After going through both the pieces of literature, it transpires that both differences and similarities exist between Brave New World and 1984. They are both prophetic novels, they were both written in turbulent times, both suffering changes that could lapse the future of the world. At the time 1984 was written, the world had just gotten out of a second war and the surprising rise of communism and their totalitarian government was frightening most of the western world.
In George Orwell's novel, the main concern seems to be the overtaking of a supreme, socialist totalitarian government/dictatorship. On the other hand, when Brave New World was written, the world had just been swept by a wave of mass production and consumerism, and that too is reflected in Aldous Huxley's ultra-modern, test-tube baby, sleep-taught society.
That is exactly what makes the two novels so alike and so different at the same time. To begin with both authors forecast a society of obedience and compliance, but on one hand, the Brave New World is also driven by consumerism and high advanced technology and drug abuse, 'Now- such is progress- the old men work, the old men copulate, the old men have no time, no leisure from pleasure, not a moment to sit down and think- or even by some unlucky chance such a crevice of time should yawn in the solid substance of their distractions, there is always some, delicious returning when they find themselves on the other side of the crevice, safe on the solid ground of daily labor and distraction.
Whilst 1984 is a bare, war stricken place with food rations and the like, outside, even through the shut windowpane, the world looked cold. Down the street little eddies of wind were whirling dust and torn papers into spirals, and though the sun was shinning and the sky was blue, there seemed to be no color in anything, except in the posters that were plastered everywhere.
Comparisons and Contrasts Discussion
Both novels also similar in the aspect that most inhabitants do not seem to see a problem with the world they live in, most comply and obey, in Brave New World, most consume, but in both novels, there are the odd sheep. Both novel seem to portray societies divided into castes, in 1984 there are three of them the 'proles', the 'outer Party' and the 'inner Party', the 'proles' are the uneducated masses, the 'outer party' are the medium working class, and the 'inner party' are the controllers.
In Brave New World, the castes are a bit more literal, four in total, Alphas, intelligent and beautiful, have the high positions, Betas, not quite as 'perfect' as the Alphas, Gammas, part of the uneducated masses and finally Epsilons, similar in IQ to oysters, the workers and cleaners.
Both novels can be regarded as 'novels that changed history', that is, when they were written it seemed that things were headed in the direction that both novels pointed out, and some people considered that it was the novels that 'opened people's eyes' and showed them the way. However, many other people seemed to think that both were equally extreme to have actually concretized themselves.
In Huxley's Brave New World, genetic engineering is rampant from birth. This technology is used to enhance future Alphas or to cripple the impending Epsilons. This class structure and the genetic engineering used to create it is a major control device for the people in Brave New World.
When the eggs are being fertilized and cultivated they are treated differently depending upon what are they are going to be. A system used to affect the eggs is the lower the class the egg is set out to be the less oxygen it receives when it passes through the lung, "The lower the caste the shorter the oxygen." (Pg 23)
The children in the hatchery are brought up, and educated, depending on their future. Alphas are treated exceptionally well and are trained to love being alphas, and epsilons are treated poorly but to love being an epsilon. So when these children are mature they have fully accepted their place in the society.
So in Brave New World genetic engineering isn't used directly to set up happiness. It instead underwrites the subordination and inferiority of the lower orders. In fundamental nature Brave New World is a global caste society. In this society there is no sociable mobility, Alphas perpetually rule, and epsilons invariably labor.
The above systematic conditioning reinforces these genetic differences. As stated above the people of Huxley's Brave New World are controlled by their genetic conditioning and soma, as appose to the thought manipulation and control used in 1984.
In Orwell's view of Oceania in 1984 was one of a society completely controlled and complacent of to the wishes of the party. This control was achieved mainly by the use of thought control. Thought Crime, Double Think, and mainly Newspeak, these were the major thought controlling factors in 1984.
Thought crime was seen as any thought that deemed as unfavorable towards the party. The population on Oceania in 1984 lived in fear of committing thought crime, everyone was just waiting for the thought police to come for them and take them away. The Thought police was the body that controlled and punished for thought crime. They would come and take you in the middle of the night, and you would be tortured and inevitably killed.
Another method of thought control in 1984 was doublethink, this method placed meanings upon words that were usually the exact opposite. Newspeak is a new language in 1984 that is set up to control the population, by limiting the language and this in turn limits their thoughts.
Mustapha Mond is arguably the only true individual that Huxley offers in Brave New World. He describes to John how a colony of Alphas was started on the island Cyprus, explaining how the experiment was a complete failure, and the colony turned violent and completely unproductive. "And that was the end of the only society of Alphas that the world has ever seen," (223).
However, these people are conditioned to their roles just as the Epsilons are; perhaps if they had been left to allow a natural education, like that suggested by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, one of our old-fashioned philosophers with no role in Brave New World, the colony might have been more successful. Mond says to Helmholtz, "Universal happiness keeps the wheels steadily turning; truth and beauty can't," (228). Mond seems to be the sole character of Brave New World with free will.
It is evident that in the forgoing account that the populations of Brave New World and 1984 are socially controlled by different methods. The people in Huxley's vision are controlled by their inevitable quest for pleasure; this is done through soma. They are also controlled by their systematic genetic and educational treatment; this is chosen by their class structure.
This dependence on drugs and the conditions as a child, vary greatly from the methods in Orwell's 1984. In 1984 the control is achieved by the manipulation of the society thoughts. This thought control is achieved by means of doublethink, thought police and chiefly newspeak. So it is evident that in both Brave New World and in 1984 that the population can be completely controlled, and manipulated, by very different means.
Aldous Huxley; Brave New World. Perennial Classics, 01 September 1998.
George Orwell, Erich Fromm. 1984 (Mass Market Paperback) Signet Classics; Reissue edition (July 1, 1950)