Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Quick Thoughts - Chapters 6 & 7

This will be a short and sweet entry. Not that I have anything better to get to, but I found as I was reading these next few chapters I found a couple lines I particularly liked and I'd like to just talk about those. Plus I just hand wrote a bunch of tips for an unrelated project and I forgot how much writing things out with a pen sucks. My hand is killing me and I wrote out what wouldn't even amount to a single typed page. Anyway, onto the book

Lenina shook her head. "Was and will make me ill," she quoted, "I take a gramme and only am."
In the end she persuaded him to swallow four tablets of soma. Five minutes later roots and fruits were abolished; the flower of the present rosily blossomed. (Huxley 104)

I like the the repetition of the rhymes in the different mantras and especially the image of roots, fruits and blossoms. I do believe it's good to live in the moment, to be the "flower of the present" and so many self-help books tout the importance of seizing the day, but as BNW points out completely avoiding the past and future, especially by chemical means is not really the way to carpe diem. They repeat the "beautiful and inspired saying of...Ford's: History is bunk," (34) and explain that is why they're "taught no history," (35) but as the saying goes, "those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it". How can you really move forward if you completely refuse to learn from past mistakes?

The next part that stuck out to me happened when Lenina and Bernard are first at the reservation and they see an elderly man very slowly climbing down a ladder. Neither have ever seen an old person before and when Lenina argues that they have old people where they come from, Bernard points out that they preserve people so they never look feeble. He mentions; "We give them a transfusion of young blood," (111). I stopped at this point and wondered where are they getting this young blood. There is no mention in the beginning of the book about them harvesting blood. I don't remember if this comes up later in the novel, but this adds another sinister level to what they're doing. They may deny the Epsilons basic human rights and dignity but there is no mention of people being used for their body fluids.

There are a couple other lines on this page I really liked:

"In their deep-sunken orbits his eyes were still extraordinarily bright," (111). While the man's body might be feeble his eyes display a spark of life that seems out of place in the dulled lives of Lenina and Bernard. His life filled with chaos has given him a life spark that life outside the reservation cannot match.

"Youth almost unimpaired till sixty, and then, crack! the end." (111) I can't really say which would be better: a life that ends at 60 years but you are youthful the entire time, or a life that goes on for 80+ years but you can feel your age. Certainly prolonged youth with the conditions that come from the society in BNW would be undesirable, but in our current world I don't think I would be so opposed to it. I'm sure on my 59th birthday I would think otherwise...

That wasn't quite as short as I anticipated. I have a habit of rambling. Oops.

Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World. New York: HarperPerennial, 1998.