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Comparing the Philosophies of Brave New World and Anthem

The Philosophies Brave New World and Anthem

The books Brave New World by Aldus Huxley and Anthem by Ayn Rand are both valuable twentieth-century contributions to literature. Both books explore the presence of natural law in man and propose a warning for what could happen when man’s sense of right and wrong is taken from him. In this essay, I hope to show how these seemingly unrelated novels both expound upon a single, very profound, idea.

Before launching into the implications of these two novels, I believe a summary of the general human experience in each of the two societies is necessary. Brave New World illustrates a society in which science has been elevated to a god-like position. In this novel, human thoughts and actions are controlled by conditioning, which in turn is controlled by a select few members of the dominant caste. Depending on the caste they are bred for, individuals in Brave New World are developed differently. All humans are created in a laboratory and higher caste individuals are allowed to develop relatively free from any mutation. Lower caste citizens, however, are created in mass quantity and are conditioned even as fetuses to enjoy hard labor. After being born, a process referred to in the novel as decanting, children are raised in group homes. From infancy through adolescence, children are conditioned into their society’s worldview: “Everyone belongs to everyone else.” They are carefully conditioned to accept and reject things based on the society’s best interests. While citizens in this world believe they have complete freedom, they are in reality unable to behave in any way other than how they have been conditioned. They date, but monogamy is out of the question. To grow…

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…has taken them to an unintended extreme.

These books are both valuable to the study of natural law, human psychology, government, and many other fields. They very much enforce the theory C. S. Lewis proposed in his book, Abolition of Man, in which he states that without the Tao as a standard, men will inevitable create their own standard, which in Brave New World and Anthem happens to be the good of society.

Works Cited:

Corliss, Richard, “Who’s Feeling No Pain?” in Time Magazine, April 28, 2001. Available http://www.time/magazine/printout/0,8816,102079,00.html.

Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, Inc., 1998.

McMichael, Charles T., “Aldous Huxley’s ‘Island’: The Final Vision,” in Studies in the Literary Imagination. Vol. 1, No. 2, April, 1968.

Rand, Ayn Anthem New York: Signet 1961.

True Meaning of Love Revealed in Snow Falling on Cedars

True Meaning of Love Revealed in Snow Falling on Cedars

David Guterson’s novel, Snow Falling on Cedars, is one that covers a number of important aspects in life, including some controversial topics like racism and the Japanese internment during America’s involvement in the Second World War. It speaks to this reader on a more immediate and personal level, however, through the playing out of Ishmael and Hatsue’s relationship-one which Hatsue seems to be able to walk away from, but which shapes the way Ishmael tries to “live” his life because he cannot let go of the past, or a future that is not, and was not meant to be.

Ishmael never recovers from the severance of his romantic relationship with Hatsue because of the type of relationship that it was for him, and that it was not for Hatsue. During the internment, Hatsue realized that she “loved him and at the same time couldn’t love him” (231). For Hatsue, the relationship was a friendship that grew into something it was not meant to; something she did not expect, yet allowed to continue because she could not decide if it was right or wrong. Ishmael, on the other hand, was in love. His was not a passionate lust, or a romantic love, but what true love is: an action, a decision, yet something beyond his control. For Ishmael also, the friendship grew into something unexpected, but for him it was a discovery that “[a]fter all these years that we’ve been together, I find you’re a part of me. Without you, I have nothing” (222). Ishmael’s relationship with Hatsue was something he had to hold on to, because it was all that he had.

During the War, after Ishmael’s return, and throughout the trial of Kabuo, Hatsue’s husband, Ishmael struggles with his feelings, hi…

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… is not something that can be defined, controlled, or conquered. But through Ishmael, Guterson reveals to his reader that it is possible to love someone without letting one’s passions destroy life when that relationship is not meant to be, and never will. There is a reason to hope for something greater, something more in life than a dream that will never come true. This reader would like to believe Ishmael will never stop loving Hatsue because his love is true love, which, like God Who is Love (1 John 4:7) never changing. But Ishmael learns to see that loving Hatsue means moving on with his life and doing what Hatsue always knew, and what he now realizes, are the great things he is destine to do in life.

Work Cited:

Guterson, David. Snow Falling on Cedars. New York: Vintage, 1995.

New American Standard Bible. Reference ed. Chicago: Moody Press, 1975.

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