Banned Books Week! – Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

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*Above artwork courtesy of the American Library Association

It is amazing to me how difficult it has been for me to find books that have been banned for reasons other than language and/or sexual content.  American culture seems to be obsessed with four letter words and the bedroom, or at least obsessed with seeing the use of either as a sign of immorality and wanting any use of the former or any discussion of the latter to go away so that we can all pretend they don’t exist.  It’s no wonder there are many out there who are deliberately rude and crude.  They’re trying to shake things up and get people to take the sticks out of their rear ends, lighten up, and stop taking life so seriously.

Brave

Then there’s Aldous Huxley, and his book Brave New World.  To be honest, I knew about Brave New World, but I’ve never read it, and I had no idea what it was about.  From the title, I had guessed that it was similar to Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  The only thing they have in common is that they are both critiquing society.  That’s right, Huxley isn’t trying to get anyone to lighten up.  He wants us to really take a look at how we live and see that all of our drugs, alcohol, sex, etc. is the problem.  So why would anyone want to ban this book?  In addition to being considered obscene, people thought it vilified the family, and encouraged drug use, which is the exact opposite of what he was doing.  It was also thought to be depressing, negative, and fatalistic, as well as promoting conformity of all things.  There was such an uproar in some cases that teachers were fired.  In 2000, it was pulled from a library in Alabama because it supposedly showed contempt for religion and marriage.  All of this makes me want to scream “You’re missing the point!”

For those of you who have read Brave New World, what are your thoughts?  Is it a moral tale or a story designed to corrupt society?