Date of submission
Loss of Sovereignty in “The Loss of the Creature” and “Brave New World”
In “The Loss of the Creature,” Percy debunks his experiential opinion on new things within his environment and that of the beholder and the social strata they belong. He uses different examples of tourists and locals experiencing nature in a different ways. Percy explores two sides of experience; first time encounter with new things on a new level and regaining experiences. Percy believes regaining experience is achievable (Bartholomae and Petrosky 97).
In Brave New World, Huxley explores a society’s quest for peace and social stability. The society is hinged on emotions, beauty, true relationship, and love. Huxley wrote a fictions piece of satire devoid of prophecies on science. Brave New world is a sinister, unsetting, and loveless place, endowed with features aimed at estranging the audience. The novel illustrates the feeling that disturbs the readers mind with a description of a vanquished society. (Huxley 2).
These books have quite similar themes. One major theme presented is the loss of sovereignty. Various events and experiences of the characters in these books point to their loss of sovereignty. Characters in the books are stripped of the rights to make their own independent decisions. Different forces in the society have robbed the characters their freedom of choosing how to lead, plan, and live their lives. The people are however are not aware that some of the things they cling to, which are dear to them, are the same things, which rob them of their sovereignty. Therefore, the loss of sovereignty in these books is mostly experienced unconsciously, even though it has negative influence on the characters. Being a representation of the real world, the authors of these books try to show us the different ways in which we have lost our sovereignty in society.
In Huxley’s novel loss of sovereignty emerges when science and technology is used in society to lead to totalitarianism. For instance, the state uses powerful technology to control people’s reproduction. People lose their sovereignty, as they cannot make independent decisions on their reproduction. Consumerism is another loss of sovereignty of people to the state and corporations. Due to people’s quest for happiness, there is manufacture of High-Tec entertainment mediums and increased consumption of these. Therefore, manufacturers, states, and corporations decide what products they will produce for the people. This way, the people lack power to decide what they want, hence loss of their sovereignty. Huxel also warns against an overly powerful state. This state runs on high technology, surveillance, torture, and secret police. The leaders are tyrannical, but wear the ‘goodness masks’ by ensuring citizens’ happiness, when in real sense, they limit their freedom. This is loss of sovereignty by citizens since the government makes most decisions and the citizens are under constant surveillance.
In The Loss of the Creature, loss of sovereignty is propagated by educational systems and classifications in society. Interactions among the characters portray the aspect of loss of sovereignty. For instance, the American couple loses their sovereignty to their ethnologist friend when they want him to agree that their experience in the Indian village was awesome. By asking him to certify the awesomeness of their experience, this couple gave their power of decision-making to the ethnologist. They want him to acknowledge their dancing style as interesting, and therefore unconsciously lose their sovereignty to the ethnologist.
In The Loss of the Creature, the sightseer’s surrender to the expert is a loss of sovereignty. Poor people may envy the rich, and the underprivileged may envy the privileged, the same way a reader may surrender their sovereignty to the experiences read. The American young man who visits France and experiences a riot in a restaurant surrenders his sovereignty to the experiences of French book he read. He delights in of this event since he relates to it. The pleasure he derives from this experience therefore means he has surrendered his sovereignty to the experiences he read in the book. In another case, a nonprofessional finds a strange object and returns it to the owner, and is rewarded. He does not care to find out what the object is due to his ignorance, claiming that he lacks expertise to unravel it. In this case, sovereignty of the nonprofessional is lost to the experts.
In Huxley’s New Brave World, a citizen of same origin as Shakespeare easily reads Shakespearean tales than a Harvard Sophomore. Similarly, in The Loss of the Creature, a Falkland Islander can easily spy a dead dogfish and work on it, than a Scarsdale pupil can. In these cases, the Harvard Sophomore and the Scarsdale pupil lose their sovereignty of experience, as their educational system has turned them into consumers of prepared experiences. Sovereignty is lost through theories, which devalue the experiences of different societies when they are published. The people therefore lose the sovereignty of their experiences.
In both books, loss of sovereignty results in the structure of society. The nonprofessional becomes a consumer, who finds a place in the classification and theories of consumers in society. He also loses his ownership rights. However, Percy argues that this can only be solved by struggling to repossess our rightful places in society. In both books, regaining experience is achievable, so is sovereignty.
Bartholomae, David, and Anthony, Petrosky. Ways of Reading: An Anthology for Writers. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2008. Print.
Huxley, Aldous (ed). Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. New York, NY: Facts on File, Incorporated, 2009. Print.
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