10 August 2007

obviously he wasn't writing for parents of kids like evan

Despite the whole moving business, I have, of course, managed to get in some quality reading. How else would I maintain my sanity without reading about people whose lives are worse than mine?

Seeing as I'm apparently one of the few Americans who never had to read Aldous Huxley's Brave New World in high school, I decided it was finally time to read it myself. I enjoyed it, mostly. But I have a feeling I didn't take away the exact message Huxley intended to send.

If you haven't read the book, allow me to fill you in: it takes place in a futuristic society where humans are bred and brainwashed to fulfill a particular role in society. Everything is strictly managed by the state and people are stripped of any decision-making or free thought or individuality, yet brainwashed to believe they couldn't be happier. I get the point of the book: freedom and democracy and truth are better than all-powerful government control of mindless, soulless, emotionless, brainwashed drones. Right.

But I couldn't help thinking, as I read, that some features of this society were pretty attractive when you have a child in the terrible twos. All children are raised in state-operated conditioning centers? All children are trained to be docile and submissive? In fact, parents don't exist at all? Also, free drugs whose effect simulates a long vacation from the real world?

Of course, if I didn't have the children, I wouldn't need the drugs. But this whole no-parenting idea is something I spent some serious daydreaming time on. I'm pretty sure that wasn't what I was supposed to get from the novel, but hey, parenting really changes your perception sometimes.


melissa said...

I absolutely love that book. I've read it a few times and I think that your take is interesting=). I think Huxley meant for it to be slightly unsure in it's message. Some of the things in the book were really attractive, yet so much was sacrificed to achieve them.

Emily said...

I've never read that book, but maybe I should. Before I have kids! Haha

kim said...

I can't tell you how many times I've thought that many works of literature would be completely different if written from the perspective of someone who either has or has the ability to bear children. Male authors have such limited perspectives.

karen said...

Haven't read that book, either - but sounds similar to the ideals in The Giver. And I'd have to agree with Kim - my how the perspective of anyone that has spent a significant amount of time in the child-care world would change things, much less that of actual MOTHERS.

And even without children involved, you can't tell me that most everyone, at some point in life, has desired freedom from responsibility...