Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Women of dystopias

Women of dystopiasWomen of dystopias prevailing pistillate stereotypes in Huxleys and Orwells fiction Dystopias as a musical genre act an takeing aesthetic and psychological challenge. Their view of the future is fixed in the past or the present, and as such, be in danger of non transcending the limitations of their own cultural and sociological context. A certain aspect of dystopias is the ever-present human distinction of wishing to solve problems. By projecting the issues of the present into the future, by removing the specific detailors surrounding ones quandary, one wishes to see a clearer image, to achieve some sort of enlightenment. Dystopias are the perfect genre for that other common human trait (connected to the aforementioned penchant for problem-solving) of presenting the worst that may come to pass (sometimes metaphorically pointing a finger and yelling I told you so). Yet in such exercises of the mind, the subject of authorial objectivity inevitably arises w hen writing a dystopia, how far removed should the subject matter be from ones perceived concreteity? Since a dystopia is to momentous degree a heavily satirized transmogrification of ones substantive world, this seems a contradiction in shapes. Yet in not being sufficiently willing or able to remove oneself from the conventionally perceived notions and ideals of ones society, one runs the risk (as the author of a dystopia) of compromising the authenticity of ones fictional universe. An argument could be made that this is the field with George Orwells 1984 and Aldous Huxleys Brave New World the fashion in which female characters are portrayed in twain novels conjures up a sense of the misogyny of the authors, or else than a truly dystopian perception of women. The post-war (WWI in the case of Huxley, WWII in the case of Orwell) mentality and internalized misogyny of both Huxleys and Orwells time is palpably present in the characters of Linda and Lenina, respectively Winstons mother and Julia. By examining these crucial mother and lover characters in their most significant scenes, several interesting parallels can be drawn amongst the authors treatment of their female characters. The fact that both Huxley and Orwell focus primarily on the female archetypes of lover and mother is in itself quite revealing. The use of these archetypes is not bound to the figures of Linda, Lenina or Winstons mother and Julia in Brave New World, every woman falls into all category. All women of the modern world are potential lovers their pneumatic bodies (an adjective interestingly enough notwithstanding used in conjunction with womens bodies and furniture1) free for the taking (and freely offered up, at that). Mother as a term is used to describe everything that is the opposite of a carefree, lustful existence aging, sagging, embarrassment and taboo. No corresponding term exists to embarrass men as Huxley puts it, the term buzz off is a scatological rather than a p ornographic impropriety2. This hierarchy of shame resurfaces during Bernard and Leninas visit to Malpais the old man (the first old person whom Lenina sees) is draw in three lines, whilst Linda, the Savages mother, is described in a lengthy paragraph, containing visual, olfactory and tactile references. This grotesque mother-figure is apparent in 1984 as well, although described in a rather more oblique fashion. The reference to monstrous women with brick-red forearms3 (p.86), and the nomer Mrs. which with some women one used () instinctively4 (p.22), all point to an internalized image of motherhood which Orwell uses to juxtapose with the thoroughgoing(a) (and insipid) Katherine, and the lustful (and cunning) Julia. Motherhood, or rather the absence of any true motherhood (in the sense of being allowed to openly care for, and show affection for ones children) are fundamental themes in 1984, thus one understands the need to extrapolate on the concept yet the occasionally dropped adjective, such as the aforementioned monstrous and the categorization of women into Mrs. and non-Mrs. types points to an external, rather than any internal set of value that could exist in the universe of 1984. The characters described in the novel have all grown up in the system (perhaps with Winston having a slight remembrance of life before Big Brother), thus it seems odd that for example Julia should use terms like a original womans frock5 (p.149) accepting that these items (frocks and high-heels instead of the overalls and practical shoes of the Party) could be found amongst the proles, one is tempted to ask why Julia would refer to them as real. The term real woman is incredibly relative, and has done time come to refer to everything from Rubenesque figures and unpainted faces to willowy, dramatically made-up women. In this context, real woman could by default only refer to the overall and flat-shoe wearing, chaste women of the Party. This cognitive dissonance becomes an issue in Brave New World as well the Savages view of women is problematic at best. Having grown up amongst the people of Malpais, it is strange that he should become so completely enamoured with Lenina, to the point of regarding her beauty as not only exquisite, but normative. His world-view is explained through him having come into contact with Shakespeares works at an early age, yet this does not explain the curious exclusion in his intendedness of anything lustful, ribald or risqu in the very plays that he idolizes. His mother-complex is more explicable (at least in a psychological sense), yet becomes rather distracting in its one-sidedness. John is a protector-figure, a develop knight in white armour who unsuccessfully tries to rescue his mother from her self-initiated sexual behaviour. His attempted murder of Pop is symbolical of a masculinity which is again a projection of an external masculinity onto that of the world of Brave New World. Mother, monogamy, romance (), the mantra that the brave new world has rejected is the one that he metaphorically repeats again and again to himself. Thus, the true conflict arises between him, and Mustafa Mond, arbiters of these two masculinities rendering the women secondary characters, objects of either feelings of lust, or protectiveness. As Goldstein rightly points out by quoting Easthope, this is present in 1984 as well, in the dynamics of Winston and OBriens relationship Winston, who frequently shows misogynist feelings, disavows Julia and heterosexual desire, accepts his unconscious homosexuality, and loves OBrien and Big Brother (p.52).6 In fact, in the light of this statement, what becomes increasingly obvious is the complete lack of intellectual women in either Brave New World or 1984. Women are incapable of introspection in either novel Julia is described as cunning and shrewd, but also as having a short attention span, and no real powers of analysis. Schweickart rightfully states that Smiths question J ulia, are you awake? could very well be the title of a feminist retelling of 1984.7 (p.4), seeing as how Julia sleeps through Winstons perusal of Goldsteins book, and in general shows no interest in notions not concerning her sexuality. Othering women thus becomes a subconscious but constant theme in both Brave New World and 1984. What is not explained in BNW for example is why lust is exclusively sought by male bodies in female bodies homosexuality is mentioned once in the novel, in the past tense, by Mustafa Mond, referred to as the result of a monogamous, obsessive and repressed lifestyle. Yet surely, in a society where cumulative lust is valued beyond all, the gender-binary and heteronormative system of values described by Huxley would make no sense. This again points to a transposed, external set of values, which reference Huxleys world view, rather than anything objectively dystopian. The aforementioned comment of Julias (real woman) poses a similar dilemma rather than refer encing the instances of illicit behaviour committed by Julia, it seems to reference Orwells concept of real womanhood. As Patai points out, Orwells oeuvre contains a tension between his occasional appreciation of women and his dislike of them, especially the abstraction that is usually referred to as the feminine8(p.867). She extrapolates, saying that although men in the world of 1984 fear women because they may be spies, in general the assumptions of male centrality and female otherness have survived intact. Julias love for Winston makes him healthier, whereas OBriens attentions destroy him physically but Winstons true alliance, as we have seen, is with OBrien, who engages him as a worthy opponent a recognition that means more to Winston than Julias love. 9(p.867). This covert dismissal of his and Julias love is apparent in the terms that Winstonchooses to describe it with it is a hopeless fancy, yet he also dismisses the washerwomans song about such a hopeless fancy because he co nsiders the song and the woman meaningless and mechanical10 (p.46). The Savage is equally fanciful in his relationship with Lenina he constructs an ideal to which she unsurprisingly fails to live up to, and goes from considering his hand unworthy to touch her to quoting Othello at her, and getting physically violent. Yet his disappointment is in her moral nature in her refusal to be passive, and to be worshipped by him. True kinship is masculine, in both 1984 and Brave New World. There seems to be a rather disturbing notion in connection with this male kinship it is somehow connected to off mothers, or rather mothers who could never truly live up to the ideal of motherhood (both a physical, and spiritual ideal, as we shall see). Winston keeps connecting his mother (who was first described as a statuesque, brave woman) to various grotesque (term as used by Orwell) figures of womanhood, most notably the woman who vomits copiously next to him in the preliminary detainment booth ( She might, thought Winston, be his mother. (p.240)). The Savages mother, Linda, is also presented as the most grotesque female figure in the narrative of Brave New World (grotesque both as defined by the internal system of values of the novel, and the external ones of the author and readership). These absurd instances contain something of the freak-show within them a voyeuristic, almost fetishistic obsession with the female form, and within that category, the most sacred one, that of the mother. Within the context of the archetype, it is understood that mothers are not sexual beings thus the reference to the prostitute that Winston visits as being his mothers age, or to Linda sleeping with Pop are playing with taboo, trying to titillate the readers sense of the inappropriate through reference to the heteronormative sense of order. Overall, one experiences a striving on the part of both authors to order women into easily identifiable categories (mothers and (m)others), thus not re ally challenging or redefining their own societies respective views on women. Thus, regardless of the fact that both Huxley and Orwell manage to create complex fictional universes (arguably Orwells being more sophisticated than Huxleys), their views on women are seemingly transposed in their entirety without conscious criticism or willingness to challenge the reader.Works consulted* Goldstein, Philip, Orwell as a (Neo)conservative The Reception of 1984, The Journal of the Midwest novel Language Association, Vol. 33, No. 1 (Winter, 2000), pp. 44-57 Published by Midwest redbrick Language Association, Stable URL http//www.jstor.org/stable/1315117* Patai, Daphne, Gamesmanship and Androcentrism in Orwells 1984. PMLA, Vol. 97, No. 5 (Oct., 1982), pp. 856-870, retrieved from http//www.jstor.org/stable/462176* Schweickart, Patsy, Orwell Revisited, The Womens Review of Books, Vol. 2, No. 2 (Nov., 1984), pp. 3-4,Published by elderly City Publishing, Inc. Stable URL http//www.jstor.org/stab le/4019466* Orwell, George, 1984, London, Penguin Books (1989)* Huxley, Aldous, Brave New World, http//www.hedweb.com/huxley/bnw1 Huxley, Aldous, Brave New World, (http//www.hedweb.com/huxley/bnw/four.html the pneumatic sofas2 Ibid, http//www.hedweb.com/huxley/bnw/ten.html3 Orwell, George, 1984, London, Penguin Books (1989)4 Ibid5 Ibid6 Goldstein, Philip, Orwell as a (Neo)conservative The Reception of 1984, The Journal of the Midwest Modern Language Association, Vol. 33, No. 1 (Winter, 2000), pp. 44-57 Published by Midwest Modern Language Association, Stable URL http//www.jstor.org/stable/13151177 Schweickart, Patsy, Orwell Revisited, The Womens Review of Books, Vol. 2, No. 2 (Nov., 1984), pp. 3-4,Published by Old City Publishing, Inc. Stable URL http//www.jstor.org/stable/40194668 Patai, Daphne, Gamesmanship and Androcentrism in Orwells 1984. PMLA, Vol. 97, No. 5 (Oct., 1982), pp. 856-870, retrieved from http//www.jstor.org/stable/4621769 Ibid10 Goldstein, Philip, Orwell as a (Neo )conservative The Reception of 1984, The Journal of the Midwest Modern Language Association, Vol. 33, No. 1 (Winter, 2000), pp. 44-57 Published by Midwest Modern Language Association, Stable URL http//www.jstor.org/stable/1315117

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