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Brave New World: #39 Analyze selected characters with Abraham Maslow’s theory of hierarchy of human needs Today Aldous Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ stands out as a classical masterpiece of 20th century literature. The novel presents a dystopian vision of a potential future reality…
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Download file to see previous pages... The story subsequently follows these dissenters, Bernard and Lenina, as they meet a guy named John who was born and fostered outside the bounds of society. While World State has advanced a nearly complete utopian vision, one may doubt if the individuals in this society are truly fulfilled. This essay implements Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in examining the extent that the characters in the text have achieved self-actualization. Abraham Maslow was a 20th century humanist psychologist who posited a hierarchy of needs at the center of human motivation. Maslow’s needs begin with physiological needs at the bottom (Maslow 370). After the individual has attained these needs they move to safety, love/belonging, and esteem needs (Maslow 370). Finally, the individual enters the self-actualization stage of existence, where they have attained all the underlining needs (Maslow. 374). The characters in Brave New World demonstrate varying levels on this hierarchy. One of the most notable characters in these regards is John. While Bernard is the predominant character in the novel, after the visit to the reservation John becomes the central focus. John is unique in terms of psychological perspectives because he is a savage that developed outside of World State. In terms of John’s physiological needs, for the most part these are taken care of. ...
Rather than embrace facts and reality citizens in World State regularly take soma. John instead rejects this indicating, “I don't want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin” (Huxley 230). John’s rejection of the inoculation of society and his embracement of poetry and danger and freedom, indicate a higher degree of self-actualization that the typical World State citizen. Even while John demonstrates a higher degree of self-actualization than other characters his needs are perhaps not those that are most satiated throughout the novel. Instead it appears that Lenina, who largely embraces World State society, has many of her needs taken care. Lenina’s physiological, safety, love/belonging, and esteem needs are taken care of. This is contrasted with John who struggles at times with many of these needs. Lenina’s embracement of soma further contributes to her happiness, as soma seems to function to ensure a general balance over existence. Lenina actively embraces hypnopaedic phrases in response to Bernard’s voiced despondency, stating, “Everybody’s happy nowadays…Every one works for every one else . . . When the individual feels, the community reels…” (Huxley 34). In this way Lenina’s embracement of these themes seems to indicate that she is at least partially content in the World State. The argument might be made, however, that Lenina’s lack of self-actualization results in her intermittent need for soma. One considers Bernard’s achievement of needs on the hierarchy of needs as lacking Lenina’s contentment, yet achieving a degree of self-actualization through his scientific investigation of John. In this way Bernard was implementing his creative and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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