Dehumanization Amongst a Utopian Society
A society that intends to abolish negativity will end up only damaging itself more; the positive aspects of life will not be as enjoyable if one does not experience both: the bad and the good. Communities that intend to reach the “ideal” or “perfect” lifestyle of a society will fall short to this intention time after time. A Utopian society, one without abstraction or flaws, restricts one to conform into a publically desired individual, rather than someone who displays originality. With a lack of variation and discrepancies, a society is unable to reach its optimal form of life.
During the time of the twentieth century, authors and writers enjoy highlighting this transitional period of works. Writings no longer describes the life of the daily man or the calling upon oneself in reflection; writing begins to evolve. Twentieth century literature begins the initial dive into the concrete roles of women, the identity and isolation of beings in a society, the memories and history of the prior happenings, and the sexual desire that associate the inner workings of authors at this time. During a time period where marriage and long term relationships seem obscure, characters in the timely works fit this obscurity. As seen in novels, the feeling of social restraints and the need for perfect beings, results in outcasts: people who do not match or want to match.
Chaos begins to arise for those who dare to challenge the tradition. In Aldous Huxley’s twentieth century novel Brave New World and in the poems by T. S. Elliot, Philip Larkin, and William B. Yeats, conformity among a population creates dehumanization and destruction throughout the society due to its common themes of identity and desire.
In both Aldous Huxley’s novel and Philip Larkin’s poem “The Spirit Wooed”, both writers embrace the obligation persons in a society feel to oblige to its conformity, destructing one’s identity and personal discrepancies. Rules are set to avoid corruption and public unjustment. That being said, power that falls into the wrong hands can isolate those who disagree with the “ruler”. In Larkin’s poem, he explains one’s natural avoidance of acknowledging the bad in a relationship. He describes how destructive a relationship can be if it is so one sided. This poem accents the dictoral role one may play in a relationship.
It also accents the other’s ignorance not to question or realize the situation he or she is in; this will create long term damage. Larkin establishes the downfall of the relationship once the key elements of a dictators rise, and the fall of the isolated speaker. Yet the speaker does not blame the other, he simply states that “[he or she] launched no argument,/ Yet I obeyed” (Larkin l. 5-6). The neglect of the situation creates great division with those who withhold power to those oblige to the ones with power. This is similar to the reactions of the society in Brave New World, except many of the population will not come to the realization of the obligation of obeying, with an exception to John, who is able to see the dehumanization of the World State.
The lack of acknowledgement to a dire and destructive situation by a society creates a world like the one Bernard and Lenina live in: one that creates dehumanization. The society makes use of a new innovation: soma. Soma is strictly given out to persons of the society to hid or “shelter” them from possible negativity. All of the society resorts to this idea: numbing away the feeling so one can always be happy. Many characters question each other by simply directing them to fix their issue because, “you do look glum! What you need is a gramme of soma” ( Huxley 68). That being said, the people are not able to detect the flaws of the government, like the speaker in the poem.
This inability to speak out and express personal opinion oppresses its citizens. Society’s conformity and settlement of its ruling only makes those in power grow stronger. Because this poem withholds a speaker identifying his true role and identity and because the novel travels along with characters doing the same, it correlates to the classic themes of the century: the search of identification. For the people in Brave New World never seem to locate their true identity, but outcasts like Bernard, John, and the speaker, find their identity to be amazing and worth fighting for. There are not many outcasts, and power derives from numbers. That being said, when Larkin’s speaker is alone in the relationship there are not bystanders helping him acknowledge the corruption of this relationship.
This lack of self identification destroys characters such as John, and ends up creating frustration among readers. This lack of realization is similar to times of World War II, where ignorance killed. Outsiders inability to support those who were targeted resulted in a loss of identification for jews and other outcasts. Hitler’s hope to create a perfect world through the use of dehumanization ended up only creating total chaos. This hope of perfect creates a Utopian society; one that strives to be infallible , but fails miserably and destroys those enduring.
Utopian societies prompt unhealthy amount of conformity; this results in places like World State. Environments where isolation is common allows for this flaw to disrupt the natural flow of a society. Similar to the theme of identification and its role in literature, the role of relationships expands upon popular twentieth century ideals in the works of Aldous Huxley and in William B. Yeats’s poem “Never Give All the Heart”; the concept of long term relationships is both preposterous and illogical at this time. The lack of connection that one feels during a short term relationship is exactly why is is done in such a timely fashion. For love or friendship to genuinely grow, it takes time, effort, and respect.
During this time, authors highlight the lack of respect granted to others in both a relationship stua and a government to individual status. In William B. Yeats’s poem, the speaker is recollecting memories of his prior relationship that has now left him in shambles. He speaks about how blindly he fell in love with this woman, without realizing the horrors that arise through dating and loving another. This poem resembles the warning signs for others who may find themselves falling wholeheartedly in love; he shares with readers, ” They, for all smooth lips can say, / Have given their hearts up to the play” (Yeats l. 9-10).
He empathizes to those who have fallen to the games women play, and with those who can not determine wrong from right. He then comments and praises those who are able to avoid falling in love, or any sort of long term relationship. The idea of avoiding long term and sticking to something more frilly and meaningless, directly correlates to Brave New World. That being said, Yeats will agree that marriage and long lasting erotic encounters must be strictly taboo. Characters such as Bernard Marx finds difficulty and disappointment when he tests the boundaries so foreign from his so called home.
Other character comment on this apparent idea, such as Fanny and Lenina. Their permisism towards is blunt, for the characters feel as though “[one] ought to be careful. It’s such horrible bad form to go on and on like this with one man” (Huxley 41). This sense of disgust is eye opening for just how brainwashed the people of this society have become.They are taught that falling in love, one of today’s most wishful goals, is strictly taboo.
The concept makes them laugh; they find it very comical to become married, and do not even think about becoming a mother or father. While Yeats and Huxley both embody the imperfections of love and try to find “solutions” to love by avoiding all true love, they continue to maintain the classic style of twentieth century poetry by including the themes of desire for pleasure and the opposite sex. This sense of desire not only is noticed by the speaker and author, but it is also accepted. It is devastating that the desire for sex and ecrotic ecounters overpowers, while love and feeling for another is something to laugh about. This prevalent theme not only increases the power of women at the time, but also increases the men’s desire to grow within power themselves.
This undoubtable desire strikes people of the time like nothing before. Sex no longer shows one’s lack of self respect, but during this time it shows just how much he/she value themselves. In both Huxley’s work and in T.S Eliot’s poem”The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”, characters find deep frustration in the conformity of their society, and a hatred of those who conform to the ridiculousness that is required. The lack of self-control, individual obligations, and choice, are all eliminated.
In Eliot’s poem, he describes the life of a man who lives in a large city. This city, in the end, destroys him. This avid critization against the man is solely done due to this societies extravagant, materialistic values. As the poem reads the travel and struggle of a man’s life, he acknowledges his lack of purpose. For he goes by unnoticed, “I do not think that they will sing to me.” (Elliott l.
125). In the end the poem shares that Prufrock ends up committing suicide. This act of horrors only begins to speak how firmly the speaker believes against the views of his society. This similar frustration and isolation is blatantly portrayed through John the Savage in Huxley’s Brave New World. John, having seen two polar opposite worlds, came to realize that the capability to dehumanize and desensitize a human for the sake of a society’s fluidity is ridiculous. John’s frustration too, leads him to suicide.
He speaks of the flaws of his society with fellow outcasts that agree with his ideals. He lives in a world that has “no need for nobility or heroism… the greatest care is taken to prevent [one] from loving any one too much” (Huxley 237). This reasoning perplexes John, a man who has grown up from the love of his mother. He does not understand the lack of feelings the others enjoy not having. When his feelings grow deeper for Lenina, he understands that he must not be so foolish for the two of them are too different of people. This frustration As the character in the poem relates to John in the novel, a common use of modernized literature during this time portrays the profound experiences happening to the average human.
Both works utilize a direct human voice to help develop the characters and emotion more vividly. While many during the time struggle to find themselves within the prior history and the current happenings, the surrounding area can become toxic. For both Prufrock and John, the happenings of their world were too much to withstand. Just as the relationships during this time period possess obscure attributes, in Huxley’s novel and in T. S Eliot’s poem, the ranking of classes and status of the population plays a large role in the identification and desires that arise in the works.
Similar to today’s society, there is a split depending on the wealth one may own, or his or her level of education, yet all classes still supply wiggle room and are accepting; in twentieth century status is everything. The assigned rank of a person is solely stuck to them and offers no wavering and or evolving.In Larkin’s work he describes the suffering lives of those who resemble the fall out and extras of a society. These sort of people entail someone who the public disapproves of, shuns, or silences. In this poem, the themes of isolation and falsifying identities are stated bluntly. It speaks of the opinion of the outcast, and the opinion of the majority.
Larkin believes that despite his worthiness or possible accuracy, without the favor of the majority he must be silenced. In society today, minorities and people who do not fit the status-quo, have battled to fight for their voice. Larkin expands that point beyond race, or gender, but simply just a being: one who is different than the rest. It does not help to multiply the positives in a society, but it ends in “Debating ends forwith, and we/ Divide” (Larkin l. 3-4).
Division that is evident in Larkin’s poem, is also apparent in Brave New World. The strict social classes of Alpha, Beta, Delta, and Epsilons offers now wavering. That is not to mention those who do not fall into any of these social classes: this result in a banishment out of the main hub.Character’s like John the Savage who endures both sceneries understands the stupidity behind “majority rule”. The rejection by the majority of the minorities is degrading.
It creates isolation: a constant theme of poems written in the twentieth century. This modernist poem entails classic elements of the time period such as the endurance or lack thereof, to fight for one’s voice. Literature at this time mocks the strict standings of the “high brows”, “middle brows”, and “low brows” of this time period. In this poem, a young woman by the name of Leda experiences a tragic yet fitting event to the modernized works of the twentieth century: rape. While the poem includes other destruction brought upon from this rape, the act of rape in itself brings destruction.
The raping of another violates one’s identity and one’s self respect. That being said, those who thrust rape upon another, misuse the sentiment behind a sexual encounter. The swan does not protect her and love her, for he “holds her helpless breast upon his breast” (Yeats l. 4). Similarly how rape messes with the importance of sex and desire, in Brave New World, the actions of erotic play and constant sexual intercourse disrupts the flow of a society. By granting each other every desire applicable, the want is lost.
It dehumanizes the value, worth, and self respect of one another. This lack of emotional attachment is detrimental to a society, just as it is to those in Brave New World. Although during this time period women began a step in the right direction of women’s right, the same respect was not equivocate among the genders. Women were not fully and completely equal at this time. That being said, the actions of a male beginning the sexual encounters already undermines the role of a woman.
In a society so desensitized to emotional attachment, the “desires” and “needs” are not justified, for there is not meaning or work behind the goal.