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Prompts for Cross-curricular Brave New World Research Essay

Write an informative/explanatory essay to examine and convey complex ideas,


concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection,
organization, and analysis of Brave New World and secondary resources.
1) Sciences: How can seemingly benign technological, psychological, or cognitive
advances pose threats to basic human freedoms? Do you believe there have
been such advances since the publication of Huxleys novel? Which ones and
why?
2) Biology and Technology: The Bokanovsky process is described in detail at the
beginning of this book to set the context from which the reader can view the
society. When BNW was written the idea of creating a scientific process for
producing human beings was purely science fiction but within less than a
century of the publication, several different scientific methods for producing
both human beings and single human organs has become a real and necessary
reality. Compare and contrast the Bokanovsky Process with at least two similar
scientific processes used in the last 50 years. How close was Huxley to
predicting the future of science? Does art imitate life or does life imitate art?
(Was there a need for this process or did it evolve out of the desire of scientists
to play God)

3) Chemistry: The idea of a drug which does not produce any negative side effects
was a utopian like idea in the world of the 1930s. There were several parts of
life which people craved escape from (The Great Depression, Recovering from
WWI, Political Schisms and Genocides which would ultimately result in WWII)
but there was no reliable source for reliable cognitive escape. The idea of a
soma like substance is still a sci-fi idea, but with the help of a boom in the
field of technology within the last two decades all fields of medical science
including pharmaceutical chemistry have accelerated their findings at an
alarming rate. Using research in the field of pharmaceutical chemistry do you
believe a soma like substance will come into existence in the near future? How
near and why? How do you think such a substance would be used in our
society? Is this similar or different to its purpose in BNW? How and why?
4) Psychology: The children of different castes within Brave New World are
conditioned to like and dislike varying activities based on their predetermined
futures. Conditioning is a real scientific (psychological) process which B.F.
Skinner and Pavlov founded in the early 20th century. What was known about
conditioning at the time of the novels first publication? What do we know about
conditioning now which contradicts the assumptions in the novel? How is
conditioning used in our culture today? Is it more similar or different from the
uses in BNW society?

5) Psychology: It seems undeniable that most World State members are happy,
though people like John, Bernard, and Helmholtz might criticize the quality of
their lives. What, then, is wrong with World State society? Discuss the
relationship between truth and happiness, and the use of soma?

6) Psychology, Social Studies, and Health: Escapism- Analyze the role of sexuality
in the novel. The Director remarks that, feeling lurks in that interval of time
between desire and its consummation (44). Is promiscuity ultimately satisfying
for the characters in the novel? Is the fact that the novel only mentions
heterosexuality problematic? Are women in the novel empowered or harmed by
promiscuity? Is Johns view of sexuality preferable to Leninas, or is it just as
harmful?
7) History, Politics, and Science: The separation of people based on intelligence
and physical attributes creates a caste system in BNW which reflects similar
ideals of advancement during the time in which BNW is produced. Eugenics,
racial cleansing, and the pseudo-science (then considered a legitimate science)
of phrenology were experiencing strong support by several governments. What
are the principle beliefs of these ideas and do you believe Huxley was
supporting or disproving these systems? Why? What is their purpose? Look into
how the castes of BNW are distinguished from each other. Do you think they
reflect any aspect of contemporary society (1930s Europe) or are they simply a
hypothetical consequence of a society like the World State?
THE (NOT SO) FINE PRINT:
This essay should be typed, double spaced, 12 point font, Times New Roman with
proper MLA heading and formatting, including an original title. The essay should be
between 1000-1500 words (approximately 4-5 pages) in length and thoroughly answer
ALL aspects of the prompt.
This is a research essay which means you must incorporate sources beyond Brave New
World to demonstrate and broaden your understanding of the concepts found within
the novel. Your research needs to include at least 2 reliable secondary sources. These
can be scholarly journal articles, news articles from a source which is published
beyond the web (New York Times.com- yes; Buzzfeed.com or Wikipedia.com- no), or
non-fiction books. One of your secondary sources can include any science article from
the unit, but the others must be ones you found while researching the topic
independently (without another students help). An MLA format works cited page
listing all secondary sources should be the last page of your paper.
Upon finishing the essay RE-READ the prompt to make sure you have answered all
questions. Answering self-posed questions in relation to the topic is encouraged as well
(and may be necessary to produce an essay of adequate length). Good luck!

Turn it in Check List:


MLA format heading
Times New Roman, 12pt
1 inch margins on all sides
Answered prompt in its entirety
5 paragraphs
Page numbers with last name in top right corner
At least two reliable secondary sources
At least one secondary source was found by me
MLA format works cited page
Re-read prompt and essay to ensure all questions were answered
Re-read essay for 3rd time checking for spelling and grammatical errors