Samstag, 5. Juni 2010
The caste system
The caste system in ‘Brave New World’ includes 5 major castes named after Greek letters (Alpha to Epsilon) which can slightly differ in the position in the hierarchy (indicated by an additional ++, +, - or --). The whole life of each being is coined by the affiliation to a caste. There are significant differences between the members of the castes, such as varieties regarding outer appearance, differences concerning intelligence and work as well as miscellaneous transport systems and housing. As a result of predestination and conditioning, everyone is happy and thus stability is achieved.


10 World controllers // Directors of departments

(Alpha ++ = ruling elite)

Alphas (+,-) = elite
powerfully built […], deep chested, broadshouldered, massive, […] quick in movements, springy agile. […] beautifully shaped head […]." (p. 59, l. 22-25)

Betas (+, -)
everything is a bit less developed compared to Alphas, but still they are quite well-built

Gammas (+, -)
they are relatively short, narrow-shouldered, and, in comparison to Alphas and Betas, gangling

Deltas (+,-)
relatively short (nearly dwarfs), often semi-handicapped people (e. g. longheaded-ness)

Epsilons (+, --)
mostly black, ugly and monkey-like creatures that are often handicapped


“Alpha children [...] are so frightfully clever. Gammas are stupid. [...] And Epsilons are still worse. They’re too stupid to be able to read or write.” (hypnopaedia, p. 23-24, ll. 33-13)

Alphas represent the intellectually superior group, followed by the Betas. From then on, each caste is progressively less intelligent (cf.: they vary in appearance accordingly). Epsilons are exposed to the harshest restriction in the hatching process with regard to their intelligence.

Thus, they are described as having little to no intelligence. Everyone perfectly fits his/her job because of the specific brainpower. To make everyone happy Alphas are given challenging jobs and Epsilons are given menial work which would be boring for higher caste members.


relatively intellectual work (journalists, film producers, etc.), important positions

rather demanding work, still important positions (e. g. in the ‘Hatchery and Conditioning Centre’)

normal work: housekeepers attendants, workers, porters

lower labourers, (manual) workers in factories, servants

easiest and most unpretentious work, for example: the Epsilon minus Semi-Moron liftman (p. 52-53)


The society in Brave New World seeks to create maximum happiness for everyone. This aim is achieved through conditioning. Everyone is happy to belong to his/her caste. The caste system is needed to cover every little part of processes that form the society, such as work, housing, etc.. Everyone works for everyone.

Conditioning makes every single person feel happy and thus creates a more efficient society. Even Deltas and Epsilons are content to do their manual labour. This contentment is expressed on page 66: “ [...] Epsilons don’t really mind being Epsilons,” [...],”How can they? They don’t know what it’s like being anything else. We’d (Alphas and Betas) mind of course.

But then we’ve been differently conditioned. Besides, we start with a different heredity.” [...] “And if [...] (we) were [...] Epsilon(s) [...] (our) conditioning would have made [...] (us) no less thankful that [...] (we) weren’t a Beta or an Alpha.” (ll. 14-24)

And through happiness stability is guaranteed.

Conclusion: The caste system is an elementary constituent of a functioning society in ‘Brave New World’.

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