The novels Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury are both dystopias, but they are both very different ones with the same ideology behind them. In Brave New World, the World State is run by ten educated world controllers (one of them being Mustapha Mond) and the citizens are all a part of a caste. The negative emotions and history are all eliminated from the world, and the citizens are constantly reminded that they are safe from any harm in order to keep them happy and distracted with activities that would usually be shamed in our society today.
Similarly, In Fahrenheit 451, the government attempts to keep their citizens happy with jobs, constant T. V. watching and other entertainment. Books are not allowed in this society, so the firefighters burn any books that contain deep philosophical content, Beatty being the captain of the firefighters, and the main character Montag works under him. Both societies attempt to keep their citizens happy and contain similarities such as the reassurance of the government’s success and hypocrisy of a controlling character, although in both books, the designated space for those who are not a part of the society is different.
In both books, the government shows their citizens that they are a succeeding society. The reservation from Brave New World serves to be an example to its society’s residents that they are not living like savages, instead they are an organized and powerful administration and better than the savages. When Bernard and Lenina are travelling to the Reservation, their pilot mentions that the savages will “never learn’… and laughed as though he has scored a personal triumph over the electrocutes animals. ” (Huxley, 105).
The citizens of The World State laugh at the idea of living free because if left at the reservation you will turn wild, and think of the savages as well… Savages. By this, they reassure themselves that they don’t act wild and unhygienic, and their government has laws and conditions that make them more organized which makes them better. This is important for the government to do, because if the citizens figure out ethics and why their way of living is immoral, they would need an example to turn to, to show how their government is successful by eliminating the ethics.
In Fahrenheit 451, the control of the government uses to reassure their achievements is done through media. As Montag and the book people watch the news, one of the book people says that the news is “faking. You threw them off at the river. They can’t admit it. They know they can hold their audience only so long… they’ll catch Montag in the next five minutes! ” (Bradbury, 141) and the news proceeded to catch a someone fake without showing his face, and caught him calling him Montag. They do this so the citizens know that the government is winning, even if this means showing the citizens fake information.
They show the people about them winning wars and that they’re rounding up all the “bad” people to prove that the nation is safe. While this is done differently, in both societies it serves the same purpose and is done with the same intentions, to show their citizens that they are a successful government and to keep the support of the citizens. In the midst of these clueless societies, there has to be at least one who knows how to control a population by obtaining knowledge that would be rebellious to have as normal citizen.
Mustapha Mond became a leader “By choosing to serve happiness. Other people’s—not mine. It’s lucky,” (Huxley, 229). Mustapha Mond sees it as a sacrifice to read and know about things and comprehend them, and as a leader he feels that knowledge that makes one feel emotions more than happiness will lead to deep thinking and eventually sadness and perhaps even rebellion. By learning this knowledge, he assures the mission of the world state and is a prime example to his citizen that thinking deeply ill just lead to unnecessary stress that they wouldn’t need in their life and can get rid of by getting high instead. He reads his books to get a better understanding of why his society opposes it and urges the society under his control to remain the way they are and prevent anything that may spark philosophical thinking. In Fahrenheit 451, Captain Beatty, while being under control of a much smaller group, ends up reading for the same reason- to oppose theoretical thinking.
Beatty tries to enforce onto Montag later in the book when he is caught with books that, “What traitor’s books can be! You think they’re backing you up, and then they turn on you. ” (Bradbury, 104). Beatty chooses to agree with the way society works, even when he has read and had comprehended the books. He tries to keep the peace within the community he is in charge of by making sure all of them don’t read the books and end up with philosophical thinking which will lead to rebellion, like how Montag ended up after stealing and reading a book.
Both leaders from both books keep their communities away from reading by using negative feelings to prove that not reading books will protect the people and keep them away from “unhealthy feelings”, and both have read books to prove to society that it doesn’t feel good and provide themselves as an example to support their pro-hedonist leadership. In Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451, there are many people who choose not to be a part of society, and both societies deal with it very differently.
In BNW, the people who don’t conform to society are sent to another place where they can do what they want freely, vs. in F451, the person who ends up not being killed by the government ends up joining a group of people in the woods that memorize books and are always on the run. In Brave New World, when Bernard is being sent to the islands, Mustapha Mond explains to Helmholtz that “[Bernard’s] punishment is really a reward… he’s being sent to a place where he’ll meet the most interesting set of men and women to be found anywhere in the world. ” (Huxley, 227).
Instead of killing or arresting people who don’t adapt to the society around them, they instead send them to an island where there are more people just like them who think with more individuality. This is a somewhat more humane way of dealing with the problem rather than a governmental punishment, although it is still referred to as a punishment. This is very different from the ideas seen in Fahrenheit 451. Comparatively, In F451, the people who have shown individuality or kept books have been on a watch list, arrested, burned along with their books or successfully ran away.
These people who have ran away end up in the wild in a group of well-educated people who have memorized books. According to them being on the run meant that “[they] all made the right kind of mistake, or [they] wouldn’t be here” (Bradbury, 143). With this group, they try to preserve books, which is a very rebellious act and try to stay away from governmental enforcement and keep others who are like them safe. This is not an assigned punishment, nor is it a punishment but it’s the place where the outcasts end up.
The big difference between both of these books was that in Brave New World, the more individually thinking people were understood and had a place especially designated for them by the government, but in Fahrenheit 451, the government tries to eliminate any “rebellious” people and does not have a designated place for them. It’s a clear difference that serves the same dystopian element of having a space for outcasts. These two books are very similar to each other and share many elements.
The idea of showing citizens only certain news to assure them of the nation’s success is the trait of any controlling government. They don’t want any riots to rise because the system doesn’t work properly and that the government is doing a terrible job and controlling them. The Leaders have of these societies have to think with more individuality but still support the system of the government. This is critical so the society doesn’t fall apart but the leading figure understands why the system is made a certain way.
Ever society isn’t ever perfect and it may not ever be, meaning there are many rebellious people out there in every type of a society, and these rebels also need a special place for themselves. This is also important in dystopias because dystopias revolve around the fact that the government will have flaws and people with flaws, so they also need a place where these people with flaws gather and meet. All of these dystopian elements are exhibited in Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451 very clearly, even though some of them may not seem similar at first.
All of this leads up to the society’s goal of keeping people happy. This is still relevant today because it raises the questions of whether after world peace would there even be peace? Will the world always be at war? Will people always have some sort of oppression and whether that’s all just in human nature. So in the end it’s all up to a world with total control without any unhappiness but also no individuality or a world with individuality but constant disagreements and war within people and which one any individual prefers.