These two novels, 1984 and Brave New World, seems pretty similar from the first glance but, in fact, they demonstrate two opposite types of mass manipulation. Written with different aims, both of them reveal in what way people are deceived and used by their authority without even realizing. They both illustrate a dystopian society of the future where freedom of choice, speech, and life are completely neglected. It’s the government that decides with whom to live, what to eat, what to thin, etc. The main divergence is what tools governments use to control the entire population. If in Brave New World Huxley exploits the topic of mindless entertainment, perverse pleasure, and eugenic selection, Orwell concentrates on society intimidation, psychological manipulations, and censorship of thoughts.
Brave New World was published almost twenty years earlier than 1984. Setting events in the far future, Huxley shows the readers his own version of dystopian Britain suffering from economic and moral decay. But these people consider it to be a utopia, an ideal place where their every wish is satisfied plus they can have whatever they want. Authorities have managed to persuade them to be humble just by using pleasure as a key instrument. Consequence-free sexual intercourses and legal drugs that function as Viagra (soma in the novel) are those control mechanisms that keep all the sheep in the stable. Another tool of domination is the caste system which divides society into five castes that are not allowed to communicate with each other. Due to this tricks, the authoritative nature of governing goes unnoticed.
On the contrary, Orwell’s Oceania, which appeared after World War II, is basically a quintessence of the horrors committed by Soviet and Nazi political regimes. The writer created this novel as a warning for the future generations about potential hazards of totalitarian philosophy. As an ordinary tyrannical state, Oceania is ruled by one force – the Inner Party. It widely employs tortures and surveillance to control its inhabitants. While Brave New World divides its people into castes, in 1984 it only matters whether you belong to the Inner Party, the most privileged part of society, the Outer Party whose members dream about joining the inner circle, and the Proles, the general mass of the impoverished population.
Their crucial instrument is fear – the fear to be called a traitor, to stand out from the crowd, or to do something against the will of the Party. Every word, facial expression, or action is monitored by electronic peepholes in order to find possible traitors. Orwell recreates the atmosphere of paranoia which usually prevails in totalitarian states. The government in Brave New World appears to be trickier and don’t employ direct violence. With the help of superficial pleasures, they distract the society from their poverty and other problems by blurring their vision with enjoyable pictures. Without even knowing, Huxley described a lot of manipulation methods that will be used in the advanced capitalistic society. Nowadays, at the beginning of the 21st century, his book seems more accurate in reflecting the ways of mass control. But it’s up to you to decide which state is lesser-of-the-two-evils.