a hypertext of Huxley's Brave New World










Audio & Video



Writing Space



University of Richmond, ENGL 103 – Carleton – Fall 2004
Student responses to “Miranda” hypertext:


JN: I find the idea behind reading hypertext interesting and engaging. After beginning to read it, though, I find that although I find it fascinating to go to the links, I do not like reading off of a computer. Whenever I read, I use my highlighter and underline things. This is my way of engaging with the text. When I highlight, underline, and take notes on my text, I have a much easier time understanding and remembering the text. For me simply to read something, it does not process in my head the same way as when I highlight and take notes. I find it very frustrating that I can't highlight anything. I find myself reading key phrases and I want to be able to note them so I can go back later to them. It's also frustrating for me not to be able to see the text as it was actually printed. Sometimes authors put breaks in interesting places and the actual physical form of the novel can convey meaning. Learning to read hypertext is an experience in itself. I do like the links, but in general, I do not like reading off of a computer…. I followed many of the links, but I found that they distracted me from reading. Once I went to a link, I found that I would think about the information in the link and then when I went back to read the novel, I forgot what was going on. I really found this to be a problem. Maybe students should have a hard copy of the text and also have the online copy with links. Or maybe the links should not become activated until the studnet reaches the end of the chapter. I think it would be interesting to do a study on the reading quiz grades of students who read the text and then went to links as oppose to students who read the text and went to links while reading. I would hypothesize that the students who read and then went to link would have signifigantly higher quiz scores. To me, it seems to be the same concept of reading while watching TV or talking on the phone. The student is only partially taking in the information they are reading.


DS: I want to start off this entry by talking about my distain for the online reading. When reading a good book, I get exited when I turn to the next page to find out what will happen next. This creates a level of suspense in reading that is absent from the online text. I found it tedious to scroll down the page to read the text, as if I wasn't getting anywhere. In reading the online text, I would often get easily distracted. In my dorm room I would always get the urge to listen to music, chat with friends, or surf the internet and these distractions would sometimes get the best of me, resulting in a less focused reading of the text. When I read a book, I usually go to a quiet space in the library and reading sink my teeth into the book at hand but with the online text I don't think I got all that I could have out of "A Brave New World."

I sometimes would print out entire chapters of the online text, however in doing so I would waste a ton of paper and also I wouldn't be able to follow the links throughout the text. In printing out chapters, I felt that it would be a lot simpler to buy the book and read that. Although I enjoyed following the online links, I would have enjoyed the text more and got more out of it if I had read it through an actual book.


JE: [this first paragraph from journal entry on day I was absent but guiding class remotely] After having class without a teacher the other day, I feel like it would not be something I would not prefer on a regular basis. I really do not see many advantages to being taught online rather than being taught in a classroom. When I went to class, I sat down looked at my assignment and did it. There was no opportunity to discuss any problems I, or anyone else may have had with the assignment. I personally did not really like that. I feel I am best suited to learn when there is someone explaining assignment to me or someone I can ask questions to make sure I understand it. If all the class's were like in an online forum, I feel I would do a lot worse. There a certain aspects of teaching that need to be in a face to face atmosphere rather than in an online chat room. As we discussed in class on Wednesday, in talking to someone online you do not have the ability to express emotion they way you do when you're talking to someone face to face. In an online class room you cannot have a one on one talk with your teacher, you do not have the opportunity for personal assistance. Online class rooms lack to many of the essentials for me to get the most out of a class as I possibly can. I realize it might be perfect some people, but I am much better suited for a regular class room where you can actually talk to your professor face to face.

In my first experience with using the links on the hypertext I feel like it will be useful it will just take some adjustment. The first links I used, lupus and caste I did not figure out what either really were. Lupus seems to be a disease found mostly on women but the site do a poor job describing it and after clicking the caste link it brought me to several other links none of which had the definition of the word. I feel though, once I start using the hypertext more I will become better at it and eventually it will help improve my reading.

Reading Brave New World on the hypertext has definitely been a unique experience compared to reading from a book. The links provide a more active way of reading. So far some links have been very helpful where as others not so much. My initial thoughts were that the links would bring you to a definition of the word and that sometimes is the case but not always. Sometimes the link brings you to different sites that are associated with that certain topic and allows the reader to learn more if he or she is interested in that. Although the links have been more helpful than not there are times where I wish that the link would just give me a definition and further links if you are interested in learning more. Overall I enjoy using the hypertext, I do not if I would prefer reading a hypertext to a book but as I continue reading the Hypertext I feel I will be able to make a better judgment further down the line.

After reading Brave New World using the hypertext I feel like there are both positives and negatives about using a hypertext rather than reading from a book. One of the things I enjoyed most about the hypertext is how the reading is broken up. Although it is the same amount of reading, psychologically it feels as though I am getting through a lot more of the book than it would by flipping pages. The hypertext makes twenty-five pages in a book seem like one long page broken up online. The other main difference, I found, were the links that were available to the reader. The links were helpful in many cases, especially in regards to words I was not familiar with. The links provided me with easy access to definitions of the words I needed help with.

The negative aspects I found in reading the hypertext was the distractions that it came along with it, especially when I used the hypertext in my dorm. Since I was on my computer I would have to deal with the occasional pop-ups and I was constantly fighting the urge to surf the web or go on America Online. Also in regards to the links, they were at times distracting. I feel like it is a natural urge when you are reading something online to click the highlighted text and this often resulted in me pausing my reading for sometimes fifteen to twenty minutes.

Overall I really do not know if I would prefer the hypertext or reading from a book because there are positives and negatives associated with each. If I was forced to choose I think I would probably select a book just because with a book you can remove yourself from a situation and just read. With the hypertext I think I will always be distracted and if I need to get reading done, that would not serve me well.

I just wanted to clarify my journal entries just to make sure I do not lose any unnecessary points. For my chapter reviews I did a mixture of the requirements for different journal entries. For each chapter I did a summary of what was in the chapter, then I discussed one or two links I explored in that particular chapter and whether or not it was a help or not. Then for each chapter I answered three to five questions for writing for that particular chapter. I did this instead of doing entries solely on questions from a chapter. In regards to the ten entries on Miranda the final project list seemed to list eight required entries and I was not sure whether I was doing the assignment correctly. the entries on Miranda assisted me in writing my final paper. By doing the entries it forces me to better recall the information which comes in handy while writing an actual paper. Overall I'm glad we had to do the entries because it forced me to read BNW closer and get more out of it than I would have otherwise.


KS: I just finished reading all eighteen chapters and I followed all but maybe ten or so of the links. I will admit I didn't really read any of them thoroughly, probably because I tried to visit all of them and I only had so much time to do this. As I went through them I was least likely to remain on any that had video clips. I didn't feel like waiting for them to load and I disliked the fact that I couldn't fast forward to any part that I was interested in. I also didn't explore any of the links to Shakespeare's plays. I read a few of them in high school, plus most of them seemed pretty lengthy as well.

I thought improvements could be made in the links. I think that each link should first go to an overview of the topic and then a link to an actual site, if available, could be at the bottom. It would save the reader time, so they wouldn't have to sift through all of the links until they found something that interested them. This would aid the reader and perhaps help with narrowing the topic for their paper and in turn helping create a narrower thesis. A downfall to this approach would be that there is less need for the student to delve into subjects that they aren't aware of that may interest them.

I now realize that I prefer reading books compared to this hypertext. This may be a good tool to make people realize that technology is not always better. For me personally, I have attention issues, and I found it hard to concentrate on the story when I kept diverting my attention to the various links.What I really liked about this hypertext is that it helps to understand some of the examples or metaphors in the story. I really had no idea about a lot of the stuff mentioned in the story, but now I could probably explain it some someone and at least sound like I knew what I was talking about. I noticed a few places as I was reading, that I thought worthy of a few links. I really thought a link to a suicide informational site would have been a good idea right at the end, for example.

As I look through the mounds of notes I took, I realize that it isn't as effective as actually having the book in front of you and being able to highlight passages or make notes in the margins. I had left out a lot of things that tie sections together, making my notes a little fuzzy as to what was actually going on. Overall I enjoyed the story, though a little weird at times. The hypertext was certainly an experience and I will leave it at that.


ER: [when] we first received the assignment to read a hyper-text of Huxley s A Brave New World I was skeptical due to the fact that it seemed like a contradiction your stance on technology. However, once I started getting into it, the positive affects that it had on my reading were unprecedented. I have never been more interested in reading a novel that has been assigned to us, especially not one having to do with this material. The entire hyper-text format was definitely what got me into the reading because it opened so many new doors and opportunities for interpretation. Granted the text is still the text regardless of how you read it, but the options that are present with the ability to embark on links within the text are what made it a great read for me. Not to mention the fact that all of the words that were unknown to our vocabulary at the time contained a link to the definition. This helped me out immensely because I was able to quickly acquire the definition without losing my train of though with respect to the text. Often throughout past reading assignments over the years if you come to a word in the meaning is unknown, you have to entirely stop what you are doing and find a dictionary. To me, this totally ruined the entire experience since my attention was diverted from the text in order to be able to understand it. Another positive aspect that I found within the hyper-text was that the reading didn t seem as long as it actually was. When we are assigned a large amount of reading, the first inclination is to consider the number of pages over the material. However, without page numbers and simply the act of scrolling down to read more it seemed to make the process more enjoyable since the amount of reading wasn t floating in the back of my mind. . My recommendation for this test is that every expository student should be exposed to it if BNW is part of their curriculum because it is an amazing academic advantage and certainly makes the reading that much more enjoyable.


RA: Last week's class without a teacher was not very enjoyable. Though I did appreciate the time that we had to work on the response to The Garden of Merging Paths, the class was totally introverted and uninvolved. Students sat in dead silence as they typed their responses into the computers, then left. I missed the dialog that is normally present in class, even though it can be pretty sparse at 8:15 on Monday mornings. And it was harder to produce a response to the text without questions to provoke our thoughts.

In general I enjoy and learn more for a class that has a teacher present to probe our thinking, direct discussion, and interject knowledge. Class might work in free form if there was more of an active participation on the part of all the members. The best part of class for me is when I can hear the thoughts of other students. It s interesting, especially as a freshman coming from a small sheltered town to hear the thoughts of peers from such varying backgrounds. It also gives me a chance to gauge my understanding of the materials.

All in all I d prefer a class where ideas and insights are shared freely. In most cases this seems to best be facilitated by having a teacher present to spark discussion and add some degree of elevated insight.

I finished reading BNW a few days ago I have to say that the overall experience was pretty painless. I had seen the TV movie of BNW in my English class senior year and enjoyed it, but it was only applied as background for a small project and there was little analysis. This made reading the story even more interesting and I was constantly looking for points at which the movie diverged from the actual text. In the end, I have to say that I liked the text better because the movie was something pretty low class, probably made by Fox.

I tried to follow almost all of the links, especially when a word or sentence was confusing to me. The links were helpful to an extent. Much of the information contained in the links was superfluous and I either found all I wanted to know in the first two lines or was forced to search through a bunch of stuff that didn t really pertain to the text.

As for reading from the computer screen, I found it to work pretty well to an extent. The reading seemed to go quicker for some reason, perhaps because it was like reading an article on the internet, which is something that I think we all have become pretty conditioned to doing. Reading a whole chapter in a mono-page might have also played a part in the speed with which I went through the text. It forced me to get to the end of a chapter before giving up, and because I was just scrolling down rather than flipping the pages, each chapter seemed like less of an effort. Of course this might just be a result of me enjoying the text more than anything to do with the actual medium it was in. It also interesting that I have been involved with BNW twice now and have yet to pick up a copy of the book.

I tired to follow all of the links in each chapter and some of the ones on the homepage. The links in the chapter were helpful in some instances for getting information about some of the more complex parts of the story, but I found that they were generally not necessary to the reading of the text. It was interesting to see some of the videos and read about some of the things like hermits or the soma like drugs, but it also interrupted the reading of the story and made it not flow as well as it would have from a regular book. Also, a lot of the links provided information that was too in depth or too obscurely related to the topics in the story. This added to time away from the actual text, as it was necessary to either read too much or sort through material in order to pick out the relevant information. Perhaps as the Miranda text evolves there could be a summary page preceding the links that have lots of information in them to save time and keep the reader focused on the text.

The links that I followed from the homepage were the ones on the biography of Aldous Huxley, some of ones on cults and sects, and the one about the history of science and technology. I read the biography in order to get an idea of why Huxley wrote BNW and what his influences were. I used this information to answer my own question about Huxley s influences in my post Miranda #6 (see this for information I gathered). The links about cults and sects I just briefly glanced over because I had already gotten a lot of information about these subjects from outsides sources for my group research. The link about science and technology was pretty interesting though. The way in which technology and science started as things that went against the foundations of society of time (religion and etc ) seems so contrary to the way in which science and technology are used in BNW as a way to repress so many people. Science the past had been a way of disproving the thoughts of the majority and today and in BNW we see how science and technology are being used to provide standardized control of broad ideas. I still like to think that science will always have some tricks hidden up its sleeve.

Take the human genome, for example. It was previously thought the it would contain over 100,000 genes but recent studies show that there are fewer than 25,000 genes, about the same number as in lower level organisms, due to alternate slicing of the coding and not coding portions of DNA in any given geneAP: I've never read Brave New World before, and although I'm enjoying the story thoroughly (because like I've said before, I have a secret liking for science fiction), I do not like reading off of the computer. While the links are fun and interesting at times, I still feel as though I'm stuck to the computer screen. I prefer reading in my bed, and I believe that the comfort level of my surroundings helps me to enjoy my reading more thoroughly. Sitting at my desk and reading from the computer screen is NOT as comfortable as my bed (though I must admit that I have a tendency to stay away for longer) so I've actually moved my laptop to my bed so now I read with it on my lap. The effect is still not the same as holding a book and highlighting and writing in the margins. I've got to wrap this up now, but I'm glad we'll have more chances to write responses to Miranda.

So I'll admit that I followed a lot of the links from Miranda. I'll also admit that I didn't read a few of them because they didn't really interest me. And while we're at this whole confession thing I'd like to say that I only would click on a link randomnly when I was skimming through a chapter- I learned early on that the links were too distracting to my reading and by the time I had absorbed all the link material, I would be lost when I returned to Miranda.

Anyway, the link I want to write about is from Chapter 14 and it link word was "youth". Before I go off on the link info, I'd like to mention I clicked this link because one of the biggest issues as a girl growing up in my generation is the drive to be beautiful. You have your oxymoronic magazines that tell you it's what's underneath the skin that matters and yet the magazine itself is only featuring perfect looking girls. There's also the rising number of eating disorders on campus. There's the booth-tanning fad, the invented job of a nutritionist, countless skin products, it's INSANE. So I figure, I'll click on this link to see what it has to say for itself.


JA: I explored a good deal of the links while reading the hypertext. I found several of them to be very interesting. The glossary was very helpful. Although most of the links were good, they took some thorough reading and exploring links inside the link to fully understand the significance to BNW. That was only the minority of the links so overall I found the links to be helpful and enjoyable. This was definitely an advantage of using the hypertext.

Overall I thought that the use of the hypertext was pretty good. I must admit that I was not too enthralled at first about sitting in front of a computer screen and reading a book. At first I would have rather had an actual book to hold. However, as I read more and more, I found that there were advantages to reading it on computer. One advantage of using the computer is that it forced me to sit in a straight and attentive position and therefore I was able to focus on the reading. Also I found the reading was easier and went by faster while I was using the computer than what it would have been if I were reading a book. Perhaps the greatest advantage was that with the hypertext, everything is right at your fingertips so there for the information was very accessible and was not a hassle to look up extra information which some people may not have felt like doing. I think that the hypertext caused me to look at some things that I may not have originally paid attention to if I was reading a physical book. Overall I like the use of the hypertext.



OK: After reading the first four chapters of Miranda, I am extremely impressed how informative the text as a whole(links, explanations, definitions)is.... I chose to explore the hyperlink on Mass Production. This immediately caught my attention because I knew from the way the Fertilizing Room was being run that the idea of mass production was very relevant in the story. The hyperlink talked about how from the middle part of the 19th century the idea of mass production swept across the world. Factories would give up producing a few good products by skilled workers for a greater deal of inferiors products produced by unskilled workers. Then the link went on to illustrate the car production of various countries. It was then that I realized that the reference to Ford was being used because he was the one who invented the concept of the assembly line. Huxley parallels this to the production of babies and the breeding of them with no connection to their parents. This link proved to be very informative and demonstrated how the reference to Ford was relevant and extremely well placed in the text.


MG: For this text I found that it is much easier to read in the actual book and then go back through the text and look at the hyperlinks seperately. I think that being able to underline and anotate has really increased my understanding of the text. Another thing that is better about being able to read the book is that I can take it anywhere I want. I don't have to sit in a chair and stare at a screen. I can read outside, or laying down, or while I'm eating. I also find that I get extremely distracted when I sit at my computer. There are tons of distractions on the computer from AIM to pop up ads, not to mention the distractions in the dorm. With a book I can get away from all of this and go back to the hyperlinks after I have made my own connections. However, I enjoy having the hypertext because it allows me to make connections that aren't in the book, and never could be with today's technology. I think that most of the links are very helpful to the understanding of the novel. I! especially liked the link on hermits. The ideas that the Japanese hermits brought up were incredible. I think I am even going to try to incorporate one of their quotes about rivers in my second essay. They hypertext is very helpful to understanding the novel but I also think it is crucial to have a copy of the book.


KR: Reading on Miranda has been a good experience so far. Reading Brave New World from a computer screen rather than a text has been fairly simple. In fact in some ways it has been easier, and quicker to read than other texts I have read in book form. Having page numbers is one thing that I think could improve the website, because it would make it easier to find specific quotes and passages I that I would want to cite. Having links to go to definitely adds a different dimension to reading this novel. Not having to go somewhere and look up things I might not know about, and having the ability to have them right there, makes it much more convenient to get background information on what I am reading. Also having definitions of unknown words helps out. Many of the links are extremely interesting, and not only do they help me better understand what I m reading, but they also give me more general knowledge about a broad range of topics.

Having the entire chapter on one page definitely psychologically makes the reading easier. When I sit to read a book, I always like to see how much I have left to read, and that affects how effectively I read. Sometimes if I have a lot to read, I ll procrastinate because the task seems too long or arduous. Having one page to read, and being able to continually scroll down gives the impression (at least psychologically) that I am getting done fast and am almost at the end. It makes it easier in that way. I am sure looking at a computer screen for hours at a time can have bad effects on your eyes, so in that way, trying to read an entire book on hypertext in one sitting might be more difficult than with a hard book. So far however, this has been a really good experience. I would not mind having to read some books in my other classes on a hypertext, and who knows, maybe one day all books will be both on hypertext and book-form.


JM: Reading Miranda on-line has definitely been a challenge. After reading a few chapters consecutively, my eyes become extremely strained and I am always forced to take a short break. Despite this observation, reading Miranda has been a great experience. Prior to this assignment I had never read a novel on-line. Although at first I did not enjoy it, I have begun to actually like it. Whenever I have a questions about a specific topic or come across a vocabulary word that I do not know, it is very simple to just "Google it." Most of the time I do not even have to look anything up because many of the confusing or especially interesting topics are already selected in hypertext. Furthermore, the ability to just click on the questions page at the end of the chapter is beneficial because if there are any questions that I do not know the answer to I can simply look back at the chapter and scroll down until the answer comes up, or more simply, I can enter key words into the "find on this page" option under edit.

In addition to these advantages, reading on hypertext has eliminated the option to count pages. When I usually read a novel I find myself counting down the number of pages until the end of the chapter. On Miranda, however, this is not an option. This makes the reading more exciting and keeps my mind from wondering.

On a more literary note, I have begun to sincerely enjoy this novel. It is amazing to imagine the world that exists in BNW, including the complex laboratories, mutli-level homes, homogeneous society, and obsession with soma. What's most shocking is that a world like this is not far from reality. With advances in technology increasing each day, one can predict that soon children will actually be able to be born in test tubes. We have not become as complex and orderly as BNW, but we are definitely on our way to achieving such a society. I don't know about other people, but I am scared shitless! I could not even imagine not having a regular family atmosphere. Family and friends are such an important aspect of current people's lives, and the absence of such an environment would seem to be disastrous. Hopefully, after reading this novel, people gain fear towards such a society, rather than initiative to continue our technological revolution.

Brave New World: Links Explored

Chapter 2: "Electric Shock"
The experiment with electric shock that Stanley Milgram created is very surprising. Although the author of this link seems to disagree with this experiment, I think that it is kind of funny. I do not think that the teachers shocking the actors had too much stress while clicking the button, especially because they were told that it was completely up to the "learner." It is interesting when the author of this link states, "Sixty percent of the "teachers" obeyed orders to punish the learner to the very end of the 450-volt scale! No subject stopped before reaching 300 volts!" I would love to be a part of such an experiment and see the reaction of the teacher when they found out that the "learner's" responses were staged.

Chapter 3: "Viviparous"
In this link, viviparous is defined as, "Giving birth to living offspring that develop within the mother's body. Most mammals and some other animals are viviparous." I have never heard this term before, but I can definitely see the relation to BNW. In BNW, viviparous births do not exist. They are actually looked down upon in society. This is interesting when comparing this to the modern world because this is the only type of birth that we know. In our society a birth from a test tube would be looked down upon.

Chapter 6: "The mania, to start with, for doing things in private"
I would definitely not want to be a hermit. Although it is necessary to have time to yourself, living alone and self-sufficiently would get extremely boring. Sometimes I cannot even last a day without seeing a friend of family member. From this link, one can explore the many terms associated with being a hermit. For example, Eremiticism is the term describing the way of life or system of being a hermit. In many cultures, people are encouraged to become hermits.

Chapter 7: "mescal"
The use of this term in BNW, based on this link, seems to be derived from the drug mescaline. After scrolling through this link, I found a portion that discussed specific occurrences from users of mescaline. On user stated, "Oh, and the MUSIC! It is truly one of my very very favorite things to really tune in and carefully LISTEN to particular albums whilst tripping me brains out." This was interesting because it directly related to BNW. When the characters took soma, they thoroughly enjoyed music. The other people who described their experiences with mescaline discussed that it was a relaxing drug, made them feel nauseous for a little while, but they began to see psychedelic visions. This also related to soma because the characters from BNW had vivid dreams after taking a few pills of soma.

Chapter 11: "Television always on"
This link discusses the common obsession with television. The author of this link describes the fact that scientists have been trying to determine the effects that television has on frequent viewers. One specific fact that stood out is based on current statistics. The article states, "On average, individuals in the industrialized world devote three hours a day to the pursuit--fully half of their leisure time, and more than on any single activity save work and sleep. At this rate, someone who lives to 75 would spend nine years in front of the tube."

Chapter 13: "Retreated in terror"
This link describes erotophobia. Erotophobia is, "the fear of marriage or romantic relationships, especially by a man or in regards to heterosexual romance." People with this disorder often do not get married because they overjudge physical appearance. This is understandable, but anyone with this fear is truly at a disadvantage.

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