Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Summer Reading

I have not worked on my existing list because I found a good deal at Costco's so here's a rambling post before I get to far into my next book.

Brave New World By Aldous Huxley  Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

and
Lord of the Flies (Casebook)Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Both issues contain many great critics and interviews with the authors at the end of the book. I was reminded of the idea that High School literature is wasted on teens. It can be so true.
I do not remember reading Lord of the Flies. I must have. I was certainly more interested in Romeo and Juliet. My oldest son remembers enojying the book very much. My current freshman absolutly hated the book.
I found the characters fascinating and loved the Christ figure Simon. Piggy was so lovably and reasonable and brought me to tears. Ralph was so real: trying to be a leader but still so much a boy.

Now Brave New World was on some other list of recommended reading (can't remember which) so I took a chance. Its certainly not a book I would expect someone under 21 to comprehend at all. Huxley takes a contrasting view to Orwell's distopia in 1984. Orwell predicted government so controlling the people through Big Brother and torture that a society would develop that would become self sustaining. The people would accept and love Big Brother.
Huxley however believed that science would be used to make future generations docile in accepting and loving the job they were designed to do. The contrast between the drones of society  who love their conditioned acceptance and a savage brought into their midst highlights how easily we could be drawn in, our struggle with our sexuality and how little we sometimes value the art, science and freedom of thought and participatory government that we have.
It was an illuminating book. That said the overt sexuality of those conditioned to accept this society, a major part of that conditioning, may be too much for some readers. It is integral to an understanding of the process where science could be used to control a populous however. Since young adults and teens do not have a mature or complete picture of this part of adult life the book could be very confusing to them. It should be noted especially that modern public school students may believe they have a full concept and should be encouraged to reread the book as an adult if they do not save it for college.
This volume contains a letter from Huxley to Orwell which places the books and the authors in  contexr.

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