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"Island" by Aldous Huxley


Henry Marshall

on 4 January 2013

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Transcript of "Island" by Aldous Huxley

ISLAND by Aldous Huxley PLOT SUMMARY (1) This book starts off with Will Farnaby, a journalist/underground 'reporter' (for Lord Aldehyde, an oil magnate) of sorts for an oil magnate, 'crashing' his boat on the island of Pala. The island of Pala is a utopian society of sorts, in which it has been for over 120 years. It has developed a system of government, of society, of life that provides its people the greatest chance of happiness that is possible. Upon becoming shipwrecked, he meets two children, the grandson and granddaughter of Dr. Robert MacPhail. After getting him over his rather small injuries, the children fetch their father. Upon being transported to the main village of Pala, Will starts to learn about Pala's strange culture/history from the Old Raja's book, "Notes on What's What". Murugan (soon to be Raja of Pala) is Will's first visitor upon his arrival to the island. Will recalled how he had earlier seen Murugan with Colonel Dipa (Dictator of Rendang) when he was visiting Rendang, the two of which being obviously 'involved' with each other. The Rani (Murugan's mother, and the princess of Rendang) visits next, telling Will of her spiritual crusade. Will's main goal was to find the Rani and talk to her about signing a contract with Lord Aldehyde, and yet the Rani comes to him. Main Characters Will Farnaby * Strong willed: He purposely crashes his boat onto Pala to try and learn more about it. * Inquisitive: He is constantly asking everyone he comes across questions regarding Pala and its history. * Dogmatic: He tends to think he knows what is what when talking to the people of Pala. * I would say he is the protagonist in the novel. He wants to bring about change to Pala, and get the island to open up to the rest of the world. Vijaya Bhattacharya Murugan Mailendr The Rani * Spiritual: She is extremely spiritual. Her daily life revolves around the "little voice" that tells her the future. *Protective: She is always on the look out to protect her son (Murugan) from Pala's "bad" influences. * I would think that she is the antagonist in this novel (while she does not hold that much power, she does have a large influence on what Murugan does, and he soon will rule Pala). She agrees with Will that there must be change to Pala, but not for the reason Will believes. She is mainly interested the modernization of Pala, and how much personal profit there would be involved. * Teenager: Murugan is the heir to rule Pala, yet is not yet 18. Like most teenagers, he believes he knows what the answer to everything is. * Opinionated: He believes the Palanese society is disgusting. When he becomes ruler, he is going to bring about change. * He is also in a love affair with Colonel Dipa. Colonel Dipa is the dictator of Rendang, a neighboring, war torn Island. Murugan is blinded by lustful love, and is going to make Rendang and Pala allies, which will upset the utopian society of Pala. * Vijaya is not as important as the others, but I believe he helps the story line. He is the one who explains most of the island and its society rules/customs to Will (therefore explaining it to us). I feel like he is Huxley's 'orator' throughout the book, because he serves no other purpose to the book. Theme Rating I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars. It is a really interesting read that makes you think at times, but I found it a little hard to follow also. It is more of a philosophical, utopian based book, which I am not too big a fan of. This would probably be a Boy and Girl book, mainly depending on what genre of book is your favorite. I feel like the overall theme of this book is greed. After Will has rested and healed, he is shown the island by Dr. Robert, Vijaya, Mary Sarojini (Dr. Roberts grand-daughter), Susila (Dr. Roberts daughte-in-law/Mary's mother) and the island's school principal. During this part of the book, Susila helps Will accept his past: the death of his wife Molly, the loss of his mistress Babs, the death of his Aunt Mary (the only person he truly loved), and the death of his childhood dog. Mary Sarojini helps him, through a child's innocence, see that life is not so complicated if it is lived in the here and now. Vijaya and his wife continue the tour of the island, explaining next the MAC (Mutual Adoption Club) system. The prinicipal finishes off the tour with explaining how their learning is integrated with arts and personal completeness. Dr. Robert explains some of Pala's history to Will. He explained how the founders of the island were a western atheist and a Mayahanna Buddhist. That brought the main religion (Buddhism) to Pala, and it brought along many of their utopian ways of life. Skipping to the end (the middle of the book does not add significance to the plot), we learn that Dr. Roberts wife, Lakshmi, dies of cancer. Will was there to see the passing and it is then that he realizes that the Pala way was by far the better and he rued any part he had already had in its downfall. After Lakshmi's death, Susila offers Will a chance to try the moksha-medicine, an hallucinogenic mushroom used by the islanders to bring them closer to their own Oneness. She guided him out of himself until he saw, first the absolute, then the evil that is matter, and finally, reality in all its realness. In the morning they heard the (now) Raja announce over the speakers to the people to, "be calm and welcome their 'friends' from across the straight". A caravan of jeeps stopped at Dr. Robert's bungalow. Shots were fired. Then they moved on. And the mynah's squawked, 'Karuna, karuna,' 'Attention!' (which is a very important line). Plot Summary (2) Works Cited *http://www.huxley.net/island/ *https://mslinder.wikispaces.com/Island+by+Aldous+Huxley Aldous Huxley * 26 July 1894 – 22 November 1963 * He was a humanist, pacifist, and satirist, and he was interested in spiritual subjects such as parapsychology and philosophical mysticism. He is also well known for advocating and taking psychedelics.

*By the end of his life Huxley was widely acknowledged as one of the pre-eminent intellectuals of his time.

* Born in Godalming, Surrey, England * Many of the ideas used to describe Pala as a utopian society in Island appears also in Brave New Worlds Revisited last chapter, which aims to propose actions which could be taken in order to prevent a democracy from turning into a totalitary world like the one described in Brave New World.

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