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Aldous Huxley

Literary Devices

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            Aldous Huxley was an intellectual who utilized literary devices in all of his works, including novels, poetry, and essays. To better explain some of the literary devices that Aldous Huxley used in his books, his books Brave New World and Island would be the main focus.

            In Brave New World, his usage if visual imagery is seen throughout the novel to clearly described the characters and the scenes in the novel. One example of his use of visual imagery is shown in chapter 11 when he describes the appearance of Linda. “Finally–and this was by far the strongest reason for people's not wanting to see poor Linda–there was her appearance. Fat; having lost her youth; with bad teeth, and a blotched complexion, and that figure (Ford!)–you simply couldn't look at her without feeling sick, yes, positively sick.” Huxley vividly describes Linda’s appearance and with his use of visual imagery he made her seen grotesque and displeasing to view of others. Moreover, he also uses dialogue to stress to some extent the human qualities that these so-not-human people possess. “Well, Lenina," said Mr. Foster, when at last she withdrew the syringe and straightened herself up. "Henry!" Her smile flashed redly at him–a row of coral teeth. "Charming, charming," murmured the Director and, giving her two or three little pats, received in exchange a rather deferential smile for himself. "What are you giving them?" asked Mr. Foster, making his tone very professional. "Oh, the usual typhoid and sleeping sickness." (chapter 1)

            Furthermore, Huxley also uses personification in his writings, as it is seen here in a sentence from Brave New World. “Eternity was in our lips and eyes”. (chapter 18) Here, Huxley personified “eternity”, which is an abstract idea as a living thing to give emphasis to the love and desperation that the Savage was feeling as he was missing his beloved Lenina. In that same chapter, Aldous Huxley also used a hyperbole when Bernard asked the savage if he had eaten something that had made his stomach upset due to his ill-looking face. Hence the Savage responded with “I ate civilization”. Huxley hyperbolized the situation, and by using such a hyperbole he made the scene appear more important. Moreover, although the sentence is short, the meaning is sharp and grand.

            In addition, in his other great novel Island, Aldous Huxley used rhyme to make the sentence appear more appealing to the reader. “I am a crowd, obeying as many laws/ As it has members. Chemically impure/ Are all 'my' beings. There's no single cure/ For what can never have a single cause.” (66) Also, by using rhyme, which is soothing and relaxing in nature, Huxley perhaps wanted to correlate his peaceful dystopia of that of Island to a soothing and relaxing environment. He also used repetition to emphasize the after life, after a character’s husband died. “Somewhere between brute silence…/ Somewhere between Calvin on Christ…/ Somewhere between our soiled…” (85) By using repetition, although the death of the woman’s husband it’s unimportant, Huxley is trying to make the rituals of the people of the Island and their belief of death appear important. Huxley uses a metaphor too when he described the god Bhairave, “O you the creator, you the destroyer, you who sustain and make an end” (167) At the beginning he didn’t addressed the god as Bhairave, didn’t give it a name, but just called it the creator and destroyer. Hence, this sentence is also an example of an oxymoron. The Bhairave is considered the creator of all things, yet he is also the destroyer, highlighting how important and powerful the god is.  

            Aldous Huxley also writes with paradox in his books, and such paradox is seen in Island. “You are the lord of life, and therefore I have brought you flowers; You are the lord of death, and therefore I have brought you my heart—” (167) He described the god Shiva as the lord of the living as well as the lord of the dead, which does not really correlate with the usual views that two distinct gods or powerful beings exist for the living and for the dead. Moreover, Aldous Huxley uses alliteration in Island also, “Pully, hauly, tug with a will;/The gods wiggle-waggle but the sky stands still.” This is also an example of onomatopoeia.