The Use Of Soma To Shape And Control Society In Huxley's Brave New World

1754 words - 8 pages

The Use of Soma to Shape and Control Society in Huxley's Brave New World


The future of the world is a place of thriving commerce and stability. Safety and happiness are at an all-time high, and no one suffers from depression or any other mental disorders. There are no more wars, as peace and harmony spread to almost every corner of the world. There is no sickness, and people are predestined to be happy and content in their social class. But if anything wrong accidentally occurs, there is a simple solution to the problem, which is soma. The use of soma totally shapes and controls the utopian society described in Huxley's novel Brave New World as well as symbolize Huxley's society as a ...view middle of the document...

Soma is the answer to all of life's problems and is invented in an attempt to distract society from worry, tension, and pain. The drug is rationed by the government and is normally consumed after a hard day's work. In this utopian society, people choose to "know no pain" (Clareson 238). Instead of suffering, people fill their days with the mindless acts they were predestined to perform. At the end of each day, everyone gathers in crowded distribution rooms and waits eagerly to receive the one thing that truly makes the day worthwhile, which is his or her ration of soma (Huxley 215). This valuable drug goes beyond the literal meaning in which it is being used and becomes the one thing that everyone really lives for. The idea in the novel is that pleasure is the most powerful motivator (Clareson 238). So by giving the masses pleasure, the directors keep the world running smoothly. The directors also eliminate the time between desire and fulfillment, so one cannot help but take the quick fix of soma rather than using logic to figure out his or her problems. It is the mass' motivator and problem solver, and brings the people all the great moods and feelings that they could possible ask for because of its hypnotic power to relax the mind (Meerloo 236). Unfortunately, when the futuristic people take this drug, they eventually destroy themselves and become slaves to a society where they assume they have freewill. Soma keeps people from being individuals by its "hypnotic powers" and destroys any sense of art, expression, creativity, or independence (Meerloo 236).

The people of this "Brave New World" are really living a life of no true comprehension. Critics suggest that, "They have sacrificed the past and the future for the pleasure of the moment, shortening that time between desire and consummation to nothing, or escaping time and space with soma" (Clareson 238). With this idea of escape, the ideal picture of a soma holiday can be understood. It is mentioned in the story that Lenina, one of the main characters, visits a foreign land and forgets her precious soma. In the foreign land, Lenina begins to witness primitive rituals that to her seem unreal and hard to accept. She then only dreams of having her escape to her familiar surroundings and her very precious drug. As she arrives back home from the trip, Lenina purposely overdoses and takes a "soma holiday" that puts her into a state of coma, and it leaves all her negative feelings behind (Huxley 142). Other signs of devotion to this "poison" are brought out all throughout the novel with one of the most famous scenes being that of the soma riot near the end of the novel (Huxley 217). In this event one of the main characters, John, tries to convince hundreds of the tired workers to refuse their daily ration of soma, and instead live their lives in freedom without this controlled substance (Huxley 219). The people are insulted by this remark, which they perceive to be more a threat than a helping...

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