Lenina Crowne Brave New World Analysis

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In the words of historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, “well-behaved women seldom make history.” Throughout history, women have defied the gender roles that oppress them in order to have a greater sense of control over their lives, and achieve their goals. Defiance of gender roles have brought forth significant changes such as the extension of political rights such as suffrage to women throughout the world, as well as female achievement in male-dominated fields such as science and politics. However, gender roles and the defiance thereof has played a major role in not only history, but also in literature. Gender roles in literary works such as Macbeth, Brave New World, and Antigone serve to both drive the plot and influence the decisions made by…show more content…
It is clear early in the plot of the book that Lenina is trying to break free of traditional gender roles when, despite that she is still promiscuous, she is revealed to have “been going with Henry Foster for four months without having had another man, and this is in defiance of what she knows to be the properly promiscuous code of sexual behavior” (Firchrow 328). The dissonance between Lenina’s defiance and the societal expectations of female promiscuity in the World State is embodied in the discussion between her and her friend, Fanny Crowne, who declares that “it’s such horribly bad form to go on and on...with one man,” noting “how strongly the D.H.C. objects to anything intense or long-drawn,” and that Henry Foster would “be furious if he knew” of Lenina’s more monogamous behavior (Huxley 41). However, caring little for societal expectations of women, and with little concern for male approval, Lenina continues her unconventional behaviors. Therefore, despite the fact that she does behave promiscuously, it is her unwillingness to change the ways in which she pursues romantic and physical relationships for the sake of conformity or male approval that…show more content…
Despite this, this rejection is significant not only in history, but also in various literary works. In William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Lady Macbeth defied traditional gender roles in order to successfully manipulate her husband, Macbeth, out of greed for power, leading him down a path of murder and paranoia that ultimately resulted in their respective downfalls. Lenina Crowne of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World refuses to conform to the gender roles of either the World State or the Savage Reservations, choosing to be promiscuous yet monogamous. This defiance allows her to have a greater sense of control over her sexuality than other women, thus granting herself a sense of sexual liberation that impacts her relationships with men, as well as her views of the culture of the World State. The titular character of the Greek tragedy Antigone defies gender roles in order to defy Creon’s corrupt edict that forbids the burial of Polyneices, which allows her to unashamedly honor her brother without fear that she, as a woman, lacks the strength to defy authority. This defiance is the main focus of the plot, and impacts Antigone’s relationships with other characters in the play, and also the lives of the other characters. Overall, gender roles in literary works such as Macbeth, Brave New World, and Antigone serve to drive the plot and influence the decisions

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