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In literature, leaders serve a plethora of roles: the hero, the antagonist, the totalitarian controller, and countless authors have utilized political leaders to further the message of a piece of work. Because of the political nature of utopian and dystopian fiction, political leaders are used often. George Orwell's dystopian novel 1984 depicts Big Brother, the dictator of Europe, as a controlling tyrant only interested in gaining power for the sake of having power. In Aldous Huxley's dystopia, Brave New World, Mustapha Mond, one of ten world leaders in the novel, provides a more personable leader than Big Brother. In contrast, Thomas More's Utopia depicts an island not riddled with hypocrisy and corruption; More discusses a perfect island, Utopia, so More himself serves as the leader figure for the purposes of this discussion. While contrasting Brave New World and 1984 in genre, underneath surface-level understanding, utopian novels share numerous characteristics with dystopian stories.
While 1984 and Brave New World both portray totalitarian governments, power and control are derived from entirely different sources in the novels. The party leader in Orwell's novel, Big Brother, gains his power through repression of the characters in the novel whereas Brave New World's government, OneState controls its members through a more positive methodology (Revolution). To juxtapose the two novels, 1984 gives power to a select few (members of the political party) and oppresses everyone else. Brave New World, however, more effectively trains citizens before birth to be acceptant of their fates and positions in society. Also, OneState freely gives a hallucinogenic, Soma, to induce dreams and provide an escape from the struggles in life. From this comparison, Brave New World clearly demonstrates that punishing rebels is much less effective than preventing the thought of rebellion in the first place. Orwell admits in the novel that "QUOTE ABOUT THOUGHTCRIME" (1984). Moreover, Huxley's word is more pleasant than Orwell's creation; thoughtcrime does not exist because thoughts are not a personal liberty. The characters in 1984 are oppressed, but they have the liberty of thought, yet they are not happy, but OneState citizens, because the liberty of rebellious thought is removed before birth, are not aware that they are lacking liberty. Therefore, personal liberty is not significant of personal happiness.
Thomas More's Utopia takes this argument from the other side. His vision of a perfect society coined the term 'Utopian' in literature which lead to the development of dystopian novels, like Brave New World and 1984. Because Utopia is not written in narrative style, More himself serves as the government visionary for the purposes of this discussion. More postulates that, in a perfect society, everyone would be equal, and he suggests an abolishment of social classes; everyone farms and has a practical occupation (UTOPIA). 1984 and Brave New World follow this model with the exception that members of the government are placed above everyone else. It is worth noting that More does not believe that a Utopia is possible to realistically achieve; Utopia derives from the Greek meaning "no place," but the title is used as a pun on the Greek "eutopia," which means "happy place" (GREEK). Therefore, 1984, Brave New World, and Utopia all demonstrate that a perfect society cannot be attained, but the methods for carrying out the same message are complete opposites.
Big Brother as a leader is a mysterious character. In fact, he may be a group of people or not exist at all. However, his goal is clear: "QUOTE ABOUT HOW POWER IS AN END NOT A MEANS." The party in 1984 is intent on stripping individual power to strengthen the party. Power as a goal leads Big Brother to incessantly look for rebels and to use scare tactics to keep the characters from rebelling. Brave New World, written as a more futuristic novel, solves the problems presented in 1984 with science. OneState does not have to worry about thoughts of rebellion because all anti-establishment rhetoric has been removed from the language, and, through hypnopaedia, all OneState members are taught to love the government (SOURCE). Thomas More, in Utopia, briefly touches on thoughts of rebellion, though his central argument rests on the notion that the citizens of Utopia would have no reason to distrust the government. According to More, Utopian philosophy deals primarily with happiness and how to attain it (UTOPIA). Therefore, Brave New World and Utopia try to satiate members of society; both books assert the position that it is better to promote positive thought among members of society than to overtly attack it, as Orwell describes in 1984.
When the rules of the government are broken, how the situation is handled is drastically different in each work. In 1984, the government overtly and harshly punishes those who rebel, often expelling or executing the offenders. These harsh practices fix the problem on the surface, but the party steal has to fear and manage thoughtcrime in members of the society. Brave New World's OneState handles situations of rebellion in a completely different way. Mustapha Mond, an independent-thinking scientist early in the novel, is approached by the government and instead of punishment, he is offered to be a world controller. OneState recognizes the talent in Mond and rewards him instead. Mond then becomes the most influential member of the government in the main plot of Brave New World. OneState manages to use its methods so effectively that Mond, as a world controller, censors new ideas; he prevents the very act he once committed (BNW). Utopia assumes that Utopian citizens would not rebel against the government because there is no real institution to rebel against; the government is constituted of the Utopians (UTOPIA). However, Utopians capture slaves from war and force them to work, but the Utopians are very lenient about the extent of the punishment when viewed through the lens of Huxley's work or Orwell's.
Brave New World, 1984, and Utopia all contain a visionary leader. Big Brother, though an antagonistic force throughout the novel, is undeniably visionary. His axiomatic rules reign supreme in Oceania merely because Big Brother and the Inner Party are in charge of the country. His unilateral decisions serve only to benefit himself and the Inner Party, and consequently hurt the everyday citizens of Oceania. Mustapha Mond in Brave New World also appears to promote stability for mankind and bliss instead of true emotional maturity. His views are represented in OneState throughout, thus showing his influence on the government structure. More also seems interested in happiness for members of Utopia; the entire philosophy of the Utopian discussion revolves around the search for happiness. All three leaders seem interested in gaining happiness; for Big Brother, the happiness is not for the citizens of Oceania but rather for himself and the Inner Party, but for Mond and More, the happiness of society is a goal to be sought after.
Unfortunately, OneState fails in this goal. John, the main protagonist for the latter half of Brave New World, is an outsider of OneState for searching for personal happiness, a taboo subject for members of OneState. For this, John is disappointed to the point of eventually hanging himself at the end of the novel. Utopian society also has its shortcomings in its desire for superficial happiness. Utopia's argument for searching for happiness is grounded in religious beliefs, stating that reason is not appropriate to find true happiness (UTOPIA). All the while, Utopia appeals to a universalist religious foundation, claiming that numerous religions exist on Utopia yet none is more right than the other. Logically, since the religions are contradictory by nature, the true happiness each of them tries to attain cannot be discovered either. For this reason, More's attempt at happiness for a group of people fails. Big Brother does not even make an attempt to correct the injustices of the society which he governs; in fact, preventing the members from being happy merely gives him more power, which is his ultimate goal. In all, none of the novels truly provides a leader able to provide happiness to society as a whole.
As mentioned earlier, More appeals to a universalist theory on religion for the Utopian society. Brave New World and 1984 contradict this notion by discrediting religion altogether. The OneState calendar is based on Henry Ford, a direct substitution of technology for religion, and the Oceania calendar is based on (WHATEVER IT'S BASED ON, WW2?). There is a clear division in the novels between technology and religion; Brave New World makes the case that the two are contradictory in that society cannot successfully have one without the other. Technology, not religion, is revered in OneState as all-powerful, and therefore creates a clear division between the two. Utopia, a novel which supposedly should contradict the thoughts of a dystopia, is strikingly similar. While not mentioned specifically, Utopians see selfish advances as immoral because they do not benefit society as a whole (UTOPIA). In the case of Brave New World, the technological advances were selfish for the government; the advances were not in a quest for truth in science but rather for better ways to manipulate society.
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