AP LITERATURE 5
Whena character is said to be conforming on the outward, but questioningin the inside, it means they act contrary to the way they feel aboutthe society’s norms and beliefs. There must be a fundamentalpsychological reason to this unwilling conformity. Authors use thisliterary style in writing to develop the plot, enhance the theme, andbuild a particular character in a novel or a play. Outward conformityand inward questioning occurs in antagonistic settings that do notallow the society to exercise their free will of opinion andassociation. In some cases, it occurs when the beliefs and socialnorms defy the expectations of a section of the society in terms ofadvancement or progress. Brave New World shows that happiness onlyexists when the society’s norms and beliefs are pragmatic to one’sviews and values. Otherwise, people are likely to pretend that theyare happy through conformist strategies especially if there is nospace for dissenting views.
InBrave New World, a novel by Aldous Huxley, Bernard Marx is thecharacter that faces the difficulty of agreeing with much thathappens around him. Although Marx behaves in a manner that conformsto the future he contemplates, he also questions the way influentialpeople determine the affairs of the world. Huxley intends to useBernard Marx’s internal battle with the outside to explain thereality that the world faces in the “New World”. There seems tobe a wide gap between the happiness that the society expects from the“New World” and the pragmatic conditions that it presents. Marxis an outsider that tries to live a normal life like the rest in hissociety. He tries hard to conform because it would take him a lot ofbraveness and aptitude to stage a protest on all that he has acontrary opinion. There is no space for dissent and all he can do isconform to everything and wait for the day when fate will resolve theskepticism in his heart.
Bernarddoes a lot to conform outwardly. He does so through his usual work.Marx tries hard to teach youths about some things in his society thathe does agree with. On the hand, many that practice the dominantculture of his society neither recognize nor contemplate thepossibility of dissent from him(Huxley, 2007).The strangest aspect of Marx’s society is the way people viewexpression of disagreement. They consider it alien and anyone whodoes so would attract the wrath of conformists.
Atfirst, Marx was treated with contempt as an outsider regardless ofbeing one of the highest castes. Those who dislike him consider himan inferior individual who does not deserve dignified treatment. Itdemeans him leading to inferiority complex and contempt to thegovernment. It also affects his attitude so much that he looks forways to conform. He later finds solace in popularity. John, a friendwho also considered a “savage”, helps Marx to rise to popularity.Through his popularity he gets a platform to conform to societaldecadence by engaging in promiscuity. Ironically, Marx was a criticof the World State Society for accepting and endorsing acts thatencouraged a decadent society. On the outside it seems likepopularity and fame were the answers to Marx’s unhappiness.Unfortunately, they could not accord the happiness he always yearnsfor because happiness cannot exist in a society where he disagreeswith everything that happens. The happiness that Marx exhibits onlyconceals the truth about the ills of the World State Society.
InA Society where a few people have a different opinion from whateverybody agrees, it is difficult to stand up for one’s opinionespecially when they are a pariah. In the wake of endlessunhappiness, Marx practices “orgy-porgy” so that he can be happy.Apparently, it is the only way to fit in this society and looknormal. This does not bear fruit as he remains discontented abouteverything. He continues to be unhappy amid his outward struggles.His internal thoughts are a sign of something else in the society. Hebecomes overwhelmed and starts acting strangely by sitting lone toseek some solitude with himself. Being alone enables him to meditateabout his internal struggles. It is strange because Marx has thedemeanor of World State Citizen. At this point, being alone is moreprecious than spending time with others. He sees acting as a loneranger to be an honest way of portraying his real self becauseengaging in actions is superficial and unsatisfying. It is evidentfrom Marx’s behavior that silence may really mean agreement. Peoplemay seem to agree with everything on the outward but they actuallydisagree. Perhaps, people will come to learn of many people’sdissenting thoughts when Marx’s society will introduce democracythrough freedom of expression.
BraveNew World shows that happiness only exists when the society’s normsand beliefs are pragmatic to one’s views and values. Otherwise,people are likely to pretend that they are happy through conformiststrategies especially if there is no space for dissenting views.Brave New World incredibly builds this theme through thecharacterization of Bernard Marx. The reader realizes the value offreedom of speech. It is also evident that conformist tendencies aredangerous because they compel one to lower their integrity bar. LikeMarx, one is forced to engage in acts that are contrary to one’svalues because failure to do so may attract criticism and contempt.
Huxley,A. (2007). Bravenew world.Ernst Klett Sprachen.