A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Brave New World is an extremely influential dystopian science-fiction novel that presents both a richly imagined future and a sharp critique of trends prevalent at the time of its publication that are still relevant today.
By showing the hollowness of lives devoted to consumerism, promiscuity, and empty pleasure, Huxley tacitly endorses community, literacy, family, service, faithfulness, and reverence.
Positive Role Models
John, also known as "the Savage," comes as close to a sympathetic character as this novel permits. It is his belief that there is more to life than empty sex, emotion-numbing drugs, and meaningless pastimes. A white boy raised on an Indian reservation, he feels like an outcast among the Native Americans, only to be overwhelmed by the promiscuous consumer culture promoted by the World State.
Violence & Scariness
Science seems to have eliminated most violent tendencies in the inhabitants of Central London. On the Indian reservation, however, life is far harsher and physically punishing. John's mother is abused by her lover, by other men, and by other women in the camp. There are also scenes of self-flagellation. The end of the novel features a violent orgy and a suicide, both of which are more implied than directly dramatized.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Brave New World is permeated by sex, although there are no explicit descriptions of sexual acts. Promiscuous sex is the norm, and characters routinely speak of "having" each other. Young children are encouraged to engage in sex play with their peers. Orgies are not unusual. Men chew sex-hormone gum. Women carry elaborate contraception kits. Having grown up on the reservation in New Mexico, John seeks a romantic relationship in Central London but cannot bear the gulf between his idealistic notions and his own physical urges.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
African Americans are referred to as "Negroes" and Native Americans as "savages," terms not unusual at the time of the novel's publication. Because the inhabitants of Central London regard Henry Ford as a secular prophet, they use his surname as a mild expletive. Also, the word "mother" is practically an obsenity to a populace conceived and decanted from bottles.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
The novel is set in a society given completely over to pleasure and consumerism. There are fictional products mentioned, but nothing that matches one-to-one with real-world items. The Ford brand is presented as a quasi-religion, but it's not meant to be taken seriously.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
In Brave New World, "soma" is the drug of choice for nearly everyone. It seems to be a tranquilizer with hallucinatory effects. It is addicitive, and prolonged use inevitably leads to physical deterioration. On the Indian reservation, mescal is drunk by the residents, and peyote is used during tribal initiations. A major character's mother succumbs to the slow deterioration brought on by soma.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Aldous Huxley's 1932 novel Brave New World is one of the most famous dystopian satires in the English language. Set in a society given completely over to pleasure and consumerism, it is both humorous and chilling, and ultimately raises questions about what makes us human. Although there are no explicit descriptions of sexual acts, promiscuous sex is the norm, and there is a violent orgy. There is also a suicide. Citizens of the World State take a tranquilizing, hallucinatory drug called soma, and on an Indian reservation, residents drink mescal and use peyote during tribal initiations.
Is It Any Good?
Along with George Orwell's 1984, this chilling novel is one of the most famous dystopian science-fiction novels in the English language. Aldous Huxley envisions a future where a person's destiny is determined through in vitro fertilization and prenatal treatments, leading to adulthoods ruled by consumerism and aimless sex. Although originally a critique of social trends in the 1930s, the novel is still funny, disturbing, and relevant for today's readers.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.