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Aldous Huxley

Imagery Analysis

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          Aldous Huxley was raised as an intellectual, he even graduated from Oxford University, and hence his writings portray that elevated language and usage of literary devices such as imagery. Aldous Huxley utilizes mainly visual, auditory, sensory, and kinesthetic imagery in his major work to further emphasize the beauty yet cynical aspect of human life. This page would try to portray Aldous Huxley usage of imagery in his major works from his two acclaim books, Brave New World and Island.

            To commence, Aldous Huxley’s book Brave New World has been considered one of Huxley’s best work and it is also a best-seller around the world. It portrays a government created utopia by means of technology and drugs. Huxley shows a very cynical and skeptical outlook of the world in this book with his use of visual imagery. The visual imagery he portrays in Brave New World is very vivid and negative and to some, even grotesque. He exemplifies violence as well to further emphasize his critical view of this government made utopia. For example, in chapter one he writes, “Big bowls, packed tight with blossom. Thousands of petals, ripe-blown and silkily smooth, like the cheeks of innumerable little cherubs, but of cherubs, in that bright light, not exclusively pink and Aryan, but also luminously Chinese, also Mexican, also apoplectic with too much blowing of celestial trumpets, also pale as death, pale with the posthumous whiteness of marble.” (Huxley 1) This is an example of the visual imagery he portrays; it is so explicitly written that the reader can actually visualize the color of the roses and that of the people. In his work, Huxley writes using light and dark colors in abundance to symbolize the tone and feelings of a scene. Moreover, he can easily change his direction from writing soothing lines to more grotesque and violent ones. For instance, in that same scene of the nursery Huxley writes, “There was a violent explosion. Shriller and ever shriller, a siren shrieked. Alarm bells maddeningly sounded. The children started, screamed; their faces were distorted with terror.” (3) This sentence is also an example of auditory imagery; one can actually visualize and hear the babies yelling with terror from that loud noise.

            Furthermore, in Brave New World Huxley also focuses on kinesthetic and sensory imagery. An example of kinesthetic imagery is shown in chapter 11 Linda is describing her inner emotions about life itself and her dependence of the drug soma. “The return to civilization was for her the return to soma, was the possibility of lying in bed and taking holiday after holiday, without ever having to come back to a headache or a fit of vomiting, without ever being made to feel as you always felt after peyotl, as though you'd done something so shamefully anti-social that you could never hold up your head again. Soma played none of these unpleasant tricks.”  He focuses on the emotions that the main characters are feelings and with his use of kinesthetic imagery, the reader can see and in a way experience those same emotions as well. An example of Huxley’s use of sensory imagery is seen in chapter 15, “Carrying water pistols charged with a powerful unaesthetic, four others had pushed their way into the crowd and were methodically laying out, squirt by squirt, the more ferocious of the fighters.”

            Moreover, in his last novel, Island, Aldous Huxley also uses gustatory imagery to emphasize on the rituals of the natives and their beliefs to thank their God when they eat. For example, “first mouthful of each course---chewed and chewed until there's nothing left of it. And all the time you're chewing you pay attention to the flavor of the food, to its consistency and temperature, to the pressures on your teeth and the feel of the muscles in your jaw." (Huxley 141) These sentences are beautifully written and in a very descriptive manner that the reader can even taste and savor the food. The other senses, such as auditory are also expressed by Huxley in his book Island. For instance, in the scene when Will asked the Principal about the movements the people were doing is an example of auditory imagery:  “So stamp it out," the children were chanting in unison. And they stamped their small sandaled feet with all their might. "So stamp it out!" A final furious stamp and they were off again, jigging and turning, into another movement of the dance” (228)