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A Blogger's Bookshelf: Introducing Dani!

Hi everyone! Hope you're all having a wonderful bank holiday Monday!
Today I've brought you one of my real-life friends from sixth form, Dani, who is also a vlogger on YouTube! You'll find a link to her channel near the bottom of the post, so make sure to go and subscribe to her when you've read this post. I'll hand you right over!

Hey! I’m going to talk to you about a real classic today, one that will continue to be relevant to the emotional struggle of humanity for centuries to come. Prepare for a lot of made-up Biology terms and a storyline that questions: what it means to be happy, what is art worth and why are we here?

Ever heard of 1984 by George Orwell? Of course you have. Now have you heard of its sibling, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World? Probably not, but you should have because it is an amazing visualisation of a realistic possibility for society’s future. It’s considered the parallel to 1984 because of its focus on totalitarianism (dictatorship governments) but unlike 1984, Brave New World’s government uses happiness, pleasure and sexual freedom to control its people. Well, that and a hierarchical ‘caste’ system created through genetic interference.

The novel starts out by explaining the biological elements of the new world, most significantly that all members of society are non-viviparous: they were all created in and born from test tubes. What’s more is that through a something called ‘Bokanovsky's Process’, the zygotes (the combined egg and sperm) can be duplicated over and over again, to mass produce thousands of identical humans. However, it’s only the lower class Gamma, Delta and Epsilons that are identical, the Alphas and Betas are genetically individual. Lucky them, eh?

The caste system itself is named after the first 5 letters of the Greek alphabet (Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon) and is created through what’s added to the ‘blood surrogate’ that the laboratory created foetuses grow in. Extra nutrients and a high oxygen content is supplied to the foetuses destined to be Alpha or Betas (although more to the Alphas) and alcohol is added in increasing amounts to those destined to be Gamma, Delta or Epsilons to hinder their biological development, causing them to be physically and cognitively stunted. This cognitive stunting means the lower classes can be made to do grunt work without ever considering rebellion. And if you think that’s awful then wait until you read about the Neo-Pavlovian conditioning – the electrocution of children not even old enough to speak yet!

The initial protagonist (the focus shifts through the novel) is Bernard Marx who does not feel content in society as everyone else does. He won’t take his government-issued Soma (a hallucinogenic drug used to keep people ‘happy’), he doesn't like Obstacle Golf and he only ever has sex with one girl! And he insists on taking her out on dates before he will bed her too! Other Betas think somebody slipped alcohol in his blood surrogate as a foetus; his boss is threatening to exile him to Iceland if he doesn't sleep with more people and even the girl he’s seeing, Lenina, thinks he’s a bit of an oddball.

My favourite character though, is John. Known as ‘John the Savage’, his coming to terms with the twisted, pleasure driven modern society represents the human struggle of understanding our own emotions and trying to understand our purpose in life.

Extra info:
- Brave New World was first published in 1932 and is Aldous Huxley’s most famous work.
- The novel’s title is taken from Shakespeare’s The Tempest – ‘O brave new world/That has such people in't.’
- If you've seen the currently popular American show Orphan Black, you may recognise some snippets of this book, as the writers of OB have frequently paid homage to Brave New World, e.g. ‘Huxley Station’, ‘Aldous Leekie’, as it inspired some of their ideas.

Thank you very much for reading, I love you all! If you'd like to hear/see more of me then head over to my YouTube channel!
Gimme an ego boost, follow this blog, go check out my channel and I'll see you again soon!
Wow, thanks Dani! Now make sure you go and add that book to your reading list guys, it sounds pretty amazing. It's definitely on my list!
Don't forget to follow Dani's YouTube too, and she will most likely be back here some time very soon! In the mean time, enjoy the rest of your bank holiday (and the sunshine if you have any!) and check back here on Wednesday and Friday for some naily goodness!
~Rachel xxx

Exam Update: 1 down, 12 more to go...


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