Huxley is a prophet, and with his final novel Island, he offers us a vision of redemption. Each of us is the island of Pala. Let us work together as allies. Youth for Bernie! There it is: let’s do this! “Uncover honey / where maggots are,” as Charles Olson prompted at the end of his poem “The Kingfishers.” We determine with the genres we teach different kinds of subjects. By assigning utopias rather than dystopias, we arrange for students to confront within themselves stirrings of hope rather than fear.
2 thoughts on “Wednesday February 12, 2020”
I really dug _Island_ when I read it. Its a bit sad, but telling, that Brave New World is so well known but that Island is not. When I taught at UC Irvine, I had a student that was very depressed by the end of Brave New World. She was very politically conscious and came to my office hours to talk about B New World. I told her about Island, she went out and read it, and told me that she felt politically rectified and spiritually rejuvenated. (Every once in a while, I suggest to whoever I’m eating with that we ‘chew our grace’ like they do in Island.)
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Having taught Thomas More’s Utopia and most of the classic dystopias at one time or another over the years, with limited success in getting students to think beyond standard Cold War-style objections to Utopianism, I can say that student reactions have been far more “utopian” when I assign Island. It’s one of the few utopias that succeeds today in reawakening a sense of hope and possibility.