Williams contends that dystopian fiction is related to a ‘form of feeling’1 that is connected to
‘contemporary society’2. He notes that ‘the form
of feeling which dominates this putropian thinking is, basically, that of the
isolated intellectual, and of ‘the masses’ who are at best brutish, at worst
brutal’3. This means for Williams
although dystopias offer warnings of the future, they also offer warning
against the adequacy of certain types of contemporary feeling which are rapidly
becoming orthodox. In this case dystopias offer a warning of eradicating
individualism, believing that to think, feel, or even speak of people in terms of
‘masses’ is to make the burning of the books and the destroying of the cities
just that much more possible. In the novel, technology works to dehumanize
man in the interests of ‘community, identity and stability’ the state motto.
The citizens of the World State see the purpose of life as just maintenance of
well-being, not as ‘some intensification and refining of consciousness, some
enlargement of knowledge’4. There are no feelings, no
emotions or human characteristics. This implies that technological advances are
creating a decline in humanity as they are able to make everyone the same. The
Director and students act as an index to show how far humanity has fallen,
unlike the position of the reader, they are not shocked or horrified at the hatchery
center for them it is ideally right. George Claeys also supports Williams
notion on the collectivist problem noting, ‘for the early dystopian writers,
utopian thinking, including utopian fiction, was sometimes included as part of
this set of problems: … in an age also characterized by growing individualism,
some saw the more repressive and puritanical attributes of the older utopian
tradition as part of the problem rather than of the solution’5. With this in mind it is
important to note that scholarly literature on dystopias in general, also ‘constitutes
a critique of existing social conditions’6 and Huxley is therefore
using his novel to also show dissent for the destruction technology has caused
to humanity. Thus, for Claeys, in his recent Dystopia: A Natural History (2016), the future will be worse than the
present, or dystopian if we do not learn how to check a modern set of problems:
for example, ‘how to control industrialisation, widespread poverty, the
concentration of wealth, and an increasing tendency towards collectivist
solutions to these problems’.7 This posits the idea that
technology should belong to us and we shouldn’t be changed or confined by it,
as the texts shows how severely this can happen.
1 Williams, p.358.
2 Williams, p. 358.
3 Williams, p. 358.
4 Huxley, p. 155.
5 George Claeys, p.
6 Bernard Bergonzi, Wartime and Aftermath, (Oxford: 1993),
7 George Claeys, p.