I will be using the prompt that Allyson found.
"And after all, our surroundings influence our lives and characters as much as fate, destiny, or any supernatural agency."
- Pauline Hopkins, Contending Forces
Choose a novel or play in which cultural, physical, or geographical surroundings shape psychological or moral traits in a character. Then write a well-organized essay in which you analyze how surroundings affect this character and illuminate the meaning of the work as a whole. Do not merely summarize the plot.
In Brave New World, Aldus Huxley writes about a futuristic Earth over-taken by drugs, technology, and sex. He juxtaposes social norms and moral wrongs by switching them in society. In Huxley's "brave new world," feeling real emotions, being parents, and having a child are unheard of. In this new society, everyone takes a drug called soma to feel happy, and it's normal to sleep with anyone and everyone because children are made in tubes and "programed" to have specific skills. Lenina is one of these people bred in Huxley's world. She is raised to be used to the "social norms" of her world, and when taken to a "savage reservation," can't believe what she witnesses. Huxley uses Lenina to show how the world around us is changing for the worst, but it can still be saved if we change our ways.
Lenina and many of the other characters around her are created in factory rather than raised and nurtured. They are "programed" to think certain thoughts through electric shock therapy and hypnopaedia as babies. Lenina is trained to repeat phrases like, "Ending is better than mending." She is just another product produced in a factory, but Huxley portrays her as a little bit different from everyone else. In this futuristic world, it is normal to have sexual relations with many people. "Everyone belongs to everyone." Despite this, Lenina stays with the same person for four months. Huxley makes it evident that she is different from the people around her, but she still tries to conform in order to fit in.
Huxley later introduced Lenina to the "savage" reservation. This place works as a foil to the world that Lenina is used to, while also catching the reader because these savages are more similar to us than Lenina and her people are. This point in the book really grabs the readers attention and gets Huxley's point across. While Lenina's world is strange and unlikely to us as readers, our customs and ways are strange to her. We see this in her reaction to the people on the reservation. Lenina's reaction to the reservation illustrates the author's point that our world is becoming far to lustful and greedy. Huxley's writes this book as a prediction of what our world will become, and he uses Lenina as his mediator between the two worlds.
Huxley creates a "brave new world" that is very different from the world that his readers are used to. It takes things that are frowned upon in society and turns them into social norms. Lenina works as a link between past and present to show how our world is changing and to illustrate Huxley's point.