Nature Vs. Nurture In Brave New World

870 Words 4 Pages
The Impact of the Past

The debate of nature versus nurture is one of the oldest and most pondered questions in all of psychology. What dictates how people develop? Is it where they come from or what they experience? This question is hinged upon having a society where nature and nurture operate as separate entities, and the population has enough genetic diversity to produce random variances in how people develop. In Aldous Huxley’s novel, Brave New World, the question of nature versus nurture is not one that need be pondered. Advanced technology allows for the normally independent processes of nature and nurture to be undertaken in one, distilled process of conditioning, contingent upon the removal of the one facet of life designed to provide
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His white face and his mother Linda’s promiscuousness served to partially alienate him from his peers and society. After sleeping with the local women’s husbands, Linda was brutally whipped by the women, and a very young John attempted to intervene only to see the whip turn to him. This experience caused him to question his mother and ask, ‘“But why did they want to hurt you, Linda?’ he asked that night. He was crying because of the red marks of the whip on his back still hurt so terribly. But he was also crying because people were so beastly and unfair, and because he was only a little boy who couldn’t do anything against them,” (126). John experienced something that has all but been eradicated from civilized society: unfair inequity. Caste society is inherently unfair, but each level of society is conditioned to be perfectly content with their lot in life. The way that the government uses conditioning and a stable, stratified society to control the populace achieves the same affect that allows a Marxist government to maintain control over its citizens. Literary critics Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan claim that, “the division between classes is the major motor of historical change, according to Marx.” Both the government in Brave New World and Marxist governments are in the business of limiting historical change and maintaining stability. This is achieved through the destruction of social mobility. In a Marxist society there is one class of workers, while in Brave New World each class is conditioned to be content with their station. The impact is the same: social mobility is nonexistent and nobody exists within society who can shake up the social order. John’s sense of class consciousness, a byproduct of his upbringing outside society, is one of the deciding factors that prevents John from ever finding happiness in

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