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In 2007 two new editions of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World (BNW) were published. In 2008, these were supplemented by two new teaching guides to this novel, which will be discussed below.

Brave New World : a Critical Analysis of Recently Published Didactic Resources. Part II: Analysis of Two New Teaching Guides

Willi Real

The didactic editions reviewed in part I (cf. analysis of two new editions) have now been supplemented by the following teaching manuals:

At first sight there are some similarities between the two publications. Obviously both authors are developing a comprehensive teaching model for one novel only, and each of the two, as it seems to be the custom today, is divided into pre-, while- and post-reading activities. Both authors offer large-format booklets which include a lot of photocopiable worksheets or "copymasters" as they are called in the Cornelsen publications, which is certainly very convenient for teachers and learners. Both teaching guides make use of additional texts which are sometimes very similar or even identical if you think of Bertrand Russell's concept of a scientific future society (cf. part I: analysis of two new editions) or an excerpt of Neil Postman's classical study Amusing Ourselves to Death.(1) In addition, both teaching guides include suggestions for test papers, and there are also brief possible answers to the tasks given. What is striking, however, is that none of the publications has a bibliography or a list of books for further reading: obviously the teacher is not expected to verify anything in secondary sources.

Approaches to BNW

However, there are also many differences between the two guides, which can hardly be overlooked. Heinz Arnold's manual is completely written in English whereas Silke Horst's booklet consists of a combination of English and German, which implies a lot of code switching for the reader. Right from the beginning it may be seen that Arnold has chosen quite a particular approach: in his introduction, he points out that the First World War, the Great Depression, the rise of totalitarian countries (he mentions Huxley's allusions to Russia and to Italy) are responsible for a pessimistic outlook of the future in BNW (p. 3). That is, he describes the economical and political backgrounds, which is meant to improve the understanding of Huxley's "novel of ideas". It is of minor importance here that this term frequently occurs in secondary sources and that Arnold does not quote any.(2) The point is that Arnold, in this part at least, focuses on the text of BNW, which is also followed by a one-page synopsis of its plot (p. 4). Arnold, then, provides the reader with an introduction to the novel without hardly any didactic remarks concerning its teaching in class.

Silke Horst's teaching guide, however, which is based upon Rau's edition of Brave New World, consists of 15 teaching modules and has been tried out in a Leistungskurs (p. 4) by the author herself. Her approach turns out to be quite different from the very beginning.
In a one-page long preface (p. 4), which fulfils the function of an introduction, Horst lists some arguments why BNW is still an attractive novel for today's students: several aspects appeal to their interests, such as the use of drugs, the role of sexuality, the function of consumerism in society, which, for example, is illustrated by the slogan "ending is better than mending". According to the author, other thematic aspects dealt with in BNW are intellectual independence, human rights, gene technology, the dangers of globalisation, etc. (p. 4). It is true that all these aspects represent a set of labels and hypotheses which call for further clarification, yet her approach is a didactic one. The survey on her teaching model includes the subjects and the chapters chosen, the teaching aims and the teaching methods in the individual lessons (pp. 6-7).

This first insight is confirmed by the fact that Horst also claims to use a new methodological approach which is said to be creative, action-orientated and to include independent work by the students. Her concept is said to be based on a contribution by Klaus Hinz published in 1996.(3) This thesis does not reflect the complexity of the didactic discussion surrounding the use of literature in advanced Foreign Language Teaching (FLT). For one thing the concept of student-orientated methods ("schüleraktivierende Methoden") was used by Michael Legutke for example as early as 1985,(4) and the endeavour to go beyond literary analysis by so-called imaginative extensions (i.e. creative tasks) may be found in Collie/Slater only two years later.(5) These authors also give a lot of practical examples belonging to the major literary genres, including the novel, which means that Hinz rather than inventing a completely new approach in reality followed a well-trodden path. This shows that it is insufficient and one-sided to use one article only as a theoretical basis for a new approach. As to Arnold, it has to be kept in mind that there is no explanation of the didactic basis on which his manual is founded.

In addition, Horst claims to use some innovative teaching techniques, for example using a writing conference, placing the students in a double circle, producing a good angel-bad angel role play, applying the touch – turn - talk method, etc. Neither does Silke Horst define these new methods nor does she quote explanations of them from other recent didactic sources. Yet it is possible to derive the specific meaning of these concepts from their contexts, i.e. the teachers have to practise inferential reading. A writing conference for example refers to a period of silent work during which the students are expected to collect first impressions ("stummes Schreibgespräch") which they talk about later (module 1). Placing the students in an inner and outer circle ("Kugellager") is similar to group work in which the groups have to fulfil different tasks (module 3). The use of a good angel-bad angel role play is reminiscent of a debate in which pros and cons are put forward (module 5), whereas the touch – turn – talk - method ("Stafettenpräsentation") implies a presentation technique in which several students choose one item from a list of key concepts in order to give a short talk about it (module 12). Therefore the question remains as to how far these new terms also imply new learning or teaching strategies.

In Arnold's manual the reader finds both familiar terms and familiar concepts of methodology. Classroom procedure is mainly based on the time-honoured question-and answer technique. Of course, the teacher may also choose between oral and written work. Arnold suggests tasks for analysis, discussion, creative writing and students' reports which are based on their own research work. Examples of such presentations by the students are: Henry Ford and the assembly plant, Freud and psychoanalysis, religion and its place in society, etc. (cf. p. 6). The first may be interesting for the description of manufacturing human beings in chapter one, Freud's role may be discussed together with chapter 3, and the function of religion becomes relevant in the context of chapter 17. In addition, he suggests work in small groups at least in the post-reading phase (p. 39; cf. below). On the whole, his methodological suggestions may well be described as orthodox and traditional.

The acquisition of textual knowledge and the first steps in class

Arnold starts from the assumption that the students read the novel at home and, while doing so, take notes in a reading log (p. 6), which should not only contain notes on the usual elements like plot, character, setting, but also striking language items, institutions and practices of the world state and questions concerning personal impressions and difficulties (p. 6). Before they start reading, the major characteristic features of the reading log are to be discussed in class (p. 6). On the one hand, this looks like a practical example of students' cooperation. On the other hand, it should be remembered that a reading log is meant to be similar to a private diary,(6) in which the students may write down their first impressions and spontaneous responses to a piece of literature. In other words, it is meant to start a personal dialogue with a literary work, which is continued by a public communication about it in class. Anyway, in Arnold's concept, in contrast to that suggested by Horst (cf. below), there is at least some room for independent student activity.

According to him the course starts with pre-reading activities right away: Arnold obviously takes the students' motivation for granted. Conversely, Silke Horst offers several modules in order to build up motivation for the reading of the novel. In her pre-reading module (cf. pp. 8-10), the subject gene technology is to be discussed in class. In this context an internet research is recommended to the students: they are asked to read the Wikipedia article on genetic engineering as homework task. It is also possible to download the text, to distribute photocopies for classroom use and to work out the essential information contained in it by a short student's talk. The author also recommends using provocative pictures (WS 1, 2) which may show heads of identical babies growing in flower pots for instance, a cartoon which makes it possible to work out a mind-map (WS 4) and to find systematic categories of genetic engineering such as dangers, ethical problems, uses, methods ....

WS 3 may serve to introduce a vocabulary list which contains more than 40 lexical English items and their German translations which are to be discussed in class. Its first part is about genetic engineering, the second part deals with utopia/dystopia and may be used later (cf. module 14). To my mind, it would be preferable to present the English terms only, to have the students find explanations in English and have them add the phonetic transcription of difficult words.

WS 5 and 6 consist of two newspaper articles which give an answer to the state of cloning research in 2004: it is possible to clone animals, it is not yet possible to clone babies. In this context the teacher may use the following stimuli: Will this be possible/become normal one day? Will it be possible/become conventional that babies grow outside their mothers' womb? This builds a perfect bridge to BNW, namely to the first page of chapter 1. On the whole, this is a good preparation for the novel: it represents an imaginative, varied, and innovative lead-in phase. It is only after the discussion of the novel's introductory scene that the students are told to read the whole text.(7)

In Arnold's manual only half a page is dedicated to pre-reading activities (p. 5). They deal with the novel's title, its epigraph, and two tasks concerning a utopian state which are very similar. The students are expected to write down ten characteristic features of such a state and five paragraphs concerning its organisation, its power, the education of children, the treatment of people and the role of work. As to the title, perhaps some students will remember that its origin is explained in Arnold's edition of BNW (cf. p. 119 and p. 181). Moreover, they are asked to explain its meaning and to find a German translation of it. And the novel's epigraph is meant to serve as a basis for discussion.
In comparison with the programme developed by Horst in her first five modules, Arnold's achievement is rather poor: neither does it ease the learners' reading of the novel nor does it represent a real warming-up for classroom work. Since the first move often is of crucial if not decisive importance, this is a disappointing beginning.

For the acquisition of the text, basically two possibilities exist: either the students read the whole novel independently out of class (cf. Horst, p. 13) or they read it successively chapter by chapter. In order to have the students read the text carefully Silke Horst advises the teachers to make use of the following while-reading tasks. They could ask the students to use a reading log (WS 7), or to fill in diagrams for so-called citizen files (WS 8) or to answer a set of comprehension tasks on a questionnaire (WS 9).

In my opinion, the last task is not very helpful. The questionnaire developed by Horst consists of 18 questions (p. 40), which may be answered by the students in a diagram either at home or later on in class. That is, there is one question for each chapter, which is not very effective as a test and which certainly does not check detailed reading comprehension. In addition, the demands are considerably lower than those for the other two tasks. Moreover, it is a closed task which refers to many chapters which are not dealt with in class in the following teaching modules.

For the first task a diagram is provided as well (p. 39). The author's so-called reading log is somewhat different from that suggested by Arnold (cf. above). It consists of the following categories: the number of each chapter, columns for answers to the essential questions who, where and when, what?, comments and words worth learning. This would mean that the students, just like in task 3, have to answer guiding questions: thus it is a closed task as well, however, one which is much more comprehensive: it would consist of four comprehension questions which have to be answered for each of the 18 chapters. Thus it would mean to answer a sum total of 72 questions – which is very likely to kill all the motivation built up by the warming-up phase described above. And significantly – in contrast to tasks 2 and 3 – the author offers no expected answers, not even model ones for some chapters. Apart from the column for comments, this task, then, has to be considered as a strictly guided comprehension phase - just the opposite of a student-orientated procedure.

What is more serious, is the uncritical use of the concept "reading log". As a technical term, this goes back at least as far as 1992, when Michael Benton encouraged the students to write down in their reading logs:

  • QUESTIONS that you ask yourself about characters and events as you read.
  • MEMORIES from your own experience, provoked by the reading.
  • GUESSES about how you think the story will develop, and why.
  • REFLECTIONS on striking moments and ideas in the book.
  • COMPARISONS between how you behave and how the characters in the novel are behaving.
  • THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS about characters and events.
  • COMMENTS on how the story is being told - for example, words or phrases or even whole passages which make an impression on you.(8)

It is obvious that, according to this definition, a reading log is neither something to be filled in nor something that draws the attention of the reader to certain recurrent aspects. On the contrary, it is an open procedure which may be regarded as a stimulus for the students to collect their first subjective impressions. The use of a reading log, then, is based on the readers' responses which determine classroom methodology. This would mean a substantial change of Horst's first reading task which, as a consequence, would be much better in accordance with her own approach to the novel.

With the second task, the students produce citizen files for eight major characters in BNW, such as Bernard Marx, Helmholtz Watson, Mustapha Mond, John the Savage, etc. The term "citizen file" is perhaps less familiar than the concept of character file. A model diagram is provided by WS 8 (p. 40), which contains the following categories: name/caste/age/profession/outward appearance/hobbies/grade of conformity/achievements for the community .... These may be supplemented by a picture or a photo of the characters.

Later on, Horst recommends discussing four of them in class. As may be seen from the list of possible answers (pp. 13-15), this is quite a demanding task for which a close reading of the novel is absolutely necessary. Arnold also recommends a careful analysis of the major characters, which he explains in a separate chapter (pp. 41-47). Again he pleads for the use of copymasters which are designed to bring out the characters' role in society. According to Arnold, they may be handed out with chapter one, chapter three and as a post-reading activity and be filled in as the students continue reading the novel: thus they are to be classified as long-term tasks. The characters chosen by Arnold are more or less the same as those suggested by Horst: they refer to the (male) representatives of the system (Mond/Director/Foster), to the male dissidents of the system (Bernard, John, Helmholtz), and to the female characters (Lenina and Linda). The last copymaster focuses on their shallow relationships which are also discussed by Horst (cf. below). In this respect the two teaching models resemble each other very much.

Working with the text

As to the major part of Arnold's manual, there is no selection of kernel scenes or individual chapters. Instead there is a section for chapters 1-18 each, which is entitled "Working with the individual chapters" (pp. 7-38). These may be briefly described in the following way. Concerning each chapter there are notes and comments for the teachers, and at least there is one copymaster for the students. All copymasters contain tasks and questions which either refer to the whole chapter (they are general) or to particular features (they are individual). These tasks mainly refer to content, but also include aspects of narrative technique, for example an analysis of point of view in BNW. The tasks refer to discussion points as well (comparison with our society, connections to the students' own lives); in such cases there are no solutions or no suggested answers in the chapter-by-chapter comments for the teacher.

In general, the students are allowed to choose tasks from the copymasters, yet they have to deal with at least two of them. This offer is emphasized together with each individual chapter: "This selection of tasks can be given to the students so that they can decide which task(s) they would like to tackle." This means that the statement quoted is to be found in the booklet eighteen times (e.g. p. 7, 8, 9, etc.). Even if the tasks are to be used for oral and written work, this procedure is unlikely to bring about variety and rhythmicality in the teaching of BNW: on the contrary, classroom procedure will probably be very uniform. The structural pattern in this section of the manual is always the same: first there is a summary of the plot of the individual chapters, and then the answers to the tasks on the copymasters concentrate on text analysis. Additionally, Arnold offers some didactic hints concerning the teaching aims, but he describes neither the practical use of classroom aids nor detailed classroom strategies. His suggestions for a textual programme of study are rather systematic, however, it is for the teacher to develop detailed lesson plans.

On the other hand, Horst's teaching guide is dominated by the principle of selection. During the while-reading phase (pp.10-17), the students are to get familiar with important characteristic features of the world state. It consists of two modules only and is based on chapters 1 and 2 of BNW. After an analysis of the atmosphere in chapter 1, the students are asked to read the rest of this chapter at home, produce a mind map for it and to write down five sentences about people in BNW. In the next lesson the students compare their findings in order to arrive at seven important characteristic statements concerning the world state's citizens. Moreover, in a classroom discussion, the description of cloning in chapter 1 may be contrasted with the state of cloning research today. As homework, the students have to prepare the second chapter of BNW. The second module serves two purposes. First it may be used in order to characterize the Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning, i.e. to fill in the different columns of his citizen file. Since he seems to be very fond of rhetorical devices, their analysis may also be a preparation for the first test. Chapter 2 is also interesting in two other respects, namely conditioning and sleep teaching, which will be discussed in module 4.

According to the system of classification chosen by Silke Horst, the major part of textual analysis of the novel (Arnold's chapter "Working with the individual chapters"; cf. above) belongs to a section entitled "Post-Reading Modules" (pp. 17-27): all in all, it consists of ten modules which are relevant after the reading of the text.
It begins with the world state's motto (module 3). The students are expected to realize that its function is a propagandistic one: there is no real community because of the state's hierarchical structure with the world controllers at its top. In this society, identity means sameness or uniformity, and stability is its ultimate aim, a subject which is taken up again later (cf. module 7). Module 4 deals with conditioning and hypnopaedia: it is based on an internet research and WS 10 so that the students get informed about Ivan Pavlov's classical experiments and their refinements by John B. Watson. This part is supplemented by a discussion of the use of hypnopaedia and conditioning today: the students are asked what one can learn via sleep-teaching.

Besides, the post-reading modules deal with the use of soma, with the function of the solidarity services (module 6). Here the author suggests using group work and offers quite an impressive range of creative tasks. This module is followed by an analysis of leading characters (cf. the citizen files) and their relationships in the new world state which are illustrated with the help of a diagram (modules 8 + 9): their relationships are strongly influenced by conditioning, by the more or less frequent use of soma, by a lack of privacy, etc. However, there is also one module (number 5) in which the new utopian world is seen from John's perspective and in which its temptations are being discussed; this is based on the text of chapter 11.

Module 10 consists of an analysis of chapter 16, in which a dialogue between Helmholtz Watson, Bernard Marx and John the Savage takes place. This part is supplemented by a panel discussion of the ethical questions which are raised by Huxley's novel (module 11, cf. below) and module 12, in which a revision and summary is supposed to occur during which the author suggests to use the touch - turn - talk presentation.

The last three modules are entitled "additional material" (pp. 27-32). Module 13 deals with the making of BNW and will be discussed below at some length. In module 14 the author starts her suggestions by giving definitions both of "utopia" and "dystopia", which are probably taken from the corresponding article in Wikipedia. Then two passages from chapter 1 of George Orwell's 1984 are presented on WS 23.1. and 23.2, namely the very first paragraphs and the famous passage about Orwell's three paradoxes. Textual analysis consists of the following productive steps: description of the atmosphere in 1984, the protagonist's character, a compact characterisation of the society he is living in. This is supplemented by a comparison of 1984 and BNW, that is by a contrastive analysis of their similarities and differences. If a filmed version is presented, according to Horst, it could be followed by a film specific analysis ("gattungsbezogene Betrachtung"; p. 31).(9)

Module 15 is about Brave New World Revisited. At first sight the reader will be inclined to believe that the last module is based on an excerpt from Huxley's work which first appeared in 1959. This is not the case, though. In fact, the module is based on a summary of some of Huxley's ideas which appeared in a contribution to Cliffs Notes (10) (cf. WS 24.1 and 24.2); thus it is taken from a text about Huxley rather than from one by Huxley. Even if it is not impossible to discuss extracts from critical sources in class, personally I would prefer a text written by Huxley himself because when faced with a secondary source, the students have to take it for granted that the critics describe Huxley's standpoint correctly.
Besides, reading the text of Brave New World Revisited is highly interesting for teachers, not only because of the fact that one may find in it many attractive texts for written test papers. To my mind, it is regrettable as well that Huxley's "Foreword" of 1946, which is reprinted in Rau's edition (pp. 224-234), is no part of Horst's teaching guide: certainly the writer's original text would also be preferable to a critical summary of any other text; an extract from the "Foreword" is recommended by Arnold as a written test paper (cf. pp. 61-62).
One has to admit, however, that the last task the students are expected to do in this unit is highly attractive: they are asked to write an update of this text, i.e. a three-minute speech which Huxley might give on all the TV channels of the world. This is a creative task for the students in which they could point to stem cell research as well as to environmental problems, to the dangers of globalisation or to other problems of the 21st century.

In Arnold's teacher's manual, the chronological discussion of each chapter is followed by some post-reading suggestions. These concern some photocopiable hints for the writing of a personal review of the novel and a list of 15 tasks for group work (pp. 39-40): here the course is to be organized into small groups so that all tasks may be covered. As might be expected, the topics possess a different character and a varying degree of difficulty. Sometimes the students have to do research work. However, Arnold offers no practical help as to which books/articles to read, which encyclopaedias to consult or where to find useful websites. Nor are there any suggested answers as a help for the teachers. On the other hand, there is also a list of creative tasks (p. 39), which are very likely to be motivating and attractive for the students.

It might briefly be mentioned that there is an additional chapter in Arnold which is entitled "Other Aspects of the Novel" (pp. 48-49), which deals with the literary aspects of setting, structure, point of view, and style. Perhaps the most important statement in it is that Huxley satirizes much of the new society, e.g. religion, sexuality, shallow relationships, modern entertainment and advertising (p. 49).

Tentative conclusions

It has been shown that Arnold neither offers classroom-tested activities nor does he develop a clear-cut programme for practical procedure in class. On the other hand, Horst concentrates on methodological problems and gives many practical hints for lesson plans. It has to be admitted that most of her modules certainly look attractive at first sight. However, in sum, comparatively little analysis of the primary source occurs: all in all, extracts from 5 chapters out of 18 are chosen for close reading (1, 2, 5, 11, 16). This is something, but not very much. Yet Horst suggests herself that the teacher may find alternatives (p. 5): the model as a whole is understood as a set of recommendations. If I had to use it in practice, I would try to draw the students' attention to an analysis and evaluation of the primary source in a higher degree. Thus I would like to plead for the following supplementary remarks and changes which, from my point of view, also imply some improvements.

In the booklet under consideration, only the introductory scene of chapter 1 is to be discussed in class. Rather than having the learners read the rest at home I would prefer having all of chapter 1 discussed by teachers and students. In a similar way, as to chapter 2, the author seems to be more interested in a general discussion of the problems than in text analysis: according to her concept, no transfer to BNW is propagated. However, conditioning and hypnopaedia have important functions for the world state: the hatred of nature for example is inculcated in order to increase consumption, and hypnopaedic slogans are a significant tool for maintaining the stability of the world state.

In Horst's approach, chapter 3 is not at all discussed in class, which is highly regrettable since it is the most interesting section of the whole novel in order to analyse experimental narrative technique. The second part of chapter 5 is used for a discussion of the solidarity services. I would suggest discussing the use of soma in a module of its own, which could be based on a collage of quotations from different chapters. This could show that soma is systematically distributed for the purpose of social control and include Mond's provocative hypothesis that soma is "Christianity without tears" (cf. chapter 17; Rau, p. 205). Additionally, I would at least choose one or two chapters of the novel in order to contrast life in the reservation with life in the utopian world state. Finally, the discussion between Bernard Marx, Helmholtz Watson, John the Savage and Mustapha Mond in chapter 16 may be supplemented by more selected passages from chapters 16-17 of BNW so as to work out in class the loss of art, of literature, of religion on the one hand and the denial of individuality, responsibility and humanity on the other hand.
It goes without saying that Arnold's manual could be helpful for substantial improvements in this direction. Yet it would still be the teacher's task to devise a programme for classroom procedure.

Critique of modules 11 and 13

There are two modules in Horst's teaching manual which I would definitely not use in class - at least not in the way as they are presented by the author. To begin with, this concerns module 11, which is supposed to deal with ethical questions raised by BNW. This unit is based on no less than seven worksheets and which consist of: On the one hand, this module is very ambitious because of the large amount of material involved. On the other hand, the approach to its subject is somewhat grotesque if not naive. It is based on the following assumptions: some parents – as a consequence of a powerful campaign in the media - complain that Huxley's message in BNW is too difficult for the students to understand and that the book therefore should be banned from school. This is suggested as a topic for a panel discussion in class.
I wonder whether this can be considered as a real question which is worth while discussing in class. For once, BNW has had a canonical status as a text in FLT for a long period of time. At the same time, the students are likely to know that the novel is obligatory for their final examination. It was only banned in Nazi Germany – probably because it depicted a totalitarian state in a critical light.
Besides, it is unimaginable that this classical novel is now attacked in the German media. Apart from that, I wonder whether parents can be so narrow-minded as to plead for censorship, and that for young adults. Is it conceivable they think that banning is a valuable or effective educational measure?(11)
In my opinion, this is a very artificial question: it deals with a pseudo-problem which is not to be taken seriously, which, in a mock debate, might serve rhetorical purposes at best. Moreover, there is no balance between the amount of preparation required and the results to be expected in class. So the project of a panel discussion concerning banning BNW from school had better be given up completely.

If the teacher wants to organize a debate, he might concentrate on WS 16, i.e. on the text by Neil Postman (12): this may easily be read by all course members as homework and pave the way for a discussion of the following question in class: Do you think that Huxley's or Orwell's prophecies turned out to be true? (formation of two groups). In that case the module would have a completely different focus of attention. Of course, it would have to be placed after module 14.

Again module 13, which is said to deal with the making of BNW, is planned with the help of a great deal of additional material. First of all different groups are to read:

Apart from that, Horst offers:
Again this is a very ambitious unit; certainly, there exist some parallels between the five supplementary texts and BNW. According to Horst, the following results may be derived from all this supplementary material:

"Huxley's motivation for writing Brave New World [italics are missing] seems to stem from
  • the influence of his family and his friend the philosopher Bertrand Russel [sic!].
  • historical movements, such as the disillusionment of the post-war period.
  • the introduction of electricity and mass production.
  • Huxley was also strongly influenced and shocked by his visit to the United States in 1926" (p. 28).

Considering the fact that five additional texts are used, these results are somewhat disappointing. I wonder what Horst's last statement (which does not fit into the syntax of the quotation as a whole) has got to do with the making of BNW. Even if Huxley was shocked by his first visit to the United States (cf. Rau, p. 237), one has to keep in mind as well that he decided to live there for the rest of his life. And Horst does not show that or in what way Huxley was influenced by his first shock. When reading Huxley's biography I don't see any hint as to the formative impact by Huxley's family, and Horst does not quote any textual evidence for that. The hint to mass production, of course, alludes to Ford's introduction of the assembly lines, whereas the invention of electricity helps to support the increasing American trend towards endless amusement also at night. In the text by Bertrand Russell there are several parallels to BNW (belief in one univeral world state, prohibition of literature, docility of the manual workers), and there is at least one interesting general hint as to how conformity is supposed to come about: "In order to produce it, all the researches of psychoanalysis, behaviourism and biochemistry will come into play" (cf. Rau, p. 235).

In Rau's biographical sketch, there is also one hint as to Huxley's original motivation in writing BNW, which however is excluded from Horst's module. In an interview the writer stated:

"Well, that [BNW] started out as a parody of H.G. Wells' [sic!] Men like Gods , but gradually it got out of hand and turned into something quite different from what I'd originally intended. As I became more and more interested in the subject, I wandered farther and farther from my original purpose".(14)

The writer of BNW obviously had a view of mankind's future different from that of Wells whose naive belief in progress and technology he did not share. This can also be seen in Huxley's narrative technique: he uses militant irony ranging from the names of famous scientists, quotations from Shakespeare (cf. title), to the world state's motto, the portrayal of mass production and mass consumption up to promiscuity as sexuality without emotions. Finally, he attacks and ridicules science, which, according to Mustapha Mond, "is a public danger ... we can't allow science to undo its own good work" (cf. Rau, p. 197). In BNW, then, science (apart from an increase of production figures) has not any potential of progress left for improving the future: thus life in the world state means an endless repetition of the past. In other words, stability in the utopian world state implies permanent stagnation.

After all, in this module the students do not learn very much about the genesis of Huxley's longseller: the texts chosen are neither carefully analysed nor appropriate for the subject of this module: they refer to items which are of minor importance in Huxley's vision as a whole. It has been shown elsewhere that BNW draws on many current ideas and competing theories (cf. Russell's hints above): Huxley attacks and parodies the philosophies of prominent contemporary writers, industrialists, and scientists such as Ford, Freud, J.B. Watson, Wells and Pavlov.(15) Therefore, BNW is not only an anti-utopian or a dystopian, but also a satirical novel. Parody and irony are frequent techniques of satire which should also be an integral part of classroom work. Since Horst's discussion concerning the making of BNW does not include this aspect of literary genre, it is very limited. Because of all these deficiencies I would not use module 13 in class.

Linguistic Errors

Now I will have to come back to a comparative critique of both manuals, which concerns the linguistic level. It is no more than a truism to state that there are no books without mistakes. To quote a few examples from Horst's publication:
What do you learn in the first pages of the book: I think it would be correct to say : on the first pages of the book (p. 11).
The compound noun hypnopaedia slogans is sometimes spelled with a hyphen (cf. citizen files for Lenina Crowne on p. 14 and for Linda on p. 15), sometimes it is spelled without a hyphen (cf. citizen file for Helmholtz Watson on p. 14). On p. 18 you find the British spelling "Hypnopaedia" (cf. left column) and the American spelling "Hypnopedia" (cf. right column).
In the citizen file for John the text runs: "Shakespeare helps John to express his emotions and it provides him with a framework ... (p. 15). Apart from the fact that, in my opinion, a comma should come before "and", it would be correct to replace "it" by "his works/his plays provide him with a framerwork".
The following three mistakes are clearly printing errors. Rather than Lenina Clowne the name Lenina Crowne is correct (p. 22). The following term is normally written as one word; it is "keyword" rather than "key word" (p. 26). The correct name of Huxley's friend is Bertrand Russell rather than Bertrand Russel (p. 28).
The next sentence contains a grammar problem: "the police darts around ..." Unless the term "the police" refers to a building, it is followed by a plural construction; therefore it would be correct to say: "the police dart around ..." (p. 29)
The title Brave New World should be put in italics; cf. p. 28, line 2 and p. 48, role card 5.
Does he think Huxley's cynicism concerning sexual freedom [is too difficult/dangerous for the] students? Here you have to add something to get the sentence comprehensible (p. 48).

As a conclusion, one may argue that such an amount of errors, deplorable though it may be, is more or less normal.

However, in reading Arnold's teacher's manual, my impression was right from the beginning that there are too many errors in it. It is true that some of them are simply printing errors or merely formal ones (concerning the lay-out for example, cf. p. 11), yet others also concern grammar and syntax and impede understanding. And the trouble is that some of them are also to be found on the copymasters: so the teacher had better correct them before they are used as hand-outs in class. Finally, I would like to emphasize that I have not been searching for errors systematically and carefully. To pick out a few examples from my list at random:

(1) On one occasion the reader is told that the possibility of change ... is impossible (p. 19). One might easily say instead that "the possibility of change does not exist" or that "change is impossible".

(2) Later on we learn John knows life both on the Reservation as well as in the World State (p. 38). Apart from the preposition, this sentence contains an interesting mistake which may be corrected in two ways.
Either: John knows life both in the Reservation and in the World State.
Or: John knows life in the Reservation as well as in the World State.

(3) Firstly, he mistakes her helplessness ... for protection; so much so that tears come from his eyes (p. 15). In this case one had better cross out the semicolon and make one sentence out of the two different parts so that the text would run: Firstly, he mistakes her helplessness ... for protection so much that tears come from his eyes.

(4) "While the inability of the reader to identify with John may lead to a certain dissatisfaction ... on the part of the reader, nevertheless the individual reader should subconsciously reflect on exactly what his or her own views on love, happiness and communal cohesion" (p.41). I would prefer the following version:
While the inability of the reader (or: readers) to identify with John may lead to a certain dissatisfaction, nevertheless s/he (or: they) should reflect on exactly what his or her own views on love, happiness and communal cohesion are like.
To my mind, firstly the repetition of reader is clumsy and may easily be avoided, and secondly, the process of reflection is always a conscious one and therefore the adverb "subconsciously" had better be left out; finally the last part of the sentence is incomplete so that a verb has to be added.

Apart from these mistakes, in the following the results from my casual observations as I read the teaching manual for content will be listed. I would like to readily admit that among them there may be some difficult or controversial cases which have probably to be decided by cultivated native speakers:

p. 3: what role they should play and importance they should have; better: what role they should play and what importance they should have;
p. 3: can prove satisfactory: I doubt whether this is idiomatic in English; I would suggest: can prove to be satisfactory;
p. 3: a lits of tasks; correct: a list of tasks;
p. 3: learning aims; the term teaching aims is much more familiar to me;
p. 4: Bernard ... does seems not quite at ease; correct: Bernard ... does not seem to be quite at ease;
p. 5: Pre-reading Activities; correct: Pre-Reading Activities;
p. 5: The Title, first task: Look at the title. Find out ... (no new line required; the symbol > has to be deleted).
p. 5: Try to imagine how a perfect society should by; correct: should be;
p. 5: qualities that such a utopian should have; it is true that "utopian" may possibly be a noun designating a utopian state. In spite of that I would argue it had better be avoided, firstly because "utopian" may also refer to an inhabitant of a utopia, and secondly because it is more familiar as an adjective. The noun usually is: "utopia". Therefore a better solution may run: qualities that such a utopian state/society or such a utopia should have ...
p. 5: how children and brought up ...; correct: how children are brought up;
p. 6: Brave New World: as a title, it should be printed in italics;
p. 6: becomeso-called 'experts'; correct: become so-called 'experts';
p. 6: Freund and psychoanalysis; correct: Freud and psychoanalysis;
p. 6: Mutapha Kemal Atatürk: Mustapha/Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (or Ataturk?): so far I have been unable to locate an allusion to the founder of modern Turkey in the text of BNW.
p. 7: to allow students to read the novel at home; better: to ask the students to read ...
p. 7: give them the copymasters for the individual chapter; correct: give them copymasters for the individual chapters;
p. 7: While-reading stage; correct: while-reading stage;
p. 7: tenent; correct: tenets;
p. 7: comes from the Protestant belief that a person is predestined; better: from the Calvinist belief ...
p. 8: two females cows; correct: two female cows;
p. 8: this is term used; correct: this term is used;
p. 8: reponse; correct: response;
p. 9: the abolition of love, marriage, God, religion ... is called progress; this had better be described as so-called progress or simply 'progress';
p. 9: by the drug called soma; better: by a drug called soma;
p. 9: there is normally the feeling of strong sexual attraction involved rather than just a meaningless act ...; correct: there is normally the feeling of strong sexual attraction involved rather than that it is [considered as] just a meaningless act ... (the syntax of this statement is incomplete);
p. 10: we always be influenced; correct: we are always influenced;
p. 10: occured; correct: occurred;
p. 12: this religious service does seem at odds: why does? (the emphatic use of "does" seems to be inappropriate.)
p. 12: equality in deth; correct: equality in death;
p. 13: it makes them happy living in a high tech system; correct: it makes them happy to live ...;
p. 14: outisde; correct: outside;
p. 14: He feels attracted to Lenina, as does she to him; correct: as she does/feels to him; (inversion is wrong);
p. 14: John has grown up in the village, and was not influenced by conditioning and hypnopaedia: this seems to me to be a strange combination of tenses. Probably the past tense is preferable in the first part.
p. 15: As this is his first experience of attraction to a woman (a comma is missing) he recalls Shakespeare's words as they seem more profound that the words he could muster. Correct: ... he recalls Shakespeare's words as they seem more profound than the words he could muster.
p. 15: He would have to wait a long time before he can sex ...[to sex: (concerning animals): to find about the sex]; correct: before he can have sex with her;
p. 16: in an dictatorial system; correct: in a dictatorial system;
p. 16: to commit a taboo; collocation? Better: to commit a violation of taboo;
p. 16: embarassing; correct: embarrassing;
p. 16: The Tempest: the title should be put in italics;
p. 17: to play role of the savage; correct: to play the role of the savage;
p. 17: of more importance is the discussion about the need for feeling: word order? Better: The discussion about the need for feeling is of more importance.
p. 17: to enhance himself socially; collocation?; better: to advance himself socially;
p. 17: He may ... have made enough enemies that he will be exiled; correct: he may ... have made enough enemies so that he will be exiled.
p. 17: ... become more interesting and complex. (full stop is not indicated);
p. 19f: There is no need to change anything or for any development to take place; bad style; better: no need for any change or for any development ...
p. 41: ... about the rights of an individual to lead their own life and have their own experiences ...
Either: ... about the rights of individuals to lead their own lives and have their own experiences
Or: about the rights of everybody/everyone to lead their own lives and have their own experiences ...
p. 41: ... her views of sex are lacking: an object is missing. Correct: ... her views of sex are lacking emotions (for example);
p. 41: John does try to change people's attitudes. Emphatic use of "to do" again: justifiable? (cf. first example on p. 12); better: John tries to change ....
p. 41: an role; correct: a role; (cf. first example on p. 16);
p. 41: When he finds out that the his boss .. has a son ...; correct: When he finds out that his boss .. has a son, ...
p. 42: soemthing; correct: something;
p. 42: break though; correct: break through;
p. 42: tabloos; correct: taboos;
p. 42: repellant (adjective); correct: repellent;
p. 48: in the year 2560 (also wrong in Arnold's edition of the text; cf. p. 6); A.F. started with the invention of the T-model in 1908. As 632 years have gone by since then, the action of BNW takes place in 2540.
p. 48: suceeded; correct: succeeded;
p. 48: far away islands; better: far-away/faraway islands
p. 48 and p. 49: The title Brave New World has to be italicized twice;
p. 49: If love with Lenina is impossible ... so too is John's love unreasonable; word order? ... [so] John's love is unreasonable, too
p. 49: breats; correct: breasts;

The following errors are to be found on the copymasters:
p. 22: ads sth.: meaning? Not to be found in the text of chapter 1;
p. 23: French Revolution: the French Revolution;
p. 23: What images does the author use here, and what is its purpose?
Either: What images does the author use here, and what is their purpose?
Or: What imagery does the author use here, and what is its purpose?
p. 23: Chapter Two: Task 5: parallels to our society; task 8: in your country; correct: in our country;
p. 24: ... Conditioning as it is used a model of learning; correct: ... Conditioning as it is used as a model of learning;
p. 26, task 1: Explain why this; correct: explain why this is the case/this is so (syntax incomplete);
p. 31: self-fla<<<<<<gellation; correct: self-flagellation;
p. 33: What exactly is so terrible ... about this knowledge (question mark missing)
p. 35: Which physiological processes no longer exist? Word order: Which physiological processes exist no longer?
p. 40: Explain what makes Brave New World a dystopian novel rather just a work of science fiction. Correct: Explain what makes Brave New World a dystopian novel rather than just a work of science fiction.

Such a large number of mistakes is not acceptable, of course: they call for a careful revision (proof-reading) so that the vast majority of them will hopefully disappear in a second edition if there is any. Yet it must be concluded that the teacher and the learner, but also the writer himself deserve something much better than this manual. In its present form, it is simply not recommendable.

Final evaluation

My attempt at a comparative analysis of the two recently published teaching guides may thus be summarized:
Arnold's teacher's manual

Horst's teaching guide

In the course of both booklets, there is hardly any discussion of results achieved by Huxley scholarship. Only two (rather superficial) booklets of Notes (MAXnotes, Cliffs Notes) are quoted from this field in Horst, no source of literary scholarship may be found in Arnold, and many didactic publications on Huxley are neglected by both authors (cf. bibliography below).

Thus in many respects, Arnold's teacher's manual seems to be the counterpart to Horst's teaching guide – if at all, it has to be used very critically. Although far from being ideal, the major part of Horst's teaching guide is recommendable after all.


(1) The extract is reprinted as an additional text in Arnold (p. 53) and is also used as Worksheet 16 in Horst's module 11 (p. 50).

(2) Cf. for example Jerome Meckier, "Aldous Huxley and the Congenital Novelists: New Ideas about the Novel of Ideas", in: Peter E. Firchow/Bernfried Nugel (eds.), Aldous Huxley: Modern Satirical Novelist of Ideas. A Collection of Essays by Jerome Meckier (Berlin: LIT Verlag, 2006), pp. 23-40.

(3) Klaus Hinz, "Schüleraktivierende Methoden im fremdsprachlichen Literaturunterricht (Beispiel Englisch)", in: Praxis des neusprachlichen Unterrichts 43:2 (1996), pp. 139-150. Strictly speaking, Hinz is well aware of the fact that his approach is not new since he wants to transfer a familiar concept from S I to S II. And in his summary he points out that he wants traditional text analysis and creative tasks to supplement each other (cf. p. 150).

(4) Michael Legutke, Schüleraktivierende Methoden im Fremdsprachenunterricht Englisch. Bochum: Kamp 1985. Michael Benton's concept of a reading log was published in 1992 (cf. note 8 below); a practical example may be found in Southwick's edition of BNW even one year earlier (cf. bibliography below).

(5) Joanne Collie/Stephen Slater, Literature in the Language Classroom. Cambridge University Press, 1987. Cf. also Joanne Collie/Stephen Slater, Short Stories for Creative Language Classrooms. Cambridge University Press, 1993.

(6) Cf. Brigitte Krück/Kristiane Loeser, "Effektive Rezeptionsstrategien durch Lesetagebücher", Fremdsprachenunterricht 41:1 [50] (1997), p. 2.

(7) One has to realize, however, that pre-, while- and post-reading activities imply different meanings for Silke Horst and for Heinz Arnold. For Horst reading refers to the first reception of the novel at home; for Arnold, reading refers to work with the text in class. Consequently, the vast majority of Horst's modules, which aim at an interpretation of BNW, are classified as post-reading activities whereas Arnold uses this term in order to refer to a final evaluation of the novel in class.

(8) Cf. Michael Benton, Secondary Worlds. Literature Teaching and the Visual Arts (Buckingham: Open University Press, 1992), p. 35.

(9) Concerning comparisons of future societies as they are developed by Huxley, Orwell and Atwood, cf. Willi Real, "Aldous Huxley’s and Margaret Atwood’s Visions of Future Societies in Foreign Language Teaching", in: Peter E. Firchow /Hermann J. Real (eds.), The Perennial Satirist. Essays in Honour of Bernfried Nugel, (Münster: LIT Verlag, 2005), pp. 291-311. [Human Potentialities, vol. 7]
Cf. also Willi Real, "George Orwell's and Margaret Atwood's Visions of Future Societies in Foreign Language Teaching", http://www.heliweb.de/telic/ Uploaded on 27-7-2006. Last updated on 5-10-2006.

(10) Charles Higgins/Regina Kirby Higgins/Warren Paul, Huxley's 'Brave New World'. Cliffs Notes, 2000.

(11) If they do think so, I would recommend them to read Nat Hentoff's The Day they Came to Arrest the Book in which some people try in vain to ban Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn from the classroom on the ground that the book is racist, sexist and immoral.
Cf. Willi Real, "Der Roman im Roman. Nat Hentoffs The Day They Came to Arrest the Book im Englischunterricht der Sekundarstufe II", Neusprachliche Mitteilungen 48, Heft 4 (1995), pp. 235-242.

(12) In this text taken from the introduction to Neil Postman's classical study Amusing Ourselves to Death (London, 1985), pp. VII-VIII, the author points out interesting similarities and dissimilarities between Huxley and Orwell.

(13) Rudolph F. Rau, Aldous Huxley: 'Brave New World'. Annotations and Study Aids (Stuttgart: Klett, 1991), pp. 104-105. Two more texts used by Horst and probably also her idea for module 11 are taken from this source: cf. WS 16 (pp. 115-116), WS 17 (p. 117) and Rau's additional text 16 (p. 118).

(14) Cf. Rau, Annotations, p. 106; his text is taken from Paris Review Interviews, Second Series (New York: Viking Press 1963), p. 106. The original text was published in Paris Review 23 (Spring, 1960), p. 60f.
The fact that BNW was started as a parody of Wells's Men Like Gods is also mentioned by Robert S. Baker in his monograph Brave New World. History, Science and Dsytopia (Boston: Twayne, 1990), p. 25, where he quotes from a letter by Huxley: "Wells's Men Like Gods annoyed me to the point of planning a parody, but when I started writing I found the idea of a negative utopia so interesting that I forgot about Wells and launched into Brave New World." In his biographical sketch of Huxley Rau speaks of a "satire" rather than of a "parody" (p. 4).

(15) Jerome Meckier, "A Neglected Huxley 'Preface': His Earliest Synposis of Brave New World", in: Peter E. Firchow/Bernfried Nugel (eds.), Aldous Huxley: Modern Satirical Novelist of Ideas. A Collection of Essays by Jerome Meckier (Berlin: LIT Verlag, 2006), p. 111.

Aldous Huxley's 'BNW': Selected Bibliography for Teaching Purposes

Arnold, Heinz, Lektüreschlüssel für Schüler zu: Aldous Huxley, 'Brave New World'. Stuttgart: Reclam, 2005.

Arnold, Heinz (ed.), Aldous Huxley: 'Brave New World'. Berlin: Cornelsen, 2007.

Arnold, Heinz, Aldous Huxley: 'Brave New World'. Teacher's Manual. Berlin: Cornelsen, 2008.

Baker, Robert S., Brave New World. History, Science and Dsytopia. Boston: Twayne, 1990.

Fimpeler, Sabine, "Die Rolle der Sprache als Manipulationsinstrument in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World", http://www.heliweb.de/telic/ Uploaded in 2000.

Firchow, Peter E./Bernfried Nugel (eds.), Aldous Huxley: Modern Satirical Novelist of Ideas. A Collection of Essays by Jerome Meckier. Berlin: LIT Verlag, 2006.

Gnass-Franke, Traudel, "Realizing Utopia - Vom Roman zum Theaterstück am Beispiel von Huxleys 'Brave New World'. Ein Erfahrungsbericht", Die Neueren Sprachen 90 (1991), pp. 173-182.

Hamblock, Dieter (ed.), Aldous Huxley: 'Brave New World'. Stuttgart: Reclam, 1995.

Hermes, Rüdiger, 'Brave New World'. Inhalt, Hintergrund, Interpretation. München: Langenscheidt, 2006. [For a critical review, cf. Anzeigen, 9]

Higgins, Charles/Regina Kirby Higgins/Warren Paul, Huxley's 'Brave New World'. Cliffs Notes, 2000.

Horst, Silke, Aldous Huxley: 'Brave New World'. Teacher's Guide. Stuttgart: Klett, 2008.

Imig, Ulrich, Aldous Huxley: 'Brave New World'. Lehrerhandreichungen. München: Langenscheidt - Longman, 1990.

Jahnke, Hans-Otto/Hans Riedel, Huxley: 'Brave New World', Vokabularien. Münster: Aschendorff, 24. Auflage, 2001.

Kröger, Susanne, "'Welcome to the Homework Restaurant': Differenzierende Hausaufgaben im Englischunterricht der Sekundarstufe II", Neusprachliche Mitteilungen 52:4 (1999), pp. 239-246 [about Brave New World ].

Luz, Angela/Brigitte Prischtt, Aldous Huxley: 'Brave New World'. EinFach Englisch Unterrichtsmodell. Paderborn: Schöningh, 2005.

Müller, Bernhard J., 'Brave New World'. Interpretationshilfen. Berlin: Cornelsen, 2008. [For a critical review, cf. Anzeigen, 8]

Rau, Rudolph Franklin, Aldous Huxley: 'Brave New World'. Annotations and Study Aids. Stuttgart: Klett, 1991 [based on the Flamingo Harper Collins edition, 1994, to be replaced by the following publication].

Rau, Rudolph Franklin (ed.), Aldous Huxley: 'Brave New World'. Stuttgart: Klett, 2007.

Real, Willi, "From Brave New World to Island: Didactic and Methodological Suggestions for a New Course Plan", Aldous Huxley Annual, I ( 2001), pp. 191-209. (This article is a revised version of a didactic workshop which took place on the occasion of the official inauguration of the Centre for Aldous Huxley Studies (CAHS) in Münster on June 26th, 2000.)

Real, Willi, "A Critical Analysis of a New Teaching Model concerning Aldous Huxley’s 'Brave New World'", http://www.heliweb.de/telic/ Uploaded on 10-8-2005. [about Luz/Prischtt: cf. above.]

Real, Willi, "Aldous Huxley’s and Margaret Atwood’s Visions of Future Societies in Foreign Language Teaching", in: Peter E. Firchow/Hermann J. Real (eds.), The Perennial Satirist. Essays in Honour of Bernfried Nugel (Münster: LIT Verlag, 2005), pp. 291-311. [Human Potentialities, vol. 7]

Real, Willi, "George Orwell's and Margaret Atwood's Visions of Future Societies in Foreign Language Teaching", http://www.heliweb.de/telic/ Uploaded on 27-7-06. Last updated on 5-10-2006.

Sonnhütter, Ingrid, Stundenblätter. Aldous Huxley: 'Brave New World'. Stuttgart: Klett, 2. Auflage, 1984 [replaced by Silke Horst Teacher's Guide.]

Southwick, Robert (ed.), Aldous Huxley: 'Brave New World'. Longman, 1991. [Longman Literature]

Yunker, Sharon, Brave New World. MAXnotes Literature Guides, 1996.

Last Updated by Dr. Willi Real on Wednesday, 31 January, 2018 at 16:45 PM.

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