers will discover that infant conditioning and narco-hypnosis are more efficient, as instruments of government, than clubs and prisons, and that the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging and kicking them into obedience. In other words, I feel that the nightmare of Nineteen Eighty-Four is destined to modulate into the nightmare of a world having more resemblance to that which I imagined in Brave New World. The change will be brought about as a result of a felt need for increased efficiency. Meanwhile, of course, there may be a large-scale biological and atomic war — in which case we shall have nightmares of other and scarcely imaginable kinds.

Thank you once again for the book.

Yours sincerely,

Aldous Huxley


Comparing “Jeeves” & “Marlow” Writing Styles

P.G. Wodehouse’s “Jeeves” stories and Raymond Chandler’s “Marlow” stories are two works of fiction that are often contrasted for their distinct writing styles. Wodehouse’s “Jeeves” stories are known for their witty, light-hearted humor and use of sophisticated language, whereas Chandler’s “Marlow” stories are characterized by their hard-boiled detective style, with a focus on crime and violence in a rough, urban environment.

Wodehouse’s writing style in the “Jeeves” stories is characterized by the use of satire and irony, as well as a clever and complex use of language. He often uses puns and wordplay to create humor, and his characters are often drawn from the upper classes, with a focus on their foibles and eccentricities. For example, in the story “Jeeves and the Unbidden Guest,” Wodehouse uses puns to create humor as Jeeves works to solve a series of problems for his employer, Bertie Wooster.

In contrast, Chandler’s writing style in the “Marlow” stories is characterized by his use of terse, spare language and a focus on the gritty, crime-ridden urban environment of Los Angeles. He uses vivid descriptions of the city and its people to create a sense of the corrupt and dangerous world that his detective, Philip Marlowe, inhabits. For example, in the story “The Big Sleep,” Chandler describes Los Angeles as “a great good place badly run.”

In conclusion, the writing styles of P.G. Wodehouse and Raymond Chandler are markedly different, with Wodehouse using wit and humor to comment on the upper classes, while Chandler uses spare language and a focus on crime and violence to create a sense of the rough, urban environment.

Joyce’s “Ulysses” vs. Miller’s “Tropic of Cancer”

James Joyce’s Ulysses and Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer are two significant works of modern literature that reflect the change in prose writing style during the early 20th century. The former represents a complex, experimental and modernist style of writing, while the latter represents a straightforward, direct and realist style of writing. This essay will compare and contrast the prose writing style in Ulysses with the realist writing style of Tropic of Cancer with examples.

The prose style of Ulysses is marked by its innovative, fragmented and fragmented structure, which explores the stream-of-consciousness technique. The style is fragmented and often lacks continuity, breaking from the linear narrative structure of traditional novels. The use of interior monologue and the shifting perspectives of characters is a hallmark of Joyce’s style in Ulysses. For example, the “Sirens” episode of Ulysses, where the narrative shifts between the perspectives of the two main characters, Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus, is a good example of this fragmented style.

On the other hand, Tropic of Cancer is written in a straightforward, realist style that is characterized by its directness and simplicity. The narrative structure is linear, following the protagonist, Henry Miller, as he moves through Paris, encountering various characters and experiences. The style of writing is plain, colloquial and spontaneous, reflecting Miller’s aim to capture the raw, unrefined reality of life in Paris. For example, the opening of Tropic of Cancer, “I am living at the Villa Borghese. There is not a crumb of dirt anywhere, nor a chair misplaced. We are all alone here and we are dead” is an example of Miller’s simple and straightforward writing style.

In conclusion, Ulysses and Tropic of Cancer represent two contrasting styles of prose writing, the former being a modernist and experimental style, while the latter being a realist style. The complex and fragmented style of Ulysses is a reflection of Joyce’s attempt to capture the complexities of the human mind and experience, while the straightforward and direct style of Tropic of Cancer reflects Miller’s attempt to capture the reality of life in a raw and unrefined manner. Both works are significant contributions to modern literature, reflecting the changing literary trends of the early 20th century.

Emojis as punctuation

Punctuation is an essential aspect of written language, guiding the reader’s understanding of the text’s intended meaning and conveying the author’s tone and emphasis. It has evolved over time and changed with the development of written language and printing technology. In this article, we will explore the history and evolution of punctuation from classical antiquity to modern times, including obsolete punctuation marks and the emergence of emojis as a new form of punctuation.

Punctuation in Classical Antiquity Punctuation in the classical era was minimal, and the earliest forms of punctuation consisted of spaces between words. However, as written language became more complex, more punctuation marks emerged. In ancient Greece, punctuation marks such as the percontation point (⸮) and the coronis (a half-circle) were used to indicate questions and conclusions, respectively. The Greeks also used the hypodiastole (a vertical line) to mark the end of a sentence.

Middle Ages and the Age of Reason During the Middle Ages and the Age of Reason, punctuation continued to evolve. In the ninth century, the Catholic Church introduced punctuation to aid in the reading of scripture. Punctuation marks such as the punctus (a dot), virgula (a comma), and the punctus elevatus (an upward-pointing arrow) were used to indicate different pauses and intonations. In the fourteenth century, the Italian poet Petrarch introduced the use of the modern comma, colon, and period.

Rise of the Printing Press and Modern Era The invention of the printing press in the fifteenth century revolutionized the written word and made books and manuscripts more widely available. This led to standardization in punctuation, and printers created new punctuation marks such as the asterism (a star) and printers’ flowers (ornamental marks). The development of the printing press also popularized the use of the modern exclamation point and quotation marks.

Obsolete Punctuation Marks Some punctuation marks used in the past are no longer in use, such as the pilcrow (¶), which was used in medieval manuscripts to mark the beginning of a new paragraph, and the manicule (☞), a pointing hand used to indicate important text. Other obsolete punctuation marks include the diple (a double vertical line) and the percontation point mentioned earlier.

Emojis as a New Form of Punctuation In recent years, emojis have emerged as a new form of punctuation. Emojis can convey tone and emotion in a way that traditional punctuation cannot. They have become so popular that in 2015, the Oxford English Dictionary named the “Face with Tears of Joy” emoji its Word of the Year. Emojis can also replace words in a sentence and change the meaning of a message entirely. For example, a simple “thumbs up” emoji can replace the phrase “I agree,” and a “fire” emoji can indicate something is excellent or exciting.

In conclusion, punctuation has come a long way since its earliest forms in classical antiquity. The development of written language, printing technology, and the rise of the digital age have all influenced the evolution of punctuation. While some punctuation marks have become obsolete, new forms such as emojis have emerged. Emojis, in particular, are changing the way we communicate and adding new dimensions to written language. They may not replace traditional punctuation marks entirely, but they certainly offer a new way to express ourselves in the written word.