The two books “Brave New World” and “1984” have both been credited for being a thought starter for many people. As “Brave New World” was written first, it is only fair to say that it was this book that influenced and inspired Georg Orwell to write 1984 (even though he says himself that “Brave New World” hadn’t that large impact on his book). This essay will then look at the book “Brave New World” and the movie “1984” (based on the book “1984”), we will look at similarities and differences between them both and then see how much “Brave New World” has influenced “1984”.
To start off, this essay will look at the main theme in both books. They both shares the “world dictatorship”-theme, there are however some differences between these: In “Brave New World” we get a look on how the society really work and how the world is divided. It comes clear in the book that there is an absolute dictatorship that is common to all the parts of our world. In “1984” however, there are some differences: First of all, we do not really know what anything of what is happening around the world. What we do get out is that the world is divided into three: Oceania, East-Asia and Eurasia. There are apparently always wars between these and there are always two against one, it comes clear in the film however that the war might not be as real as the state wants people to think. All in all we do not really know what is happening around the world, so there is no evidence that states that there is a total dictatorship all over the world, if there actually is a world divided into three, or if there is something completely else going on.
As there are two completely different states in the books with two different views on how a society should be organized, you suddenly get two very different standards of living. In “Brave New World” the society is divided into different classes: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and Epsilon. Alphas are the leading class and are on the top, Epsilons are on the bottom. People’s access to literature, knowledge, different goods etc. is decided then depending on a person’s class (cannot have Epsilons running around knowing stuff you know).Because of conditioning (which is the way children are raised in “Brave New World”) they do not oppose this class system, but praise it (even the Epsilons). When we then look over once again at the situation in “1984” we see something completely different: Instead of dividing the society, they tend more to gather the society into one class (and not in the positive way). They try to push all the people down to the proletariat, and to make everyone live on the minimum. This gives the consequence that everyone ends up in utterly poverty, removing luxury goods and leaves the general living standard at a low level. There are of course those with privileges that guarantee them a higher standard than from the rest, we do not get any idea of how many these are.
The economic system in both books seems to be fairly similar: In both books each worker gets some money for the work they are doing. In “Brave New World” there is a command economic system, and as Oceania is a dictatorship in “1984” it would be logical if it were the same there. In “Brave New World” the citizens are encouraged to consume and buy stuff, and they are conditioned to buy new things rather than repair the old. This is very contradicting as the state owns everything, but still makes the people buy things. In “1984” there is a rationing system; this is however very insufficient and slow so people do often not get what they need. The workers do get some salary, and there are some shops where they can buy trinkets if they want to.
There is something that strikes as common in both books, and that is that they both seem to like helicopters. In both cases, helicopters are used as a mean of transport. In “Brave New World” it is only the higher classes who are allowed to use them (Alphas and Betas) while in “1984” only the state (such as police and military) are allowed to use helicopters. As you can see now, not everybody has access to this machine: And they who do not, have to take to their feet and walk.
If we start looking at the religious parts in both books, they do not share the same views. In “1984” there is no religion at all, they are only told that “Big Brother” is the person to follow and that there are no others (no God, no other person and no other object). In “Brave New World” however, there is one type of religion: Fordism. The religion in “Brave New World” is not really something conservative and strict (like Catholic Christianity); it is more another way for the state to keep the masses happy and out of solitude and trouble. Even though there is a religion, it is not much focused on in the book and is not really talked much about among the citizens.
One thing that the state in both books have managed to do, is that they have urbanized the population. There is no longer anyone living out in the rural areas, and no one works on farms or in the woods gathering resources to the masses. In “1984” they have managed this through war and economic pressure. There is no longer any need for farmers, so to be able to get the rations needed they have to move to cities to work in factories. There was also a war that most probably destroyed most of the infrastructure in the rural areas, and since no one has any money; they have to move into the cities (where there is still some places left to live). In “Brave New World” the state managed this through conditioning. They conditioned the people to hate nature, and that a walk in the forest is something one just does not do. Since everybody is living in the cities now, both states can more easily manage and keep control of the population. This also boosts the factories and production as there are more people to join the workforce.
The last point to be brought up is the military situation in both books. In “Brave New World” the state has completely de-militarized the world, as there is no more need for a military protection. There is also no need for lethal weapons or any heavy armored police as the one “riot” that was in the book was calmed down with drugs and subliminal messages. “1984” is another story: Here the state suppresses everyone with physical violence, torture and threats. There is also an ongoing war, but one understands that there is something suspicious about this war and it turns out to be more a “war” than an actual war. The state has a riot police and most police officers are heavily armed so that they may take out any citizens when they feel that they have to.
The themes in “1984” and “Brave New World” are both very common. Apart from a few differences one can see that the underlying scene is quite similar in both books: The grim future where our freedom has been taken away and a one-state party is controlling us. Even though the theme is similar, the author of this essay would say that they are two completely different books and have not read both books if you have read one of them. So if you as a reader find these interesting: Read both of them!