“Religion plays a key role in dystopian fiction.” With reference to The Children of Men and Brave New World, how far do you agree with this statement?
Sixty years separate the publication of the dystopias The Children of Men and Brave New World, but both authors express their depictions of a future world in which religion is drastically changed, and not for the better. Religion and spirituality serve a number of purposes in the two novels, most notably to illustrate the difference between our society and their dystopian society, and also to show the importance of faith in overcoming the difficulties which human beings face.
The plot of The Children of Men centres around the struggle of a dissident group to help one of their number give
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This is subtly reinforced by Huxley’s imagery when we are told that Lenina, when talking to John the Savage, “drove her sharp nails into the skin of his wrist,” producing connections with the image of Jesus nailed by the wrist to the cross, as John, like Jesus, is a victim of society’s inability to accept him. Theo Faron’s comparison with Jesus is a more positive one, as he is portrayed as the representative of the Christian faith and the possible saviour of a society in decline. Theo has a name meaning “God’s Gift” in Greek, yet another subtle religious symbol used by James. Theo does not possess a strong faith at the beginning of the novel, not necessarily doubting God’s existence, but rather God’s omnibenevolent nature. He states how he feels the world is held together “by pain, the scream in the throat and the scream in the heart.” These are not the feelings of a man possessed with strong faith, yet we do see a change in Theo as the storyline progresses. He becomes, although possibly ignorantly, somebody representative of the Christian faith despite his inability to proclaim it. For example, he is willing to sacrifice himself in order to save Julian’s life, driven by a faith that he picks up because of his love for her. Both John the Savage and Theo Faron are characters admired by the reader for the way they tackle the adversity that they face. Being in a religious minority, the traditional faith of the two characters is associated by the