Tuesday, June 5

Juggling Juxtaposition

Though it succeeded in confusing almost my entire English class, I really enjoyed Aldous Huxley's use of juxtaposition in Brave New World.  I've never experienced anything quite like it before, and it opened a door to so much reflection for me, not to mention inspiration.  I thought it was definitely worth mentioning if only because of how unusual and just... cool it is.  

In Chapter III of Brave New World, Huxley intertwines four narratives: 

1.  Mustapha Mond lecturing a group of students at the Hatching and Conditioning Centre,
2.  Lenina and Fanny having a gossipy conversation,
3.  Bernard Marx overhearing a conversation in the men's room, and
4.  A loop tape which is played while children sleep to brainwash them.

While these narratives interrupt each other only infrequently to begin with, as the chapter goes on, they begin to jut in every couple of sentences or so, until each sentence is a separate narrative.  Practically everyone in my English class managed to get confused, but for someone who actually reads more than one book a year, this chapter was exciting.  These narratives, which were seemingly unrelated, when cut and pasted together in this format, juxtaposed, you can see the links that Huxley was encouraging us to make.  It was like swapping attention mid conversation to another discussion on the other side of the room, only to realise that they are talking about the same thing.  

I have decided to use the same technique in my narrative intervention for the exam.  Having never had the opportunity to juggle juxtaposition like this before, I am excited by the possibilities it offers me to emphasise my point.  I will probably end up sharing the finished story with you, but if you were interested in reading the chapter and experiencing the effect of juxtaposition for yourself, you can find it here:  http://www.huxley.net/bnw/three.html.  It really it worthwhile!

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