As I have mentioned in past blog posts, for my inquiry I have joined up with Celina to expand upon the utopian society project given in IHub Reads. We wanted to take the original project provided and go more in depth with the questions in the criteria and create our own to answer as well. We are also finding comparisons from history, media and literature to put side by side with our own utopia. We planned on making a model of the design of our utopia as well on Minecraft to show everyone how we envision it would look. Near the beginning of the project, we faced difficulties with being able to connect to minecraft in the same world and make the utopia we desired. We spent the afternoon searching for answers online and in the end came up empty handed, however, Harry was nearby and controls a server everyone uses for pleasure in their free time and at lunch, and offered to set aside some space for us to create it in, thus fixing our problems. We were also worried we might not find adequate comparisons, however after doing research we have found plenty of different examples to use. The only other problem we could imagine is if a computer were to malfunction, making it very difficult to finish, however we have saved our work in dropbox and are using Google docs which is accessible from any computer, thereby eliminating those risks. We have started and passed the half-way mark in many of the areas our project focuses on, and only need to finalize small details on the ideas we have made and finally put a presentation together which we plan to do in the two days we have after the break because everything should be finished by then. We are in my opinion quite close to completing the written work, and Celina and I are going to finish the model over spring break.
Chapters 16 – 18 are jam packed even though it’s only three chapters. Chapter 16 starts with Bernard, John and Helmholtz meeting with Mustapha Mond after John freaked out at the hospital. It is mentioned that Helmholtz and Bernard are going to be sent to islands and John is going to leave to live on his own.
The story ends with John hanging himself from his staircase. The ending was so shocking for me I actually had to do a double-take and read it again, although now looking back on it I don’t see a way Huxley could’ve ended it that would tie up the loose ends better. Henry and Lenina return to their “normal” lives, Helmholtz and Bernard are able to be free from the society they hated on islands (which we don’t know much about), Linda left in her bliss (although I don’t quite agree with it) and John, well John doesn’t have to worry about the life he hated anymore.
As much as I disliked John, I felt bad for him in the last few chapters. He lost his mother, then finally got away from everything he hated about the society he was brought to, but wasn’t able to finally live in peace. He gets settled, and is plagued with people invading his new home like his life is somehow their property. I think eventually he realized he could never really get away from all the things he hated about life, and at this point he may not have been exactly in his right mind after all he had been through in his life which led him to believe he couldn’t go on. I felt sorry for him and the way it turned out, but I also felt relief because he didn’t have to suffer any longer.
So the ending was a little upsetting, but I don’t believe John would’ve ever truly been happy, even with moving away which is why I don’t believe there is a better way Huxley could’ve ended it.
Celina and I have continued to work on our model on minecraft and have gotten pretty far along and just have to put the finishing touches together (the little details). We are going to continue to work on the written portion of the project more throughout the next week especially and elaborate upon what we have already decided on. Below are photos of the minecraft portion so far.
For my second inquiry, I have joined up with Celina to expand upon the Utopian society project outlined in the IHub Reads project document. We are currently building a model of it in Minecraft and at this point have cleared an area large enough to build the city on, and have decided on which materials would be used for different areas (e.g.: the roads are quartz blocks). We have also been discussing the government, economic system, value system and other foundations of the society and need to begin looking at comparisons to other “Utopias” and “Dystopias” used in literature and history.
Below are photos of the area we have cleared in the correct environmental setting for our model and the materials we have decided on:
What I took away the most from these chapters is that John is quite closed-minded. This is shown is several places and it is one of the reasons I don’t really like John.
Linda, being so happy soma is available to her again, overdoses and goes into a coma. This causes john some distress for a few reasons. Firstly, he is worried for his mother. He also is quite distressed by the lack of worry given by the people around him. He finds it quite strange and frustrating that everyone is so calm and accepting of his mother’s condition.
John is already on-edge for this, but then (after having a poor experience with Lenina at the feelies) Bernard throws him a party. He wants to show off the savage he brought home, however John is not in the mood and refuses to socialize. Everyone at the party is profoundly disappointed by this and leaves.
A little later, Helmholtz Watson and John almost have a bonding moment over poetry. They begin discussing the works of Shakespeare and all is going well until Romeo and Juliet comes up and the concept of it is so outrageous for Helmholtz he can’t contain his laughter making John frustrated at his reaction, and creating a rift in their friendship.
Next, Lenina visits John. Lenina, being raised in the Brave New World environment, wanted John to take her, however John wanted to marry her, since he was raised in the savage lands. Lenina came on strong once they reached the apartment, taking off her clothes and practically throwing herself at John, but John was confused and disgusted by her actions and reacted strongly. Lenina locked herself in the bathroom out of fear and before John can do anything to get her out (or hurt her further), the telephone goes and John receives a call about Linda.
Linda passed away from her soma overdoses, and John was deeply distressed over this. When the soma rations arrived at the hospital, he flipped out and started throwing the soma and shoving people around, causing a riot. Eventually police came and subdued everyone with a thick cloud of soma vapor. John was escorted out by the police alongside Helmholtz and Bernard who had rushed over to help when they heard what was going on.
I was very frustrated with John during these chapters. He was never open to the ways of the “civilized” people, and whether they were right or wrong in their way of living is irrelevant to me. He never gave them a chance to show him what life outside the reserve could be like and refused all of what I suppose you could call their customs.
Chapters 6-10 revealed quite a bit. We learned a lot about the so called “savages” and their ways of living. We also met some important characters, John and his mother Linda, who shockingly was raised in the same environment as the other protagonists and was not born but decanted. This leads to the reveal that Linda became pregnant with John and was forced to remain in the Savage Reservation and without all the luxuries she was accommodated to.
The savages also have religion, which is not a part of the “utopian” life. The religion appears to be derived from many different spiritualities we know of. We also see mescal, which appears to be an alcoholic drink Linda uses in place of soma. I personally consider Linda to be a drunk (and I believe that is what the book implied) which did not exactly make her “Mother of the Year” however she did teach John to read which fueled his passion for art and literature.
Bernard brought back Linda and John when he left the reservation, and announced a shocking discovery to the public. The Director was Johns father. The director is not heard from again after that moment, as he fled from embarrassment.
I believe John’s character was an excellent way for Huxley to mend the two environments and show us the large contrast between them as well. John was raised without really being able to belong anywhere. He was to influenced by the “savage” ways of living to belong in the “civilized” world, and because of his mother and unusual (in the eyes of the savages) ancestry, he could not belong on the reservation either. We see the repercussions of this later in the book however I am not going to dive into that quite yet.
For the ISearch project I decided to focus on the Malthusian Belt mentioned in chapter lll which was given to Lenina from Henry. Once it was mentioned I was automatically intrigued. There are many things the belt could be there for in a literary sense. The first of these being a way to transition. Fanny says “Do ask Henry where he got it.” and later when Henry and Lenina meet Lenina brings it up and it is a good way to transition through the chapters.
The belt also represents quite a bit. It is a high fashion item, showing Lenina’s belief that as she is and alpha, she is the best and therefore she deserves the best. This is one example of the people of high castes wearing only the most fashionable clothing and having the most fashionable things. She references her old one as being awful and 2 common mantras known as “ending is better than mending” and “The more stitches the less riches” meaning it is better to get new and better things rather than attempt to put up with or mend old things.
Furthermore, the belt shows many of society’s principle in this “Utopian” world. The name Malthusian belt refers to Thomas Malthus, a 17th-18th century writer who published An Essay on the Principle of Population. This is a theory that (put in simple terms) if left unchecked, the world will be too over-populated to sustain itself as there will not be enough food for everyone. The Malthusian belts in Brave New World are used for women to carry the regulation number of contraceptives. The connection here is that they are used to regulate population growth. You can clearly see the detail and thought Huxley put into his writing and this is simply one of many examples. I also believe that the fact Henry bought Lenina the belt shows the society as well. The people in this society would’ve had to be very comfortable with the way things are around there for it to be acceptable for a man to buy this for a woman. Also the fact that a specific belt made for contraceptives is part of every day wear really amplified the society’s beliefs for me.
I have finished reading Brave New World by Aldous Huxley as I read it over the winter break. For the first post I’m addressing chapters 1-5. The beginning was confusing, however that was because it was setting the story and it was mandatory so the reader would understand the world in which they were being plunged into. I had many questions at first but many of them have been answered through continued reading. I was quite shocked at several things such as the conditioning against books and flowers. Also in chapter 111, the perspectives change quite often and I found it quite difficult to follow. This begs the question why Huxley would’ve written it like this in the first place. Were there advantages to this? Would the impact have been different had he split up the chapter into several different parts (like he does later in the book I might add) and not layered them together but separate?
After quite a bit of editing and showing my story to others for their opinions and editing as well, I final have a final draft 🙂 Here it is for you to read. Enjoy!
Inquiry Short Story Final Draft
So I haven’t updated for a while but that is because I haven’t had a ton of time to work on my story due to the end of the perspective theme. I recently was able to work for quite a while and managed to finish 🙂 I have shown it to several people to receive opinions and the feedback seems quite positive. I am editing and almost ready to show the teacher and hopefully start a new inquiry. I will attach my story in a post as soon as I have officially finished.
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