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Kevin Hong

What is the significance of the opening paragraph? Foreshadowing? Imagery? What is Huxley
doing with the opening paragraph?
Huxley uses his mastery of words and literary elements to create a first paragraph that sets the
tone for the rest of the book through tone and intense imagery. He builds the foundations for the
rest of the book by speaking of the building in a completely impersonal and mostly toneless
voice. The lack of usage of a complete grammatically sentence further builds onto the seemingly
robotic and object-oriented tone, foreshadowing the technological marvels and shallow,
materialistic consumerism of this new age. Huxley also uses intense imagery to convey his
message to the reader. Although somewhat vague, the words he chooses allow the reader to
imagine and fill in the image of the setting for themself. His description of the building as
squat and grey conveys a depressing and demoralizing mood, and the words only thirtyfour stories convey the image of a homogeneous and boring urban landscape. In addition, the
shield emblazoned with the motto of the World State and the usage of the words Hatchery and
Conditioning Center induces the reader to suspect something more sinister is occurring.
Huxley uses all these elements to create a first paragraph that is not only succinct, but employs
masterful imagery and foreshadows the rest of the novel.