Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

bravenewworld_aldoushuxleyDo you sometimes wish you did not have parents? Would you like to have free time to do whatever you wish? Would you rather not choose a favorite color?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, maybe you should move to the utopian society pictured in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.

But on the other hand, maybe not…

The setting of this novel is a society where all people are decanted rather than born. Before they are ‘born,’ they are predestined to their position in society. For the Epsilon Semi-Morons, this means having their intelligence and growth stunted or even being part of a Bokanovsky Group, where one will have at least 50 identical twins. For an Alpha Plus, this means becoming an individual, because these are the people who will grow up to be World Controllers.

The people in the novel are encouraged to take part in whatever activities bring them pleasure, including erotic play. Additionally, there is soma, the drug that brings the person away from the problems of the world, in something called a soma-holiday. There is no such thing as God in this world; they worship Henry Ford. Their calendar system is based off the invention of the Model-T Ford.

One day, however, in this seemingly perfect world, Bernard Marx and his girlfriend for the week go to a savage reservation in New Mexico, where life is still going on as it was before this civilization developed. His girlfriend, Lenina, is revolted by the fact that people here have their own children, that they can grow fat, and that people get married and stay dedicated to one person their whole life! Here, Lenina and Bernard meet John and Linda, two people with surprising ties to civilization. The decision to bring them back to their society, as expected, causes conflict.

My favorite part of the novel was how thought out this futuristic society is. Though to me, it is very disgusting, and I would definitely not want to live there. It seems very realistic that it might occur even today, thought the novel was written in 1932. Also, though sad, the very end of the novel was poetic and very eloquently written.

I would definitely recommend this book to older teens. Some of the ideas and descriptions in the novel are certainly for older audiences. Additionally, I found that there was a lot of vocabulary that was new to me, and I had to keep looking up new words, so that is something to consider. But if you do decide to read this book, you should enjoy it. It is a very fascinating novel.

-Leila S.

Brave New World is available for check out from the Mission Viejo Public Library and Overdrive.

How to Improve your SAT Critical Reading and Writing Scores

glasses-272401_640As a high school junior, I have grown to realize the importance of the SAT, and have searched for hours for ways to improve my scores.  From my own experience, reading is ridiculously helpful in improving critical reading and writing scores, so I thought I would provide you guys with a list of books that are both rich in SAT vocab, and enjoyable to read.

Leonardo di Caprio and Carey Mullligan in a still from The Great Gatsby1.  The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald:  Fitzgerald is one of my favorite authors of all time.  I love him because he writes about the 1920s, which is pretty much the most interesting era of all time, and his writing style is beautiful.  The Great Gatsby is one of those rare books that I actually recommend reading after you see the movie, as it makes the plot much easier to understand and hey, looking at Leo DiCaprio for three hours isn’t all that bad either.

2.  Lord of the Flies by William Golding:  This was my favorite book that my class read during sophomore year.  It’s a fictional expose on the concept of civilization and it is interesting and terrifying all at once.  I definitely recommend this book if you are a fan of survival stories, adventure, or even horror.

brave_new_world3.  Brave New World by Aldous Huxley:  This book was required reading for my sophomore year, but I would have read it even if it wasn’t required.  Brave New World is a book that predicts how our future society will look, and also uncovers the startling faults in our own present-day society.

4.  To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee:  I can sum up all the reasons I love this book in two words: Atticus Finch.  Atticus is one of the main characters in the book and is pretty awesome.  He is one of those silent-but-deadly literary heroes that are so hard to find in books nowadays, and that makes me love him even more.

catcher_in_the_rye_cover5.  The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger: This book is amazing because it is written exactly the way I think: sarcastically, honestly, and caustically. (Like how I threw in an SAT vocab word?)  Holden Caulfield is one of the most famous literary characters of all time, and you should definitely read the book to find out why.

6.  Animal Farm by George Orwell:  This book is a satire on the Russian Revolution, as different figures of Russian history are represented by farm animals.  The great part about this book is that it will help you learn grammar and a little bit of history at the same time!

Other books that I haven’t read yet, but are rich in SAT vocab include:  Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, and Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.

Have you guys read any of these books yet?  What did you think of them?  Are there any other books that helped you with your SAT studying? Reply in the comments and good luck on your SATs everyone!

-Amanda D., 11th grade

Book Review: Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley

brave_new_worldDystopian novels are my favorite kinds of novels. The author usually creates a “what-if” world that follows a certain idea and looks like a utopia, which is a perfect world. However as readers, we can clearly see how negative and horrible the situation is.

This novel presents the readers a world of total “happiness.” People take soma, a kind of drug, to forget the uneasiness in life and to feel pure happiness. There is no family and children are artificially made, and during this process, people intentionally damage some children’s brain to make them stupid. Therefore the people in this society are divided into five different level based on their IQs, which Alphas do the intellectual jobs while Epsilons do the simple and dirty jobs because they can’t understand anything more. A young boy John comes from his “wild” hometown with knowledge about the Bible and Shakespeare to this New World, which has no religion, no high art, and no intellectual world; technology’s good, but creativity is bad; soma and sex define happiness and meaning of living—so how will John react to this “perfect” world?

Brave New World is a very heavy piece of reading that I would recommend for high school students; personally, I was introduced to this book at a book club with a teacher during my 8th grade. The story involves GREAT numbers of allusion and symbolism that refer to many different literature works and scientific knowledge, so if you want to really understand things beside the main story line, research is necessary. Well, at least based on personal experience, this book basically can be used on ANY SAT essay. Yes, I know you may want to know this.

This book is definitely a 10 out of 10. The great structure and the complex ideals that expressed in the book are very profound, and the story line is also interesting and unexpected.  You can read it hundreds of times and still get new understanding from it every time you read it. This is a treasure chest you have to open during your lifetime, so do it now and put it on your shelf right now!

-Wenqing Z., 11th grade