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General Discussion => Books 'n Readin' => Topic started by: msmpls on September 07, 2007, 07:43:33 AM

Title: Brave New World and Utopian literature
Post by: msmpls on September 07, 2007, 07:43:33 AM
I'm taking an utopian literature class this semester and we are using Brave New World by Aldous Huxley as our main text. I've spoken to several students in the class during group discussions and I can tell that most of them really have no idea what the book is about or its significance in regard to the present.

I finished the book before the second class meeting and now I want to get started on the first research paper. I've started brainstorming a few possibilities for the direction I want to go but I'd like some feedback from some real nerds (no offense) because my classmates are pretty much no help.

Right now, my tentative thesis is: "the methods of social control used in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World have been practiced intentionally and unintentionally in modern applications".

Does anyone have suggestions for other theses or feedback on what I have already? 
Title: Re: Brave New World and Utopian literature
Post by: Tripe on September 07, 2007, 08:05:24 AM
Not bad. And from an American perspective (what with the love of "Liberty" as a concept and everything) a good one to start with.

How about "contrary to its name Utopian fiction is often fundermentally less optimistic about humanity than the dystopian opposite"
Title: Re: Brave New World and Utopian literature
Post by: the long undertow on September 07, 2007, 08:43:53 AM
Check out a book called Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman.  It deals with the idea that television and it's properties as a communicative medium have reduced our ability and desire for public discourse and serious thought--essentially hastening the dumbing down of society, whereupon we willingly (or blindly) surrender our personal freedoms in exchange for continued entertainment.
Title: Re: Brave New World and Utopian literature
Post by: msmpls on September 07, 2007, 08:53:34 AM
sounds like a must-read. I'll definitely check it out...I just put it on hold at the library.
Title: Re: Brave New World and Utopian literature
Post by: Minnesota on September 07, 2007, 09:57:58 AM
Gulliver's Travels is the best Utopian book in my opinion. Sounds like an interesting class msmlps, are you an english major?
Title: Re: Brave New World and Utopian literature
Post by: msmpls on September 07, 2007, 10:03:49 AM
Gulliver's Travels is the best Utopian book in my opinion. Sounds like an interesting class msmlps, are you an english major?
Nope, I'm an education major. The program is called Teaching Communication Arts and Literature in Secondary Education.
Title: Re: Brave New World and Utopian literature
Post by: bettertomorrowamy on September 07, 2007, 12:20:30 PM
Maybe George Lucas can help you with his THX 1138.
Title: Re: Brave New World and Utopian literature
Post by: pyro on September 07, 2007, 12:28:01 PM
In 12th grade I wrote an essay about the same thing and last year I wrote an essay saying that Huxley was a cynical prick... I'll have to see if I still have them and what I used, if I still the bibliographies there'll be a lot of sources to use from them
Title: Re: Brave New World and Utopian literature
Post by: AmandaGal on September 08, 2007, 11:53:38 AM
If I called anyone a prick in high school, I would have failed  ;)

Sounds like a good start though, msmpls.
Title: Re: Brave New World and Utopian literature
Post by: Junkyard on September 16, 2007, 04:52:21 AM
I took a Sci-Fi and Utopian Lit class myself, with Brave New World on the list.
Your thesis sounds good, actually. Though one subject that caused a lot of discussion was the question of whether that was technically a Utopia or a Distopia.
Title: Re: Brave New World and Utopian literature
Post by: anais.jude on September 24, 2007, 06:11:22 AM
it seems like all those books are actually about dystopia's. It seems to me that if any of the books were about actual Utopia's they would be very boring:
Chapter 1
Today I woke up and life was perfect.
The End
Anyway, What other books are on the syllabus? I also took a Utopian lit class, but it was eastern european based since I took it in Prague.
Title: Re: Brave New World and Utopian literature
Post by: msmpls on October 04, 2007, 11:33:00 AM
So I finished my outline this morning and here's what I've got for a thesis:

The practices of hypnopaedia, neo-Pavlovian conditioning, and social manipulation are essential, effective, and enduring methods of social control in Huxley's Brave New World. These concepts have been employed, whether intentionally or unintentionally, to achieve a similar end in modern American culture.

I've broken down the paragraphs to highlight the how's, why's, and so what's of these three methods in both BNW and modern American culture using examples from economics and education.

Whadaya think folks?

/nerd on!
Title: Re: Brave New World and Utopian literature
Post by: Tripe on October 04, 2007, 12:39:51 PM
Not bad though how common is hyponpaedia? I mean there are tapes you can get and all but it seems rather peripheral compared to the other two.
Title: Re: Brave New World and Utopian literature
Post by: Minnesota on October 04, 2007, 12:48:07 PM
Is it just me or did you make up the word "hypnopaedia"? granted its a cool way to say hypnotism, but use it in another sentence ;)


edit: I just did a google search... turns out it is a real word... however it was invented by the author of BNW. lol what a silly word to invent.
Title: Re: Brave New World and Utopian literature
Post by: Tripe on October 04, 2007, 01:02:23 PM
Is it just me or did you make up the word "hypnopaedia"? granted its a cool way to say hypnotism, but use it in another sentence ;)


edit: I just did a google search... turns out it is a real word... however it was invented by the author of BNW. lol what a silly word to invent.

But it doesn't mean hypnotism it just has the same root word, and in fact it's using it more correctly than Hypnotism does. It means sleep (hypnos) education (pedia)

Though like I said, aside from some language courses and the like that you can buy in the back of Popular Mechanics, is it really that significant a factor in society?
Title: Re: Brave New World and Utopian literature
Post by: anais.jude on October 04, 2007, 04:42:50 PM
Quote
The practices of hypnopaedia, neo-Pavlovian conditioning, and social manipulation are essential, effective, and enduring methods of social control in Huxley's Brave New World. These concepts have been employed, whether intentionally or unintentionally, to achieve a similar end in modern American culture.

Very good thesi; however, (and this is from an English Graduate Student talking) "These concepts have been employed" is passive voice. Who is employing these concepts? They need to be the subject of the sentance.
Excellant comma use to!  :D
i am such a nerd