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Lack of Individuality in Huxley's Brave New World

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“Imagine you live in a country where everyone looks exactly the same as you. Brave new world is a sci-fictional novel in which Aldous Huxley’s futuristic country”

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Distopya believes everyone should be identical to insure stability and community. No one has their individual identity, everyone is a part of a distinct group in community which they believe to be their identity. To insure a perfect world, everyone is technologically produced from one gamete which is divided into 96 identical Bokanovsky twins.

Aldous Huxley however believes loss to individual identity or humanity to be flaw in the system. A world without individual identity or humanity is bound to break. He shows individual identity to be an important concept to obtain a perfect society. Aldous Huxley conveys this message through the use of character, setting and stylistic devices. Aldous Huxley uses the majority of the main characters as rebel against the world state to gain their own individual identity.

Bernard Marx plays the role of the protagonist in the novel. From start Huxley introduces us to the Bokanovsky process which is used to obtain 96 identical kids from one gamete. “One egg, one embryo, one adult-normality. But a Bokanovskified egg will bud, will proliferate, will divide. From eight to ninety-six buds, and every bud will grow into a perfectly formed embryo, and every embryo into a full-sized adult. Making ninety-six human beings grow where only one grew before. Progress“ (chapter 1. Paragraph 12). This quote highlights the fact that each member of the world state is identical to 95 other members. In this manner each member of the society lacks their individual identity.

World state divides these kids into 5 different categories; Alphas, Betas, Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons. Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons are faceless drones who serve the two upper class Betas and Alphas. Only one adult per egg is produced for Alpha and Beta group. Alphas preserve knowledge and are more intelligent than the other members of the community. Betas are less intelligent compared to Alphas but are able to operate incredible machines. Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons are produced in masses and carefully poisoned with alcohol making them capable of working but not individual thought. Although Betas and Alphas are capable of thinking they are conditioned to lack individuality. Huxley decides to use Bernard as his protagonist because he has the ability to think belonging to the alpha category. Bernard sometimes feels as an individual because he is smaller than other alpha member. He is rumored to be in such way due to manufacturing defect at the time of birth in which he was poisoned by alcohol. “They say somebody made a mistake when he was still in the bottle-thought he was a Gamma and put alcohol into his blood surrogate.

That’s why he’s so stunted” on page 46. Lenina and John both act as foil characters to highlight this theme of individual identity. Lenina’s unknown acts of rebellion and John’s moral ideologies and particular choice of lifestyle show the importance of the natural instincts which the World State desperately desires to eliminate. The only difference between Lenina and John is Lenina shows to be rebellion but she doesn’t consciously attempt to differentiate herself as an individual from the conditioned masses, whereas John is the representation of solitary individualism. The reason to why Lenina is not shown to have faced any consequences is because she shows unintentional displays of individuality are by the World State due to her support and association with the civilization. The fates of John and Lenina demonstrate that despite the ease with which the World State is able to homogenize its society, individuality, even when limited, is still strong enough to seriously threaten the fragile stability of the World State’s society. Bernard feels lonely and this is what causes him to go to the savage reservation. Bernard also feels different when speaking to Helmholtz, his closest friend that shares equal frustration with society. Bernard again feels lonely when Helmholtz judges him for not showing pride. Unlike Bernard, Helmholtz has everything one can desire living in the society yet he is shown to be frustrated of this society. Helmholtz is in search of something that can give him the meaning in life which relates to individuality. Huxley’s uses this character Helmholtz Watson to act as a foil to Bernard Marx since he is not fully developed character, although Helmholtz and Bernard share the common idea of individuality.

The foil between the two characters is that Bernard is unfit and week for the position that he was given an Alpha plus whereas Helmholtz is a strong, intelligent and socially accepted person who feels to be too strong for his position and feels that the culture he lives in his suppressing him. This is revealed on page 67 when Helmholtz says to Bernard “did you ever feel as though you have something inside you that was only waiting for the right chance to come out”. In this manner, although Helmholtz is shown to have qualities that a conditioned Alpha plus would have such as enjoying outdoor sports, he is still in search of an individual identity. This is the main reason to why he easily gets connected to John as a friend. Huxley also uses Helmholtz as a foil to highlight the inner personality of John. Huxley shows a culture gap between Helmholtz and John due different places they were raised in. The foil between these 2 characters is that John believes in the concept of love, parents and marriage since he is from the savage reservation, while Helmholtz believes these things to be useless due to the culture he was defined and conditioned to believe. This foil is shown when Helmholtz laughs at the play Romeo and Juliet and the concepts of marriage and love in page 184 chapter 12 of brave new world. Helmholtz is seeking for individual identity but doesn’t acknowledge the feeling that goes with it due to the condition he was raised in. Huxley mainly spreads his intended message of individuality through John since he is an example of cultural difference between both the World State and the Savage Reservation. John is shown to be rejected by both World State and savage reservation due to his differences. The reason why John is rejected is because, unlike others, he is not conditioned like everyone else to have a place in society and is not seen as uncivilized coming from a society where history, monogamy and family are still practiced. {John is out casted by the other savages because his mother Linda came from the civilized world and still performed certain practices that she was conditioned to believe were acceptable.} John father himself the DHC had a family. In this way Huxley shows the DHC to have individual identity since he also owed a family. John again shows individuality when he rejects to sleep with Lenina.

John’s only knowledge came from the stories his mother told him about the World State and a book on Shakespeare he picked up when he was young. John’s separation between both societies demonstrates him to be the ultimate outsider. Huxley uses this as a metaphor to compare John to a Utopian society and what its outcome would be. In the end of the novel, John can’t cope with civilized society and commits suicide. Huxley is saying that a utopian society without individuality and humanization is the outcome of a broken society.

Along with characters, Huxley also uses several stylistic devices to highlight his message of individuality being an important concept to gain a livable society. Huxley uses 3rd person omnipresent point of view to reveal the thoughts of each character. He uses the thoughts of character to help us understand the dystopian point of view as well help compare this to the savage reservation point of view. In this way he is able to highlight the difference in characters who have or are in search of individual identity such as John, Bernard and Helmholtz and characters who lack individuality like Lenina along with other members of World State. Using this perspective, Huxley is able to highlight the idea that lack of identity will just make you a puppet of someone who is in the higher authority. “We also socialize feature human beings, as Alphas or Epsilons as feature swedge workers or feature. He was going to say feature world controllers but correcting himself said feature director of hatred.” In this way Huxley highlights the thoughts of D.H.C who just believes members of the World State who completely lack identity to be a type of puppet who could be controlled by D.H.Cs and other higher authorities.

Huxley also uses this point of view to highlight the thoughts of Bernard, Helmholtz and John at times in which they have thoughts regarding individuality. One example of this is shown when Bernad takes Lenina in a helicopter to show her an river. This is where he reveals the idea of himself feeling as an individual looking at the ocean. “But in spite of this knowledge, Bernard continued perversely to nourish a secret grievance against the savage”. In this way, Huxley uses the ocean as a symbol of individuality. Huxley also uses drugs like Soma as a symbol to the prevention of individualism or humanity. Soma is drug which relieves the user from experiencing the stressful negative effects of conflicts that the society cannot prevent. Stress, pain, grief, disappointment, humiliation are feelings that separate an individual form the society. To insure complete prevention of individualism, the world state released soma to cure all social conflicts. Members of the world state swallow a couple of tablets of soma which puts them in an artificial illusion of happiness. In this way drugs like soma solve all conflicts the citizens of world state might encounter. Looking at the benefits of soma, the World State encourages soma as a means of social control. The time when John rebels against world state and throws away soma as well plea’s to the Deltas to throw away their soma, he reveals the idea that drugs like soma prevent one from gaining an individual identity. This can also be shown at the end when the effects of soma ware off and John commits suicide. From this, Huxley suggest that even in present drugs like soma put one into illusions and prevent one from gaining independence. Huxley also suggest that feelings like Stress, pain, grief, disappointment, humiliation help one realise one’s individual identity because these are the feeling which isolate one from the society.

A collection of Shakespeare’s work is also shown to be symbolic for individuality. Throughout the novel, John speaks a lot about Romeo and Juliet. He uses the story of Romeo and Juliet to understand the moral concept of love as well as individuality. In the novel Romeo and Juliet, there is a high significance of identity. Both Montague and Capulet have their individual separate identity. The whole play of Romeo and Juliet is related to individual identity. Thus using Shakespeare’s work, Huxley associates the John with the theme of humanity and feelings associated with it such as love and anger. Huxley mostly follows a chronological order. The only time when Huxley uses flashbacks is when DHC is telling his story and when John shares his story for beating himself.

Huxley uses DHC’s story as flashback to present a foreshadow in the novel. This is the time when DHC mentioned losing Linda at the savage reservation. Later on in the novel we as a reader discover that Linda has a child making DHC into father. In this way Huxley successfully shows DHC himself to have a family, leading to an individual identity.

Huxley again uses flashback at the time John is sharing his feeling to why he behaves in such a way. At this time, flashback is used as a method of character development. Huxley uses this to help reader better understand John’s character and the reasoning to his individuality. Ford is also used as a symbol because this was the time in which ford created the assembly line. Thus he used technology to help humans. This is why ford was shown to be the creator of World state. Animal imagery was also used when foster says “any cow can merely hatch out of the embryos” or “ the delta children staring at Linda with the stupid curiosity of animals”. In this way Huxley uses irony comparing animals to citizens of World State showing that member of world state are becoming more and more like animals who lack individual identity and can be used like we use animals like cows for milk.

Huxley greatly uses settings to convey his message of humanity and individually. Firsty Huxley uses the dystopian society to show how a world without humanity and individuality is like. Dystopian society is shown to be a happy dehumanizing society which lacks diseases, sickness and old age. This is a society which is controlled by the government and lacks family. This is a place in which the high class is normally developed whereas the low class is produced in bundles form Bokanovsky process. The low class is poised with alcohol and there is oxygen desperation. This is where humans are divided into 5 categories and are conditioned to like their work. Everyone in this world is happy with the help of soma and human conditioning. In this way each member lack their own individuality and rather is an identity of a group. “When you real, the community reels”. In this way Huxley shows the Dystopian society to be an example of dehumanised colony. When John enters this society, everyone sees him as an animal due to identity differences.

Huxley shows to not fit into the Dystopian society since he symbolises a person with humanity and individuality. When John comes to the Dystopian society he from start, is unable to handle the inhumanity of the citizens. This can be shown when John rejects Lenina for coming close to her. He proposes Lenina but the fact that Lienina just wants to sleep with him is what makes him angry finding the world state citizens lacking humanity who are just like animal, and are only happy with the help of soma. This is also shown when John peals the betas to throw away soma. In this manner, Huxley shows the flaw in the dystopian world and the fact the humanity is mandatory to get a livable society.

By using Bernad, to want freedom, Huxley shows that even for some members living in the Dystopian society, individuality is shown to be admirable. By showing Bernard as a person who goes against the Dystopian society even though he was born and conditioned in the dystopian society, he seeks for individuality thus showing a flow in the dystopian society. Bernard feels as an individual at times due to his height since members of the dystopian society don’t fully accept bernard.

Helmholtz is also shown to seek individuality. This can be shown when he talks about something from inside he was trying to put into words. When he tries to do this, he come closer to the thought of individuality and then gets caught by the world state.

The fact that both Bernard and Helmholtz don’t fit with the society reveals the fact that society without individuality and humanity is not a perfect society. The fact that these two members of the society were sent to Iceland, reveals the idea that a society with identity and humanity is bound to break. The savage reservation on the other hand is a place where humanity still exists. There is a place where families are present and one is free to feel as an individual. When Bernard and Lenina come to this place, Bernard feel more like an individual. Lenina however is perfect Beta belonging to the Dystopian society. The savage reservation is shown to be the symbolic of individualism. When Lenina enter this society, she feels disgusted looking at pregnant females. The part when John is being beaten, Lienina cries and asks to stop the beatings. In this time, Lienina lacks soma. The effects of somma are off. Crying for help for someone else reveals Lienina’s humanity. From this, Huxley shows that soma is a drug which prevents one from accepting this humanity. The fact that Lienina spends most of her time resting after returning from the savage reservation, Huxley shows that humans who are conditioned in the dystopian society lack such individuality and humanity. Even when put in a place where humanity and individuality exists, they can cope with these themes. Thus the author shows the dystopian society lacking individuality.

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The story finally ends with defeat of individuality and humanity form the death of john. Aldous Huxley at the end shows lack individual identity or humanity to be flaw in any civilization. A civilization without identity only leads to disaster. Huxely presents this theme with the use of characters, settings and stylistic devices.


  1. Huxley, A. (2007). Brave New World (1932). Reading Fiction, Opening the Text, 119. (
  2. Gheran, N. L. (2012). Fracturing the Monstrous Geography of George Orwell’s 1984 and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World–Eroticism, Dissidence and Individualism. Studia Universitatis Babes-Bolyai-Philologia, 57(4), 91-99. (
  3. Mohammadi, A. The Culture Industry And Loss Of Individuality In Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. ADVANCES IN SOCIAL SCIENCES, 7. (
  4. Spierings, B., & Van Houtum, H. (2008). The brave new world of the post-society: The mass-production of the individual consumer and the emergence of template cities. European Planning Studies, 16(7), 899-909. (
  5. Zhamurashvili, L. (2014). Dehumanized Society in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. Humanities and Social Sciences Review, 3(2), 139-154. (

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