'Brave New World:' Questions for Study and Discussion

A selection of Brave New World covers.

alaina buzas/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Brave New World is one of the most controversial and best-known works of Aldous Huxley. In this dystopian novel first published in 1932, Huxley foretold technological advances in many facets of society — including test-tube babies, sleep learning, etc. The novel has been listed as one of the top English-language books of the 20th century. It is often read in English classes and is a popular choice in book clubs. Here are a few questions for study and discussion.

Brave New World Study and Discussion Questions

  • What is important about the title?
  • Why is the society in Brave New World considered dystopian rather than utopian? Do you agree? Would you want to live in the World State? Why or Why not?
  • How do you think the culture in Huxley's World State compares to our current culture? Why did John find the World State to be an empty society? 
  • What are the conflicts in Brave New World? What types of conflict (physical, moral, intellectual, or emotional) did you notice in this novel?
  • How does Aldous Huxley reveal his character in Brave New World?
  • What are some themes in the story? How do they relate to the plot and characters?
  • What are some symbols in Brave New World? How do they relate to the plot and characters?
  • Is Bernard consistent in his actions? Who is he? How does he relate with others? What is his position in society? Is he a fully developed character? How? Why?
  • Compare/contrast Bernard with John (the Savage).
  • How does the Reservation compare with Bernard's society?
  • How do you feel about the use of the drug soma in the novel? Would you take soma if it were available?
  • Do you find the characters likable? Are the characters people you would want to meet?
  • Does the story end the way you expected? How? Why?
  • What is the central or primary purpose of the story? Is the purpose important or meaningful?
  • How essential is the setting to the story? Could the story have taken place anywhere else?
  • Why has the book been controversial? Is Brave New World believable? Do you think its main events could really take place?
  • What is the role of women in the text? How are mothers represented? What about single/independent women?
  • Do you think Brave New World exhibits feminist ideas?
  • Do you think the World Society has actually achieved the racial and gender equality it claims to have? Why or why not?
  • What do you think of the roles of freemartins in the World State? Are they an oppressed group?
  • Would you recommend this novel to a friend?