I want to do a short series on some of the apocalyptic literature that I think is part of Classic Literature canon. Many authors have written novels about a possible future, filled with some variety of disaster. Although I am not usually a big fan of science fiction, I have really enjoyed some of these apocalyptic stories. So the first one I'm going to discuss is Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, written in 1931.
With all of these controlling forces, individual identity has been eliminated. People cannot think for themselves, nor do they want to. In the story, the main character, Bernard Marx, leaves civilization to visit a "savage" reservation in which people have maintained the old version of community. In this reservation, the people are horrified by the lack of emotion and individualism the "civilized" people display. Bernard takes two exiles back with him: John, who was born in the reservation, and his mother, who escaped there and yet never fit in. When John comes to the "perfect" society, he instantly becomes a celebrity because of his individual attitude and yet he is absolutely miserable in this society. I won't give away the ending, but it's worth reading what happens.
The moral of the story is that "happiness" is not as valuable as it appears. Perhaps our end goal in life is not to be happy. Perhaps we just need to redefine happiness. Many philosophers over the years have claimed that all we want is happiness. But in my life, I think it is the difficult things that have made me learn and grow the most. It is in the tough times that I was able to figure out who I am and become better. Yes, I treasure being happy, but that is not what life is all about. In the form of satire, Huxley criticized many of the ideals that were held in his society. Moreover, he did this explicitly, giving his characters easily recognizable names of his contemporaries. I loved this book and ate it up in just one day. I think it illustrates some very important problems within our culture in an interesting, apocalyptic way.