Exploration Of Idea Of Population Control In 1984 And Brave New World
Both 1984 and Brave New World deal in similar dystopian ideas, such as sex being controlled, population control, political corruption, etc. While both books deal with these sorts of themes, there is a big contrast in how they are handled. 1984 was written a symbolic reflection of what Orwell saw of Russia at the time, while Brave New World was written as a symbolic representation of the industrial revolution gone to the extreme.
Point 1: Means of sexual reproduction
Both Orwell and Huxley explore the idea of state-effected sexual reproduction as a means of emphasising the impact of the party. In 1984, marriage is strictly controlled by the Party and sex is merely seen as a necessary procedure for conceiving children and is considered the “duty to the Party” (Orwell 67). This procedure means that the participants cannot feel any elements of love, physical attraction and pleasure. In fact, some organizations related to the Party, such as the Junior Anti-Sex League, defend sexual abstinence and artificial insemination. Similarly, the notions of marriage and family are being slowly eroded, leading to a society where real emotional ties between individuals do not exist. According to O’Brien, “The sex instinct will be eradicated. Procreation will be an annual formality like the renewal of a ration card. We shall abolish the orgasm. Our neurologists are at work upon it now. There will be no loyalty, except loyalty towards the Party. There will be no love, except the love of Big Brother” (Orwell 267). This is only applicable to Party members. The proles, due to their unimportance, do not suffer any restriction regarding sex. In fact, the state provides them with pornographic material in order to keep them entertained and satisfied. However, in Brave New World the situation is different. All the citizens of the World State are encouraged to be promiscuous with slogans such as “promiscuity is the citizen’s duty” and “everyone belongs to everyone else”. Having occasional sex with different people is the norm, while concepts like love, marriage and couple are unconceivable. Since all humans are scientifically bred, words like mother, father or family are considered obsolete and even obscene. All women use contraconceptive pills and children are encouraged to explore their sexuality from an early age. Community Sings, the World State’s version of a religious ceremony, often end in a communal orgy. Nevertheless, in both novels the state uses sex (either limiting it or encouraging it) to reinforce population control. Likewise, in both novels the emotional bonds between individuals are eliminated, making them more vulnerable to control.
Point 2: Economic Influence
Brave New World presents consumerism as the economic pillar of a dystopia, as opposed to 1984’s austerity. The effects, however, are quite similar: the frenzy of consumerism helps to maintain the population under control and uninterested in political issues. Individuality has been substituted by egotism, and reflection and critical thinking have been subdued by materialism. The World State maintains its totalitarian control through other methods, such as drugs, consumerism and hedonism. American industrialist Henry Ford, known for revolutionizing mass production with the implementation of the assembly line, is regarded as a divine figure by the citizens of the Word State. They say, “Our Ford” instead of the traditional Christian expression “Our Lord”, and make the sign of a T over their chest (in reference to Ford’s famous T-model), instead of a cross. Likewise, “his fordship” is used to refer to the World Controllers, and years are counted in relation to Ford’s birth date (the events of the story take place in the year 632 After Ford). In the World State, God has been substituted by Ford, and religion has been substituted by his industrial philosophy, based on mass production and consumerism. Consumerism is essential in this society, the government creates in the citizens the need for items they do not need and encourages this behaviour with slogans such as “ending is better than mending”, inciting the citizens to buy new products instead of repairing the ones that they own.
In conclusion, both books deal in themes techniques that, while knowing they are fake, their situations seems strikingly realistic, as if it is possible within the foreseeable future. Though both books present similar themes, their use of techniques and overall setting are what are able to differentiate themselves.