The novel opens in the Central
London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre. Over the door hangs the
shield of the
The Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning is leading a tour group of young students around a laboratory. They are scribbling down, word for word, whatever he says right into their notebooks. His scientific description that follows is long and extremely detailed. It is a privilege and an honor that the Director himself is speaking to a student group. The director is tall and thin with good posture, and he appears neither old nor young. He begins to explain the Hatcheries, starting with the incubators, where the ova and the male gametes are stored for the fertilization process. The modern fertilizing process begins with the removal of the woman's ovaries. "...the operation undergone voluntarily for the good of Society, not to mention the fact that it carries a bonus amounting to six months' salary," Chapter 1, pg. 5 The removed ovaries are used for a sort of test-tube reproduction. There is a complicated and detailed process in the lab through which the ovary is preserved, put in a dish with sperm, and fertilized.
After fertilization, the next step determines where the zygote will fit in the caste system. The caste system goes, in descending order, Alpha, Beta, Delta, Epsilon. Alphas are the top of the caste system, the most physically and mentally capable, Betas are underneath, and Epsilons and Deltas are at the bottom, having no social function and operating simply as workers. The Alphas and Betas remain in the incubators, and the Deltas and Epsilons are brought out of the incubators after thirty-six hours to undergo Bokanovsky's Process. While normally, the egg buds into one adult, bokanovskification divides the egg into up to ninety-six buds, all of which form into a human being. He hails this process as one of the major instruments of social stability, and suggests that to bokanovskify indefinitely, would solve the whole problem. An ovary can yield up to fifteen thousand adult individuals.
The tour group passes Henry Foster, who informs them that the record for bokanovskification is over seventeen thousand. He joins the tour.
The bottles with the individual buds, and the group of students, eventually move on to the Social Predestination Room, where Henry Foster continues the tour. The embryos are shaken into familiarity with movement and tested to determined gender, but most are made into freemartins, or infertile beings. The embryos are exposed to differing amounts of oxygen-the less oxygen, the lower the human intelligence, and the lower the human intelligence, the lower the caste. Therefore, Epsilons get the lowest amount of oxygen. The labs can also speed up the maturity rate of workers so they are fully developed as early as six years old. Some of the training gets workers ready for their jobs and climates; for instance, they are conditioned by blasts of hot air in tunnels if they are destined to go to work in the tropics.
They pass by a nurse, who is probing one of the bottles with a long syringe. Henry Foster recognizes her as a woman named Lenina, who is described as uncommonly pretty, and she smiles at him. She is also described as having purple eyes, lupus, and red coral teeth. He confirms with her that they will be meeting on the roof at ten to five, as usual.
They pass by but do not have time to see the conditioning of the Alpha Plus Intellectuals. Predestination does not stop with biology; it continues on, as we see in the next chapter, into the realm of social nurturing.
Henry Foster remains in the Decanting Room. The Director and the students pass into the Infant Nurseries and the Neo-Pavlovian Conditioning Rooms. They witness an act of conditioning. The nurses lay out bowls, bowls of rose petals, and stacks of books, and then wheel in carts on which are riding identical Delta-class eight-month-old babies. As the babies crawl toward the stimuli, the Head Nurse turns on loud, violent explosions, alarm bells and sirens, and electrifies the floor. The next time the infants see the books and flowers, they associate them with the loud noises and shocks, and turn away in horror. The director is satisfied, for as Huxley writes, "What man has joined, nature is powerless to put asunder." Chapter 2, pg. 22 The Director is very satisfied with the demonstration and goes on to explain that the love of nature has been systematically destroyed. However, they are conditioned to love country sports, so that they will be effective consumers of sporting equipment.
The Director tells the story of the young boy Reuben
Rabinovitch, who was born to Polish-speaking parents. Polish, the
director and the students quickly clarify, is a dead language, as are German
and French. They also briefly, and with horror, discuss the idea of the
"parent," a concept that no longer exists in the
One night, Reuben's parents accidentally left the radio on at night, and when they woke up in the morning, Reuben could repeat word for a word a lecture which had been broadcast during the night. With this event, the principle of hypnophaedia, or sleep-teaching was discovered. The early experiments attempted to use hypnophaedia to educate intellectuals, but this did not work because intellectual information was too rational to memorize. However, they switched to using hpynophaedia to deliver moral education, which, the Director claims, must never be rational. At this, he takes the students into a room where eighty infants lie sleeping. They are being sleep-taught a lesson called Elementary Class Consciousness. A voice from a loudspeaker is preaching softly and distinctly:
"Alpha children wear grey. They work much harder than we do, because they're so frightfully clever. I'm awfully glad I'm a Beta, because I don't work so hard. And then we are much better than the Gammas and Deltas. Gammas are stupid. They all wear green, and Delta children wear khaki. Oh no, I don't want to play with Delta children. And Epsilons are still worse. They're too stupid to be able to read or write. Besides they wear black, which is such a beastly colour. I'm so glad I'm a Beta." Chapter 2, pg. 27
The lesson will be repeated one hundred and twenty times, three times a week, for thirty months. After that, they will proceed to a more advanced lesson. The Director is very excited about hypnophaedia. He calls it the greatest moralizing and socializing force of all time. In his excitement, he shouts and bangs on the table, waking the children.
The tour proceeds outdoors. Outside in the playground, six or seven hundred naked children are running around. They play a game called Centrifugal Bumble-puppy, which involves a chrome steel tower and a rolling ball. It is a complicated game. The director points to a boy and a girl engaging in a sexual game. A nurse passes by with a howling little boy-he had seemed reluctant to engage in erotic play, so she is taking him to the Assistant Superintendent of Psychology. The Director tells the students an incredible story: before the time of Our Ford, erotic play between children had been regarded as abnormal and suppressed. The students are shocked to learn that in the time before Ford, erotic play was forbidden as children, adolescents, and at times all the way up until the people were over twenty years old.
A deep voice suddenly breaks in, saying that the results
were terrible. The voice belongs to his
fordship Mr. Mustapha Mond, the Resident Controller for
The students are awed by the presence of Mustapha Mond. He
is one of the Ten World Controllers. He shares with the students: "You all
remember, I suppose, that beautiful and inspired saying of Our Ford's: History
is bunk." Chapter 3, pg. 34 History has been wiped away
like dust; all forms of past culture, even the memories of Ancient Greece and
As the work day ends, the rest of this chapter describes short interludes between Mustapha Mond and the students, Lenina and her friend Fanny, and Bernard Marx and Henry Ford. It is important to note that the lines of dialogue are like a collage, alternating without notice between the three conversations, and that the lines become shorter and shorter until they are not even attributed to a speaker anymore, and are only distinguishable by their subject matter. At one point, yet another simultaneous situation is added to the collage of dialogue: the voices of hypnopaedia, teaching the infants to provide the demand to industrial supply. They chant sayings such as "Ending is better than mending. The more stitches, the less riches" Chapter 3, pg. 49 over and over again. The following three paragraphs are the three collaged conversations.
In the lines involving Mustapha and his students, he is
telling them about the horrors of motherhood and monogamy. He is drumming in
the idea of stability and society functioning as a whole. He talks about the
horrible conditions before the
He explains that there was also no caste system, and that sleep-teaching, or hypnophaedia, was prohibited. Following this description, the collaged passages of the three dialogues begin to get shorter and shorter, usually not more than a sentence long. He tells them about the Nine-Years' war, about the chemical warfare that went on, and the utter destruction which evolved into World Control. Advocates of culture and simple life were gunned down and gassed until the Controllers realized that conditioning and sleep-teaching were more effective, though slower means of control. There was a campaign enacted against the Past, and during this time, museums, monuments, and books were blown up. He speaks of the concept of God, soul, mortality, Heaven, and how they are defunct. He talks of soma: "All of the advantages of Christianity and alcohol; none of their defects" Chapter 3, pg. 54 He tells them about how all physiological signs of aging have been abolished, as have changes in character -- only leisure and soma remain.
Lenina goes to the changing room, where automatic faucets
and powder machines and vacuum massage machines get her ready to go out for the
evening. She bathes, covers herself in talcum powder and scent, and puts on her
green (all Alphas wear green) outfit. She sees her friend Fanny, who tells her
that she has been feeling out of sorts and will be having a Pregnancy
Substitute. This is compulsory at twenty-one, though Fanny is only
nineteen. It is a series of hormonal shots. Fanny is lecturing Lenina on how
unhealthy and unfordly it is that she is seeing so much of one man, Henry
Foster. She encourages her to sleep around more, for in the
The third series of conversations takes place between Henry Foster and the Assistant Predistinator in the changing room; Bernard is listening. They are talking about Lenina. Henry Foster tells his friend that he should have her sometime, and Bernard pales. He cannot believe that they are talking about Lenina like meat. He does not speak up. He recognizes much of what they say as clichés, just things they were sleep-taught. Following this, the collaged passages of the three dialogues begin to get shorter and shorter, usually not more than a sentence long. Bernard thinks about how he hates them, but also about how they are strong. The two agree that Fanny is nice too, but not nearly as attractive as Lenina. Bernard is thinking to himself that the only thing worse than how they think she is meat, is that she thinks of herself in this way as well. The two men notice that Bernard is glum and offer him soma pills. Bernard shouts, "Damn you!" and they leave unbothered, laughing at him. He leaves, cursing them as swine.
Chapter 4, Part 1
Lenina walks into a room filled with Alpha Males. She is a popular girl who has, at one point, spent the night with almost all of them. She thinks of them as dear, charming boys. She sees George Edzel, whose ears she wishes weren't so big, and Benito Hoover, who she remembers was really too hairy with his clothes off. She sees Bernard Marx looking melancholy and small in the corner, and she goes over to him and in a loud voice announces that she wants to talk about making plans with him. Others look around curiously, and some of the men even gasp with astonishment. Lenina is pleased that she is publicly proving her unfaithfulness to Henry.
She confirms that she would indeed like to go on a trip to
Lenina arrives four minutes late, as Henry points out to
her. They get into a helicopter. The propellers spin extremely fast, and they
Chapter 4, Part 2
Back to Bernard, who is walking across the roof with downcast eyes, guiltily and lonely, as if he were being pursued. He thinks about how the good intentions of Benito Hoover and Lenina make him suffer and feel even worse. He is upset by the power which Lenina seems to have over his emotions. He orders some Deltas to push his helicopter out onto the roof, but he does this with an arrogant tone. He is extremely self conscious of his own superiority and he finds it distressing to deal with the lower castes, since it reminds him of his physical inadequacies. He is shorter than most Alpha males, and there is a rumor that there was alcohol introduced to his solution when he was an embryo, stunting his growth. He envies men like Benito Hoover who take their caste position for granted and are comfortable in their social roles. Both men and women mock Bernard, and the self-consciousness and his actual appearance are reciprocal:
"The mockery made him feel like an outsider; and feeling an outsider he behaved one, which increased the prejudice against him and intensified the contempt and hostility aroused by his physical defects. Which in turn increased his sense of being alien and alone. A chronic fear of being slighted made him avoid his equals, made him stand, where his inferiors were concerned, self-consciously on his dignity." Chapter 4, Part 2, pg. 65
Bernard is headed for the buildings called the Bureaux of Propoganda
Chapter 5, Part 1
It is . Lenina and Henry Foster are leaving the Stoke Poges Club House after a round of Obstacle Golf. They get into a helicopter, the current method of transportation, and they pass by the Slough Crematorium, where Henry explains to Lenina that the balconies around the smokestacks are for collecting phosphorus, which is used as fertilizer. He is happy that people can continue being socially useful even after they are dead. Lenina comments on how strange it is that the nasty lower castes such as Gamma, can produce as much phosphorus as the high-caste Alphas, and Henry reminds her that all men are physico-chemically equal. Lenina has a flashback to her hypnophaedia, or sleep-teaching, how they told her that even Epsilons were useful, and she feels better and remarks that she is glad that she is not an Epsilon. Henry reminds her matter-of-factly that even if she were, her conditioning would have made her no less thankful. They agree that everybody is happy now, a phrase which had been repeated to them one hundred and fifty times a night every night for twelve years.
They eat dinner and Lenina takes soma. It is a beautiful night and they go to a cabaret to dance to synthetic music -- Calvin Stopes and His Sixteen Sexophonists, who are performing the hit song "There ain't no Bottle in all the world like that dear little bottle of mine." The lyrics are as follows:
"Bottle of mine, it's you I've always wanted!
Bottle of mine, why was I ever decanted?
Skies are blue inside of you,
The weather's always fine;
For there ain't no Bottle in all the world
Like that dear little Bottle of mine." Chapter 5, Part 1, pg. 76
They are "bottled," or under the influence of soma, and dance the night away under a sky that is always blue, or more accurately, covered in blue screens, so that they will not have to see dark night sky. The loudspeaker eventually ushers people home politely. They are bottled as they enter Henry's bedroom, but Lenina does remember, due the precautions instilled in her by hypnophaedia from ages twelve to seventeen, a Malthusian drill, to take all the contraceptive precautions before they have sex.
Chapter 5, Part 2
The next day is an alternate Thursday, which is Bernard Marx's Solidarity Service Day, and he is late. He takes a taxi to the Fordson Community Singery, a glowing white building. The clock sounds out in a bass voice "Ford, Ford, Ford...". Bernard starts to criticize the people around him, and his stupidity in his choice of seating. Without looking, he has sat down next to Morgana Rothschild, whose unibrow he finds revolting, and Clara Deterdling, whose attractiveness he finds intimidating. He wishes he'd sat next to Fifi Bradlagh and Joanna Diesel, who are perfect specimens, but instead the lout Tom Kawaguchi takes that coveted seat. They pass around and drink from the Loving Cup, which is filled with strawberry ice-cream soma, and they hear the First and Second Solidarity Hymns, the following an excerpt from them:
"Ford, we are twelve; oh make us one,
Like drops within the
Oh, make us now together run
As swiftly as thy shining Flivver.
Come, Greater Being, Social Friend,
We long to die, for when we end,
Our larger life has but begun." Chapter 5, Part 2, pg. 81
The soma begins to take effect, and even Bernard is affected. They sing the third hymn, and the excitement becomes intense. A voice sounds Ford, Ford, Ford, again and again, and they feel like they are melting, and that the Greater Being is coming. The men and women are ecstatic. Feeling only peer pressure, Bernard joins them in their cries, though he feels nothing. They dance around in a circle and chant "orgy-porgy" in a feverish drumbeat. It is dark and warm in the room, and soon the circle breaks, and they fall onto the surrounding couches. The voice continues to croon and coo.
After the orgy-porgy, Fifi is in calm rapture. Bernard lies and tells her that he found the ceremony wonderful too. He feels miserable and isolated and utterly alone and all he can think of is Morgana's ugly eyebrow.
Chapter 6, Part 1
Lenina is thinking about Bernard, and she
decides that she finds him odd. She wonders whether she should cancel the trip
Chapter 6, Part 2
Word of Bernard's anti-establishment talk gets
back to The Director. Bernard goes in to ask for a
permit to visit The Savage Reservation in
Chapter 6, Part 3
Bernard and Lenina arrive via rocket in
The pilot of the helicopter tells Lenina not to worry, that the savages have enough experience with gas bombs to be of any danger to her.
Lenina sees the buildings of Malpais from a distance and condemns it as queer, along with the Indian guide who is taking them to the pueblo, or town. She complains about having to walk, and about how he smells. She is disgusted and incredulous when she sees the garbage and the flies where people are living. "Cleanliness is next to fordliness," Chapter 7, pg. 110 she says, and Bernard responds sarcastically with another piece of sleep-taught wisdom, "Yes, and civilization is sterilization." Chapter 7, pg. 110 She sees an old man for the first time and wonders what is wrong with him. Bernard explains that old age is prevented outside the reservation through inoculations and the artificially constructed chemical balance of youth which scientists create. Lenina searches her pockets and discovers with horror that she left her soma in the hotel. She is horrified to see women nursing, and more horrified when Bernard is touched by its intimacy. He even goes as far as to suggest that she has missed out on a wonderful experience, having not been a mother herself. She sees a ceremony and hears drums and mistakes it for an orgy-porgy. But soon the similarity disappears, as naked painted dancing people emerge, shrieking, with snakes, and crucifixes, whipping a young man until he bleeds. Lenina begins to sob.
They meet a young man, John, in Indian dress. He seems out of place because he speaks faultless English and has straw-colored hair and white skin. He asks Bernard and Lenina if they have come from The Other Place. He tells Bernard and Lenina that he wishes it had been him who had been whipped, because he wanted to be the sacrifice to Pookong and Jesus to make rain come and corn grow. Lenina stares at him, admiring his body, and he blushes. He explains that he and his mother Linda are strangers in the Reservation, and that she had come from The Other Place before he was born, with a man who was his father. Bernard listens intently. Linda fell while walking alone and was rescued by members of Malpais. The young man tells Bernard that the man's name was Tomakin. Bernard remembers that the Director's name is Thomas.
They go to meet Linda. Lenina is beyond disgusted with the
wrinkled, filthy woman. She is revolted as Linda, reeking of alcohol, embraces
her and even kisses her. Linda is absolutely ecstatic to see pieces of the
Other Place, and she touches Lenina's clothing and babbles, reminiscing about
Bernard asks John to tell him his life story. John starts as far back as he can remember. He remembers Linda singing lullabies from The Other Place to him as a child. One day, he woke with a start to find a man in the bed with Linda. He hears his mother say, "Not with John here." He feels threatened by the man, who proceeds to lift John by his arm and lock him out of the room. John remembers that Linda was upset with him because he was playing with the little boys and because she has been reprimanded for not knowing how to weave. She calls them savages and he does not understand what she means by that.
Popé, who is Linda's lover, who John remembers, brings Linda mescal, a hallucinogenic, in liquid form. Linda likes it because its effect reminds her of soma. John remembers finding Linda being held down by a group of dark women who whip her. He tries to console her after they leave, and she reacts violently, calling him a little idiot and a beast, and shouts that he has become a savage and her becoming pregnant with him has ruined her chances of being able to return to The Other Place. Suddenly, she changes, and puts her arms around him. Sometimes she did not get up at all, and lay in bed with Popé and mescal all day, forgetting to cook or clean her son.
John remembers the happy times, when she tells him stories about The Other Place, about flying and nice smells and beautiful colors and dancing and cleanliness. He remembers too the old men of the pueblo telling him of all of the gods and creation myths. He loves all the strange and wonderful stories that he hears.
"Lying in bed, he would think of Heaven and London and Our Lady of Acoma and the rows and rows of babies in clean bottles and Jesus fling up and Linda flying up and the great Director of World hatcheries and Awonawilona." Chapter 8, pg. 128
John remembers that the other boys say bad things about Linda and throw stones at him because so many men come to see her and because she does not know how to mend his ragged clothes. She teaches him to read, and says that one day he will be able to read the only book she has from The Other Place, The Chemical and Bacteriological Conditioning of the Embryo. Practical Instructions for Beta Embryo-Store Workers.
The more they make fun of him, the more he reads, because he recognizes that they cannot read. Linda does not know the answers to his more detailed scientific questions, so he gets his information from the myths that the old men tell him and accepts this information as more definite. One day Popé brings him The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. The rhythm and beauty of the words remind him of the summer dances in the pueblo.
He watches the effect of the mescal on Linda, how she is deteriorating, and he hates Popé more and more. One day, thinking in his head of a quote from Shakespeare's play Macbeth, he decides to kill Popé with a knife, but Popé is too strong and catches his wrist, laughing at him. John feels tears of shame.
When John turns fifteen, Old Mitsima, an elder in the pueblo, teaches John pottery. They work all day and sing traditional songs and John feels pleasure at his achievement.
John witnesses the wedding of a girl named Kiakimé. He feels frustrated and hopeless because he realizes that he loved her and she is gone forever. He realizes once and for all that he is alone when he is not let into a special ceremony for men. He stands on the edge of a cliff and ponders jumping off. He sees blood dripping from his wrist. He has discovered Time and Death and God.
John has finished his story. He ends, saying that he is
always alone. This awakens Bernard's own feelings of loneliness. John is
surprised, because Linda has told him that in The Other Place, no one is ever
alone. They exchange their feelings of loneliness and rejection and
inferiority, and John tells him how he has fantasized and pretended to be Jesus
crucified by scarring himself. Bernard is fascinated, though still disgusted at
the thought of injury, dirt, or deformity. He asks John to come back to
Reeling from her experience at The Savage Reservation, Lenina takes enough soma to go on an eighteen-hour soma holiday. Bernard leaves Lenina at the rest-house and contacts World Controller Mustapha Mond to arrange for the transport of John and Linda.
Meanwhile, back at the rest-house, John goes looking for Bernard but cannot find him. He breaks into Lenina's room and goes, with fascination and fetish, through her things, reveling in the novelty and the sweet smells. He sees her lying on the bed, vulnerable and beautiful, and leans over her and, cautiously as not to wake her up, breathlessly admiring her beauty, he recites from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, in which the speaker is idealizing Juliet's eyes, her hair, and her modesty. John is so awed by Lenina's beauty that he does not even dare touch her. He has a sudden temptation to pull the one zipper of her pajamas, but he immediately is ashamed of himself. He hears what he thinks is a fly in the air, and realizing with a panic that it is actually a helicopter, he runs into the other room to receive Bernard.
Bernard is late to a meeting with the Director and Henry Foster. The Director is talking badly about Bernard to Henry, about how the greater a man's intellectual talents, the more moral responsibility he has.
"The greater a man's talents, the greater his power to lead astray. It is better that one should suffer than that many should be corrupted. Consider the matter dispassionately, Mr. Foster, and you will see that no offence is so heinous as unorthodoxy of behaviour. Murder kills only the individual-and after all, what is an individual?... We can make a new one with the greatest ease-as many as we like. Unorthodoxy threatens more than the life of a mere individual; it strikes at Society itself." Chapter 10, pg. 148
Bernard finally enters the room. The Director reprimands him harshly in front of all the people at the meeting as a conspirator and suggests his deportation. The Director asks him if there is any reason why he should not be punished, and Bernard triumphantly presents Linda. Linda, old, fat, and terrifying to the spectators, rushes toward the Director, calling him by his first name and lunging with grief to embrace him when she sees that he does not remember her. The Director is horrified and mortified, and Bernard then prepares the biggest shock of all. John enters the room, falls to his knees and says clearly, "My father!" At this preposterous idea, the people break into whooping laughter. The Director looks around the office desperately, and humiliated, he runs out of the room with his hands over his ears.
Bernard is the big man on campus. Once inferior and looked down upon, he now receives gifts and is favored by many women. Even Fanny, Lenina's friend, agrees that Bernard is sweet. His success goes straight to his head. Bernard boasts about his conquests to Helmholtz, and when Helmholtz seems sad, Bernard interprets this as envy, and vows not to talk to him ever again. People talk behind his back, predicting that his fame will come to an end when the uproar ends, and that he will not find another Savage when this one loses its novelty.
He instructs that the Savage be shown all aspects of civilized life, and reports back to Mustapha Mond that the Savage shows little surprise at the civilized inventions. Mond finds his reports patronizing and thinks that Bernard has gone mad to lecture him, the World Controller, on the social order.
John gets a tour of the Central
London Hatchery facilities, similar to the tour the students
received. He begins to violently retch. In an interlude, Bernard reports to
Mond that the Savage (John) refuses to take soma and is distressed about the
state of his mother and the fact that despite her repulsiveness, the Savage
still goes to see her, citing this as an example of early conditioning. The
Savage is taken to
Lenina is also experiencing a very gratifying popularity through her association with the spectacle. She has been asked by many clubs and organizations to speak about her fashionable glory, and important men are asking her out. Yet she recognizes that the fame is under false pretenses, because people keep asking her what it is like to make love to a Savage, and she must confess that she does not know. She has a crush on him, and notices him looking at her with desire, but does not understand why he does not make a move.
She takes him to a feely, a movie which is completely interactive, with tactile sensations and smells. It is called THREE WEEKS IN A HELICOPTER. AN ALL-SUPER-SINGING, SYNTHETIC-TALKING, COLOURED, STEREOSCOPIC FEELY. WITH SYNCHRONIZED SCENT-ORGAN ACCOMPANIMENT. The Savage is completely bewildered by the fact that he can actually feel the sensations. A couple in the film makes love on a bearskin and he can feel every hair. He can even feel it when a black man falls out of a helicopter onto his head. He tries to woo a Beta blonde, but she is rescued by handsome Alphas and he is sent off for reconditioning. The Savage tells Lenina she ought not to see horrible things like that. She does not understand and thinks it was lovely. On the way home he wonders why he must be so queer and strange and spoil things. He says good night to her with a grimace, and she is stunned when he does not invite himself to go home with her to have sex. He goes back to his room and reads Shakespeare's Othello, which also features a black man. Lenina cries and takes some soma and goes to bed.
The Savage refuses to appear at an assembly Bernard has organized. He curses at him in Zuñi and spits on the ground, as he has seen Popé do. His refusal is an outrage, but the rage is directed mostly toward Bernard. The important and impatient assembly is very angry with Bernard. Bernard is shamed. Lenina is among those waiting. She is very anxious about the previous night's events. She actually feels emotions, both emptiness and nausea. The Arch-Community-Songster, a figure of authority who leads celebrations of Ford, tells Bernard to mend his ways, and then leaves with Lenina. Bernard, alone, begins to weep, and takes soma.
Mustapha Mond is reading a report on biology. He decides to censor it and to supervise the author, watching out for further subversiveness lest it become necessary to deport him to an island. He writes in thick pen "Not to be published". Meanwhile, John is reading Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and the Arch-Community-Songster is hitting on Lenina. Bernard has gotten over his success and is very depressed. He tells the Savage about it and the Savage is sympathetic, remarking that he prefers the real Bernard to the falsely happy Bernard. Bernard is angry and blames him for his unhappiness. He plans for revenge against the Savage, since he is powerless against anyone else. He goes to see Helmholtz, who he had abandoned at the height of his brief success, and Helmholtz accepts him back. Bernard confides in him once again and Helmholtz consoles him. He finds out that Helmholtz too has been in trouble for writing some rhymes about being alone, a concept which goes against all principles of sleep-teaching. In spite of the fact that he is a marked man, Helmholtz is happy because he finally feels like he has been accessing the strange unknown well of feeling inside him of which he could not formerly identify. Bernard introduces Helmholtz and the Savage, and they get along so well that Bernard is immediately jealous and hateful. At their third meeting, Helmholtz shares his poetry with the Savage, who in turn shares poetry from an old book of his. They are both very excited. Bernard feels like the odd man out and tries to bring them down, jealous that his two friends like each other more than they like him. The Savage and Helmholtz discuss how Shakespeare's writing is far superior to that of the propaganda technicians. They laugh over the plot of Romeo and Juliet, especially the absurdity of a mother and father (that in itself is absurd) forcing the daughter to marry (also an absurd concept) someone who she did not want to be with, and the daughter actually preferring someone else. They laugh some more, and Helmholtz says that ridiculous situations were necessary in order to produce such wonderful writing.
"Why was that old fellow [Shakespeare] such a marvellous propaganda technician? Because he had so many insane, excruciating things to get excited about. You've got to be hurt and upset; otherwise you can't think of the really good, penetrating X-rayish phrases... No, it won't do. We need some other kind of madness and violence. But what? What? Where can one find it?... I don't know." Chapter 12, pg. 185
Lenina is absent-minded and unhappy about The Savage (John) having rejected her. She turns down Henry Foster's offer to go to a feely, though it is one of her favorite things to do. He advises her to see a doctor for a Pregnancy Substitute or a Violent Passion Surrogate. Lenina is relieved, thinking that this is a simple solution to her unhappiness. Relieved, yet still distracted about John, she forgets to give an inoculation to one of the embryos. Later, in the changing room, her friend Fanny tries to talk her out of her fixation on this one man. She tells Lenina that she should just go and take him, and Lenina proceeds to his place. He is surprised to see her. She marches in, on soma, uninhibited. He falls to his knees and praises her beauty and perfection and says that the reason why he hasn't acted thus far is because he wanted to prove himself worthy, to do something like bring her a lion skin, like one had to do at Malpais. This irritates Lenina, who tells him that there are Epsilon workers to do all of the labor he is offering her. He tells her he loves her, and suggests marriage and recites Shakespeare. She is repelled by the completely novel and anti-societal idea of it, and loses her patience. She asks him once and for all if he likes her, and when he says yes, she throws herself at him. He is very conflicted, and voicing his conscience, he recites more Shakespeare about how he does not want his lust to overcome him. Lenina does not understand, and she undresses. He continues to recite Shakespeare. The Savage is terrified and backs up against the wall. Lenina tries out some of her own poetry, lyrics from popular songs: "Put your arms around me/ Hug me till you drug me, honey/ Kiss me till I'm in a coma/ Hug me honey, snuggly..." Chapter 14, pg. 194
The Savage interrupts her violently, taking her wrists and thrusting her away. He calls her a whore and tells her to leave before he kills her. Lenina is wounded and locks herself safely in the bathroom. He recites Shakespeare desperately and maniacally, trying to rid himself of her. He hands her clothes to her through the bathroom door, which she is terrified to open, and he answers the phone to find out that his mother is seriously ill. He rushes out the door and Lenina finally escapes, fleeing the building.
The Savage (John) is in the sixty-story tower called the Park Lane Hospital for the Dying to visit his mother Linda. The nurse is embarrassed and startled to hear the word "mother." She takes him to see Linda. Linda is watching television, and she hardly even recognizes him, so far gone is she on her soma-holiday. He remembers sentimentally how she sang him lullabies and taught him how to read and told him stories of The Other Place. A large group of Bokanovskivfied twins passes by and he is horrified. He hears them, the low-caste workers, and several children, there at the hospital for their Death Conditioning, talking badly about his mother. John has a violent reaction. He looks at Linda and feels waves of shame for abandoning her. Suddenly, Linda wakes, mistakes The Savage (John) for her lover at The Savage Reservation (AKA Malpais), Popé, finally recognizes him, and, remembering the reality of her situation, dies. The Savage (John) is beside himself with grief and shoves a twin to the floor in his rush to escape the building.
The workers of the
"They had mocked him through his misery and remorse, mocked him with how hideous a note of cynical derision! Fiendishly laughing, they had insisted on the low squalor, the nauseous ugliness of the nightmare. Now, suddenly, they trumpeted a call to arms. 'O brave new world!' Miranda was proclaiming the possibility of loveliness, the possibility of transforming even the nightmare into something fine and noble. 'O brave new world!' It was a challenge, a command." Chapter 15, pg. 210
He notices that the Deltas are appalled, when upon noticing their unruliness, the distributor threatens to cut off the soma. The Savage has a revelation. Linda was a slave of soma, as are all others. He makes up his mind to set them all free. He shouts to them that soma is poison of mind and body, and that he comes to bring them freedom. The distributor slips away to make a phone call.
Meanwhile, Bernard and Helmholtz are wondering where the Savage has gone. They receive a call from the distributor, describing the commotion the Savage has caused at the Hospital for the Dying.
Back at the Hospital, the Savage is discarding the soma, preaching to the masses of Deltas, who are staring at him with horror. He is shouting "Free, free!" Bernard is horrified as well, and thinks that the Deltas are going to kill the Savage, but Helmholtz joins the Savage and they empty the entire box of soma out the window. The Deltas revolt. All hell breaks loose, and Bernard, utterly confused, first runs to help his friends, but then stops, must he stop his friends? He stands, "in an agony of humiliated indecision." Chapter 15, pg. 214 The police rush in, soma gas is pumped in, and from the Synthetic Music Box, a recording called Synthetic Anti-Riot Speech Number Two (Medium Strength) plays. The Deltas are soon kissing and hugging each other and fresh pills are brought. The Sergeant takes the Savage and Helmholtz into custody. Bernard is surprised when the Sergeant wants him to come with them, but can't deny that he is a friend of the prisoners and goes along with them.
The three meet with his fordship World Controller Mustapha Mond in his study. Bernard is gloomy and pessimistic; Helmholtz is laughing aloud; and the Savage is restlessly pacing. He reads some of Mond's autobiography. Mond walks in and addresses the Savage directly, asking him if he likes civilization. Bernard is horrified when the Savage gives Mond the honest answer of no. During the course of their conversation, Mond makes an allusion to an image from a Shakespeare play, and the Savage lights up with pleasure, until Mond reminds him that only he, the World Controller, who makes the laws, can break them. Mond explains that Shakespeare is prohibited because it is old, and particularly because it is beautiful, and people should be attracted to new things, not old things. They discuss Othello, another Shakespeare play, and Mond explains the impossibility of such a play's existence: to have tragedy you need social instability and dissatisfaction.
"Our world is not the same as Othello's world. You
can't make flivvers without steel-and you can't make tragedies without social
instability. The world's stable now. People are happy; they get what they want,
and they never want what they can't get...And if anything should go wrong,
there's soma. Which you go and chuck out of the window in the name of liberty,
Even Helmholtz, who writes the feelies, agrees that they are idiotic. Mond continues:
"Actual happiness always looks pretty squalid in comparison with the overcompensations for misery. And, of course, stability isn't nearly so spectacular as instability. And being contented has none of the glamour of a good fight against misfortune, none of the picturesqueness of a struggle with temptation or a fatal overthrow by passion or doubt. Happiness is never grand." Chapter 16, pg. 221
Mond stands up for society, defending the Bokanovsky twins.
He explains that everyone can't be an Alpha-double-plus; they need morons to do
moron work; an Alpha would go mad doing that kind of work. He describes the
Mond mentions the word science, a term unfamiliar to the Savage. Helmholtz is surprised to hear that Mond considers even some science to be subversive. Mond reveals that he was once a physicist, and came to realize that science is, "just a cookery book, with an orthodox theory of cooking that nobody's allowed to question, and a list of recipes that mustn't be added to except by special permission from the head cook." Chapter 16, pg. 225 He did some unorthodox physics once, and was threatened with being sent to an island. Bernard panics and begs, sobbing, not to be sent to an island. He has to be given soma and taken away.
The discussion continues without him. The Controller explains that on the island, he would have had the opportunity to do whatever unorthodox science he would have desired, but he chose to aspire to Controller status. He praises science, but adds, "we can't allow science to undo its own good work." Chapter 17, pg. 227
He explains that science must deal only with the most immediate problems, and nothing else. As a result of mass production, Ford changed the emphasis of science from truth and beauty to comfort and happiness. Up until the Nine Year's War, people still practiced traditional science. The Controller, by choosing the path of authority over unorthodoxy, chose to serve happiness. He asks Helmholtz what kind of island he would like, and Helmholtz replies that he would write better if the climate were thoroughly bad. The Controller tells him that he likes his spirit, though officially, he disapproves of it. Helmholtz leaves and goes to check up on Bernard.
A deep intellectual conversation takes place between Mustapha Mond and The Savage (John). The Savage tells Mond that as World Controller, he has sacrificed art and science for happiness. They have discussed art and science with Helmholtz and Bernard, and now move on to religion. Mond pulls out a copy of the Bible and other religious books and shows the Savage. He tells the Savage that he has "God in the safe and Ford on the shelves." Chapter 17, pg. 231 The Savage asks him why, if he knows about God, he does not tell people about him, and Mond replies that it is the same reason why he does not tell people about Othello: because it is old. Mond reads from two books, one by Cardinal Newman and the other by Maine de Biran, a philosopher. He reads a passage from the first book, which proclaims that we are not our own but the property of God, and that independence is an unnatural state, not made for men. From the second book, he reads a passage about the idea that weakness and fear of old age makes men turn to religion. The author believes that in his own experience, his religious sentiment is a result of the calming of his passions and a turn inward, away from worldly sensations and toward God.
Mond shuts the book. He explains that philosophers did not
dream of the modern world, where old age does not exist; youth and prosperity,
which now people have right up until the end, have replaced God. There are no
losses for which religion must compensate, and youthful desires are unfailing.
The Savage asks him if he is an atheist, and Mond says that he believes that
there is a God that manifests himself in different ways to different men; now
God manifests himself as an absence. The Savage says that it is Mond's fault,
and Mond replies it is the fault of a civilization that has chosen science and
machinery and universal happiness. They discuss solitude -- the Savage says
that he feels God when he is alone, but Mond reminds him that people are taught
to hate solitude, and life is arranged so that they almost never have it. The
Savage thinks about how he was kept away from communal activities at the
Reservation, and now in the
The Savage tells Mond that the man is just as punished with
"There's always soma to calm your anger, to reconcile you to your enemies, to make you patient and long-suffering. In the past you could only accomplish these things by making a great effort and after years of hard moral training. Now, you swallow two or three half-gramme tablets, and there you are. Anybody can be virtuous now. You can carry at least half your mortality about in a bottle. Christianity without tears-that's what soma is." Chapter 17, pg. 238
The Savage declares that life is too easy, that instead of learning to deal with aversive things, they simply have done away with them. He thinks of how they did away with his mother by putting her on soma-holiday. He asks Mond if there is something in living dangerously, and Mond explains the Violent Passion Surrogate treatments, which are mandatory and involve flooding a person's system with adrenin, the physiological equivalent of fear and rage without any of the inconveniences. The Savage says that he likes the inconveniences, the poetry, the danger, the freedom, the goodness, and the sin.
"In fact', said Mustapha Mond, 'you're claiming the
right to be unhappy.'
'All right then,' said the Savage defiantly, 'I'm claiming the right to be unhappy.'
'Not to mention the right to grow old and ugly and impotent; the right to have syphilis and cancer; the right to have too little to eat; the right to be lousy; the right to live in constant apprehension of what may happen tomorrow; the right to catch typhoid; the right to be tortured by unspeakable pains of every kind.' There was a long silence.
'I claim them all,' said the Savage at last.
Mustapha Mond shrugged his shoulders. 'You're welcome,' he said." Chapter 17, pg. 240
Helmholtz goes to find the Savage, who looks ill. He asks him if he ate something that didn't agree with him, and the Savage says that he ate civilization, and that it poisoned and defiled him, and that he drank, according to Indian purification tradition, mustard and warm water. Helmholtz and Bernard are astonished at his self-punishment, and tell him that they have come to say goodbye before they are sent to an island. The Savage tells them that he asked to be sent away with them, and the Controller refused in order to continue the experiment of his immersion in society. He tells them that he too is planning to go away tomorrow, though he does not know where.
The Savage (John) travels through
He begins to farm the earth and cut trees; the physical
labor makes him so happy that he is ashamed, thinking of Linda's
unhappiness and the way he mistreated and abandoned her, and goes indoors to
repent again. Later, three Delta-minus
workers see him whipping himself, and the next day, reporters
swarm around the lighthouse. They want to interview him, but the Savage curses
him in Zuñi, the language of the
Savage Reservation where he grew up, and sends the reporter on his
way with a hard kick to his bottom. This makes major news in
A photographer from the Feely Corporation, which makes feelies, sensory interactive movies, has been hiding out near the lighthouse and catches the Savage's self-mutilation on film. He makes it into a film called The Savage of Surrey and it is an instant hit less than two weeks later. A great swarm of helicopters arrives at the lighthouse while the Savage is gardening. He runs for cover, then shakes the whip at them. They applaud and ask to see more of the whipping stunt, chanting "We want the whip!" Chapter 18, pg. 257 Things get rhythmic and riotous. All of a sudden, Lenina steps out of one of the helicopters, and her appearance drives him over the edge, which is what the crowd wanted. He attacks her with the whip, chanting "Fry, lechery, fry! ... Oh, the flesh!... Kill it, kill it," Chapter 18, pg. 258 and she shouts with fear for Henry Foster, who has already run away. The mob imitates his gestures, and then all of a sudden, somebody begins chanting "orgy-porgy", and this is exactly the riot of indulgence that it turns into. They do not leave until after , and all are completely drugged on soma. The Savage lies in the brush, and wakes in the late morning. He wakes, remembers everything, and exclaims, "Oh, my God, my God!" Chapter 18, pg. 264
The next evening, a swarm of helicopters ten kilometers (over six miles) long show up, having heard about the previous night's orgy-porgy. The reporters walk into the open lighthouse and find that the Savage has hung himself.
"Just under the crown of the arch dangled a pair of
Slowly, very slowly, like two unhurried compass needles, the feet turned towards the right; north, north-east, east, south-east, south, south-south-west; then paused, and, after a few seconds, turned as unhurriedly back towards the left. South-south-west, south, south-east, east..." Chapter 19, pg. 259
The Director (Tomakin): The Director is the first character we meet. He is leading a tour in the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre. It turns out that he impregnated a woman who was then lost to the Savage Reservation. When Bernard and Lenina travel to the Reservation, they find the woman, Linda, and her son, John (the Savage), and as the director is reprimanding Bernard, Bernard arranges for the appearance of John and Linda. The Director, humiliated by his illegitimate wife and son, leaves, and this is basically the last we hear of him.
Lenina Crowne: Lenina is the main female character. She is nineteen years old. She is typical of the new civilized person, both intellectually and sexually. She is the female archetype and also the ideal: very attractive, popular, and 'pneumatic.' She is first seen as a lab worker, and the companion of Henry Foster. Unlike most of the main characters, she is of the Beta, or secondary, caste in the social hierarchy (others are Alpha). Bernard is extremely interested in her, and luckily for him, she is also interested; eventually they go out on a date and following the date, they have sex. She goes with him to The Savage Reservation, where she meets John, who soon after, is referred to as the Savage. She becomes interested in John, but he rejects her; she is typical of a civilization he does not understand. This makes her sad and frustrated. Eventually, she shows up at his refuge, and he beats her with his whip.
Bernard Marx: Bernard Marx is one of
the most important male characters. He works for the Psychology Department of
the Central London Hatcheries and Conditioning Centre. He is of the top social
caste, an Alpha Plus Intellectual. He is the only upper-caste member in the
book besides Helmholtz Watson who voices disapproval and bitterness toward
society. He is extremely disgruntled. He has a crushing sense of inferiority
due to his physical condition. Although he is an Alpha, he is shorter and
thinner than the typical male of his social status, and some say he was
incorrectly exposed to alcohol while being decanted at the Central London
Hatcheries and Conditioning Centre. He voices thoughts that go against the
governmental conditioning, such as the beauty of the ocean and the moon, the
idea of monogamy (only one sexual partner), and the desire to be alone. Despite
his inadequacies, he is intriguing to Lenina, who travels with him to the
Savage Reservation. He connects with the illegitimate son of the Director,
John, (later the Savage), and arranges for John’s transport back to
The Savage (John): We first meet John
when Bernard and Lenina go to the Savage Reservation. He is the illegitimate
son of Linda, a Beta (second) class woman who was impregnated twenty-five years
ago by the Director (Tomakin), and then disappeared and brought up in the
Reservation. He becomes a curiosity in
Mustapha Mond: Mustapha Mond is the
World Controller for
Helmholtz Watson: Helmholtz Watson is
Bernard’s confidante. He is a lecturer at the
Ford: Ford is the surrogate, and surrogate word, for God in the new civilization. People say things like 'Oh, Ford!; and 'Fordey!' The new sign, replacing the cross, is a T, or a cross with the top chopped off. 'Ford' is later revealed to be a corruption of the word Freud, otherwise known as the last name of the psychologist Sigmund Freud, whose psycho-sexual theories are controversial. Mustapha Mond explains that Ford, or Freud, as he used to call himself when speaking of psychological matters, was the first to reveal the perversion, misery, and dangers of family life.
Henry Foster: Henry Foster is one of Lenina’s lovers, the first we meet. He helps give the tour of the Central London Hatcheries and Conditioning Centre.
Linda: Linda is the mother of the Savage, or
John. She was of the Beta, or second caste. Twenty-five years ago, she went on
a vacation with Tomakin, the Director, to the Savage Reservation in
George Edzel: George Edzel is one of the men with whom Lenina has had sex He is of the same caste as Bernard, yet he is a finer, more typical specimen. Lenina comments that he is charming, yet she wishes his ears weren’t so big.
Benito Hoover: Benito Hoover is another man that Lenina has slept with. She comments that he is charming, yet recalls that he really is too hairy with his clothes off. He is very good-natured, which irks Bernard to no end. He is the sunny reality which Bernard does not like or trust, though Bernard accepts his friendship during his popular phase upon the discovery of the Savage.
Popé: Popé is Linda’s Indian lover while she is on the Reservation. He has long, black braids and wears a large silver bracelet with turquoise. John resents Popé very much. For one thing, Popé brings his mother mescal, which keeps her drugged and unapproachable, then leaves her sick. He even tries to stab Popé at one point, but Popé is too strong and catches his wrist.
Fanny Crowne: Fanny Crowne is one of
Lenina’s coworkers and a good friend. Through her discussions with Lenina in
Chapter 3, we learn much of the sexual politics of Brave New World. That they
share the same last name is purely coincidental, since only ten thousand last
names exist in the whole
Morgana Rothschild: Morgana is a very minor character. Bernard, without thinking, sits next to her at the orgy-porgy and immediately regrets it because she has a unibrow. She is more enthusiastic about him, though.
Fifi Bradlaugh: Fifi is a minor character as well, appearing only at the orgy-porgy. Bernard is angry with himself for sitting next to the ugly Morgana and the intimidatingly attractive Fifi, and wishes he’d chosen the seat between Clara and Joanna.
Clara Deterdling: Clara has pretty much the exact same minor role as Joanna, as an attractive guest at the orgy-porgy who Bernard compares with the unattractive Morgana Rothschild. Bernard wishes he’d sat next to Clara and Joanna instead, because they are more attractive, or as the novel’s lingo goes, pneumatic.
reporters: They swarm around the savage to get his story.
Reuben Rabinovitch: Reuben Rabinovitch is a little Polish boy that World Controller Mustapha Mond tells the student tour group about. He was the catalyst for the discovery of hypnopaedia, or sleep-teaching, which is widely used at the Central London Hatcheries and Conditioning Centre.
Tom Kawaguchi: Tom is a man at Bernard’s Solidarity Service day. Bernard is angry at himself for not sitting between Joanna Diesel and Clara Deterdling, and calls Tom a lout when Tom enters late and gets that coveted seat.
Joanna Diesel: Joanna has the same minor role as Clara Deterdling, as an attractive guest at the orgy-porgy who Bernard compares with the unattractive Morgana Rothchild. Bernard wishes he’d sat next to Clara and Joanna instead, because they are more attractive, or as the novel’s lingo goes, pneumatic.
Old Mitsima: An elder in the pueblo who teaches John pottery.
Kiakime: The marriage of this pueblo girl to another man makes John long for his missed opportunities. He stands at the edge of a cliff and contemplates suicide, discovering Time, Death and God.
Bokanovsky’s Process: Basically, this process involves letting the egg 'bud' and creates up to ninety-six embryos from each bud, each of which will grow into a human being. The Director calls the Bokanovsky process 'one of the major instruments of social stability.'
Soma: Soma is the drug that people take in half-gramme tablets to get away from it all. It produces a joyful effect in which all bad things are simply whisked away. It is on hand at all times. For most of their lives, the citizens of the Brave New World are doped up. John, or the Savage, is pretty much the only one in the book who has never taken soma. The creation and introduction of soma is as such: Two thousand pharmocologists and bio-chemists were subsidized in A.F. 178, and six years later, it was being produced commercially.
Orgy-Porgy: A meeting of about a dozen men and women where they pass 'the loving cup' of strawberry ice cream spiked with soma, sing Solidarity anthems, see Ford, and have sex. Bernard goes to one of these orgy-porgies. At the end of the novel, it is, for a good part, the orgy-porgy that occurs outside of the Savage’s refuge that drives him to his suicide.
Violent Passion Surrogate: Once a month, people are required to go to the conditioning centre to have their systems flooded with adrenaline, which provides them with their ration of fear and rage, without actually having to act on any of it.
Hypnopaedia: Hypnophaedia is sleep-teaching. We first see this in the Director’s tour. It is a series of repeated sayings used to teach children everything from their place in society to clever little sayings and proverbs. Basically, it is a form of thought control, or the imposing of a mind-script. While the children at the Central London Hatcheries and Conditioning Centre are napping, these 'lessons' are played time and time again, thousands of times between the ages of three and sixteen.
Feelies: These are the popular films. Filmgoers sit in special chairs that allow them to feel, and to interact, with the movie. The plots are simple, and often involve sex. Lenina takes The Savage to one of these feelies. She enjoys it very much, but he is horrified.
Sexual Hormone Chewing Gum: This is chewed by men, for instance, Bernard, to attract women. Benito Hoover gives him several packs to congratulate him on his achievement with the Savage.
The Savage Reservation, aka Malpais: The
Savage Reservation, or Malpais: The Savage Reservation, or Malpais, is filled
with sixty thousand Indians and half-breeds, where things considered
abominations, such as marriage, religion, disease, and wild animals still
exist. The Reservation is in
Synthetic Music: This music comes out of speakers and has a calming effect. It is used at feelies, which are popular sensory movies.
Solidarity Service Day: This is an act compulsory for high-caste people. They gather together for soma and an orgy, aka orgy-porgy.
The Loving Cup: The Loving Cup is passed around at the compulsory Solidarity Service Day orgy, aka orgy-porgy, which Bernard attends. It is filled with strawberry ice cream, spiked with soma.
Alpha: Alpha is the highest caste in the caste system. Alphas have the highest level of intelligence and attractiveness.
Epsilon: Epsilon is the lowest caste in the caste system. They possess little to no human intelligence, and they are used only as workers.
Soma-Holiday: A soma-holiday refers to the drugged state one enters after taking a large dose of soma, a drug which is widespread and commonplace, used for relaxation and to maintain social stability.
The Other Place: Linda refers to the world outside Malpais, the Savage Reservation, as the Other Place.
Hospital for the Dying: All aging and dying people are sent to this hospital so that others in society will not be exposed to anything but eternal youth and vitality. Linda, the mother of The Savage, is put on permanent soma-holiday and sent to the Hospital for the Dying. Due to the time she spent lost at the Savage Reservation, she aged, a phenomenon unknown outside the reservation.
Death Conditioning: Children are brought to the Park Lane Hospital for the Dying and given chocolate ice cream as part of their Death Conditioning, in which they learn to accept death as a part of life.
Delta workers: These dozens of
identical twins, dressed in mandatory khaki, are only one step up from the
bottom caste, Epsilons. They staff the
Lighthouse: The Savage exiles
himself to the lighthouse after his mother Linda dies. He plans to garden there
and start anew, away from the
The Feely Corporation: This company
produces the 'feelie' films, which are so popular in the
Decanting: Decanting takes the
place of live birth, which no longer exists in the
Alpha Plus Intellectuals: This is the top-ranking social caste in the novel. Bernard Marx is an alpha-plus intellectual, as is Helmholtz Watson.
Pregnancy Substitute: Since there is no live birth or pregnancy, only decanting, it is suggested that women take a pregnancy substitute, which lasts several months. The procedure is not described in detail. It is compulsory at age twenty-one, but some women have it as early as seventeen.
Ectogenesis: This is the scientific process of the breaking up, or budding, of the egg, which is done at the Central London Hatcheries and Conditioning Centre.
Neo-Pavlovian Conditioning: The
process of raising a person in the
Malthusian Belt/Thomas Malthus: Lenina Crowne and other high-caste women wear these belts. They are fashionable (Lenina’s is green and fancy) and on these belts, they carry their contraception at all times. Malthus was an eighteenth century writer who, put most simply, discussed the problematic nature of unchecked population growth when combined with other factors, such as the inability of food production to keep up with the demand for food.
Sigmund Freud: Sigmund Freud was an Austrian-born psychologist. He is considered the father of modern psychology. He is famous and controversial for his psycho-sexual theories, which often involve family dynamics, including the Oedipus Complex.
motto: The motto of the
Social Predestination Room: It is in this room that the embryos are treated in scientific ways so that they will become members of the caste system.
Freemartins: These are the embryos that are created genderless.
Caste System: The people of the
Beta: This is the second-highest caste in the caste system. Betas possess human intelligence, though not as much as Alphas or Alpha Plus Intellectuals.
Delta: Delta is the third caste in the system, outranking only the sub-human Epsilon caste. The Deltas are used mainly as workers.
Ivan Pavlov: Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936) was a Russian-born behavioral psychologist who developed the idea of conditioning. He worked with dogs, teaching them to associate the sound of a ringing bell with the appearance of meat. The meat made the dogs salivate. Eventually, the very sound of the bell, even when unaccompanied by the reward of meat, elicited the conditioned response, salivation.
A.F.: This refers to After Ford, or the years after the death of the figure of Ford. Ford is the surrogate, and surrogate word, for God in the new civilization. People say things like 'Oh, Ford!' and 'Fordey!' The new sign, replacing the cross, is a T, or a cross with the top chopped off, which alludes to the Model T, the first Ford (as in the motor vehicle company) car. 'Ford' is also a corruption of the word Freud, otherwise known as the last name of the psychologist Sigmund Freud, whose psycho-sexual theories, many of which involve family dynamics, are controversial. Mustapha Mond explains that Ford, or Freud, as he used to call himself when speaking of psychological matters, was the first to reveal the perversion, misery, and dangers of family life.
Malthus: Thomas Robert Malthus was a eighteenth-century writer whose An Essay on the Principle of Population was published in 1798. It has two postulates: that food is necessary for the existence of man, and that passion between the sexes is necessary and will persist. Therefore, an unchecked population is problematic when combined with the inability of food production to keep up with population growth.
fordship: A title of authority; named after the great Ford (Freund).
Centrifugal bumble-puppy: This is a game that children play. It involves a steel ring and a ball.
Obstacle Golf: This is one of the
many games which the people of the
Bottled: This is the slang term for people who have taken soma.
Fordson Community Singery: This is where Bernard goes for the orgy-porgy
Mescal: Mescal is a hallucinogenic. Linda, the mother of the Savage, takes it in mass quantities because it takes her away from her life at the Savage Reservation, Malpais, and because it has a similar effect to soma. Popé, her Indian lover, brings it to her in liquid form in a gourd.
Complete Works of William Shakespeare: The Savage reads this while still at the Reservation, Malpais. He continually makes references, including full quotes, to Shakespeare plays, when feeling strong emotions. For instance, he recites part of Romeo’s speech describing Juliet when he, the Savage, is looking at Lenina, and he recites part of Macbeth’s speech upon deciding to kill his father, when he, the Savage, tries to kill his mother Linda’s lover Popé. The Savage is excited to find out that World Controller Mustapha Mond is also familiar with Shakespeare.
Topic Tracking: Government
Government 1: The bleak, dominating Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre, a government-controlled building, is the first thing we see in the novel, accompanied by the World State motto: "Community, Identity, Stability" Chapter 1, pg. 1
Government 2: The government of the
"And that," put in the Director sententiously, "that is the secret of happiness and virtue-liking what you've got to do. All conditioning aims at that: making people like their inescapable social destiny." Chapter 1, pg. 16
Government 3: The government also controls desire and consumption by creating and destroying the demand for certain objects through the careful and intentional training of infants.
Government 4: The government controls the past by suppressing it entirely.
Government 5: "Till at last the child's mind is these suggestions, and the sum of the suggestions is the child's mind. And not the child's mind only. The adult's mind too-all his life long. The mind that judges and desire and decides-made up of these suggestions. But all these suggestions are our suggestions... Suggestions from the State." Chapter 2, pg. 28-29
The government uses sleep-teaching to create and reinforce the divides between the castes.
Government 6: Mond, as World Controller, has participated in suppressing the past and all forms of individualism and culture. History is mocked and seen basically as bull.
Government 7: Mond is explaining that the government controls not only mental processes, but physical processes as well, such as aging.
Government 8: The government controls birth, life, and death. When people die, they are sent to a government-controlled crematorium where the phosphorous is extracted from their ashes. This phosphorous is useful as fertilizer.
Government 9: The "orgy-porgy" which Bernard and
eleven other people attend is a government-sponsored and mandatory ceremony. It
is important for two reasons. First, the participants summon up Ford, the
god-surrogate created by the government. Ford is an all-powerful deity whose
name derives from Sigmund Freud, a controversial psycho-sexual psychotherapist,
and the concept of the Ford automobile company. Second, the orgy-porgy is
mandatory, which shows how the government controls the sexual behavior of the
citizens of the
Government 10: The Director has the authority to reprimand Bernard for expressing thoughts that go against the teachings of the government.
Government 11: Although the government has contained the
people of Malpais, they do not control what goes on there, and therefore, there
are all sorts of activities prohibited and considered pornographic in the
Government 12: The Director's humiliation is unprecedented.
The caste system in the
Government 13: The government takes infants in for Death Conditioning; infants get used to death as a part of life. They are rewarded with chocolate ice cream.
Government 14: The Savage has attempted to overthrow the order of the government-controlled hospital, but the government has prepared measures against this type of event. The Savage is powerless against the government. They retaliate and regain control with soma gas and pre-recorded anti-riot speeches. The Savage is unable to cause chaos.
Government 15: Mustapha Mond is a very multi-dimensional
character. Although he is a figure of high authority, as one of only ten World
Controllers, he has a background in subversive science. It is important to note
that although he does own these texts, and he does discuss them with the
Savage, he is not in the slightest bit at risk for being subversive, and
upholds and believes in the codes of the
He is very well respected, though it is rumored that he owns forbidden texts such as the Bible. His power is never questioned by subordinates, who fear and respect his authority.
Government 16: In this long and illuminating monologue, Mond
makes clear to the Savage that the concept of God is not compatible with the
government of the World State, and therefore, God no longer exists. The
government of the
"The gods are just. No doubt. But their code of law is
dictated, in the last resort, by the people who organize society;
Topic Tracking: Inferiority
Inferiority 1: The embryos are divided into different castes right from the start, even before they are decanted as human beings. There is a predetermined split between superior and inferior prior to "birth."
Inferiority 2: The government uses sleep-teaching to reinforce a sense of superiority on the part of the Alphas and a sense of inferiority on the part of the Epsilons.
Inferiority 3: From the very first moment we encounter Bernard, he is surly and seen unfavorably by others, and snubbed.
Inferiority 4: Fanny talks behind Bernard's back. She thinks he is inferior and is surprised that Lenina is interested in him because he is physically not as adequate as other males of his Alpha-plus caste.
"Those who feel themselves despised do well to look despising. The smile on Bernard Marx's face was contemptuous." Chapter 3, pg. 35
Inferiority 5: Bernard feels inferior because he is shut out of the conversation between Henry Foster and the Assistant Predestinator. They talk as if he is not there. He is disgusted with how they talk about Lenina in purely a sexual context, as if she were just meat. He compounds his feeling of being shut out by shutting himself out, and this makes people dislike him even more.
Inferiority 6: For some reason, Bernard can not accept the
sexual morality of the
Inferiority 7: Bernard's intense feeling of inferiority and isolation causes him to be insecure about his authority role. As a result, he acts arrogant to the castes below him and his boasting often repels his only friend, Helmholtz Watson.
Inferiority 8: Bernard feels an intense sinking feeling of inferiority at the orgy-porgy. His feelings of inferiority deepen, because unlike others in his caste, Bernard does not feel the frenzy and excitement of the orgy-porgy. He criticizes himself for sitting next to unattractive women, and out of jealousy, he criticizes another man, calling him a lout because the man has gotten a seat between two better-looking women.
Inferiority 9: Bernard tries to explain his desire to be alone and to watch the night sky to Lenina. She does not understand, and she is horrified and cries and asks why he is so strange. He feels inferior. Finally, he gives up and takes some soma, and they end up having the same kind of casual sex that he was silently criticizing in the changing room with Henry Foster and the Assistant Predestinator.
Inferiority 10: Bernard's feeling of inferiority causes him to act arrogant. He boasts to Helmholtz about the reprimand that he receives for expressing his subversive views to Lenina. Bernard has trouble with authority because he feels so uncomfortable with his own authority as a result of his own shortcomings and feelings of inadequacy.
Inferiority 11: The Savage Reservation is kept isolated by the use of electric fences.
They are trapped, which reinforces their inferiority. Bernard too feels trapped in his social caste.
Inferiority 12: All his life, John has been an outcast at
the reservation as a result of his mother's promiscuity. He does not look like
other people on the reservation; John often feels inferior and different.
Bernard identifies with this feeling of inferiority. He decides to invite John
Inferiority 13: Bernard has humiliated the Director by showing the Director's illegitimate son and his mother to a group of people. This is also a disgusting display of monogamy. Bernard does this to enhance his own image, to make up for his feelings of inferiority.
Inferiority 14: Because Bernard humiliated the Director only to overcome his own inferior feelings, he does not know how to handle his fame, and becomes arrogant. He even lectures World Controller Mustapha Mond, who thinks that Bernard has gone mad to lecture him. Bernard acts egotistical, bragging to his only friend Helmholtz Watson, and does not see that his fame will be short-lived. People see through his momentary glory and still see him as physically inadequate.
Inferiority 15: Bernard's fame is beginning to crumple, starting with the Savage's refusal to show up at an assembly where there are many powerful figures. Bernard realizes that he does not have control over the Savage, and he is left feeling inferior again.
Inferiority 16: Bernard introduces the Savage and Helmholtz, and he is jealous when they like each other more than they like him. He feels inferior and left out.
Inferiority 17: Due to the lack of confidence in his social position, Bernard is so insecure that he must always be on the side that is popular. As a result, he does not really want to be seen with the Savage, because he knows that associating himself with a troublemaker and subversive thinker will bring his own fame down. Eventually he gives up and goes anyway, seeing no other choice.
Inferiority 18: Bernard once again makes an ass of himself in front of authority and friends. He sobs when he is threatened with exile, and must be taken away and sedated. His crushing sense of inferiority and insecurity makes him unable to stand up for himself and unable to bear the consequences of his actions.
Topic Tracking: Sexuality
Sexuality 1: The novel begins with a lengthy description of
the test-tube process of reproduction. Reproduction is purely scientific, and
sex is therefore a purely recreational activity in the
Sexuality 2: Males and females do not have sex for reproductive purposes, and embryos are created through a complicated scientific fertilization process. Children are brought up in the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre. Therefore, there is no more mother-father relationship, and the very concept of such is considered pornographic.
Sexuality 3: Sexual activity is such an everyday event that people start their sexual activity with erotic play as children.
Sexuality 4: Mustapha Mond describes the institutions of motherhood and monogamy with revulsion, as they are pornographic and horrible aspects of a past that no longer exists.
Sexuality 5: Lenina and Fanny's casual locker-room
conversation establishes that promiscuity is seen as an asset. Fanny chastizes
Lenina because her relationship with Henry is bordering on monogamous. In the
Sexuality 6: Henry Foster and the Assistant Predestinator
possess the typical and sleep-taught
Sexuality 7: Before meeting Henry, with whom she has spent a
lot of time, Lenina has been with many men, including George Edzel and Benito
Hoover. She is very popular with the men because she is charming and
attractive. She approaches Bernard in public to show the other people that she
is a good citizen of the
Sexuality 8: Lenina and Henry have casual sex after their date. They are not monogamous. Lenina remembers to take her contraception, which she carries with her in her Malthusian belt at all times.
Sexuality 9: The orgy-porgy is a government-sponsored, and, in fact, government-mandatory, sex ceremony. The twelve participants get downright ecstatic, take soma, summon Ford, and then enjoy each other.
Sexuality 10: Bernard cannot adapt to the casual sex mentality, though he was taught it in sleep-teaching and in practice just like everybody else. He tells Lenina that he wants passion, but she just does not understand.
Sexuality 11: Linda practices the
Sexuality 12: The Savage (John) is awed by Lenina's beauty.
Unlike the males of the
Sexuality 13: Lenina takes the Savage (John) on a date to a
feely, a sensory interactive movie, and, in accordance with what usually
happens on dates in the time of the
Sexuality 14: In this violent confrontation, John finally
realizes what Bernard realized about Lenina: that like all women in the
Sexuality 15: The violent frenzy of the Savage whipping himself, the Savage whipping Lenina, and the roar of the helicopters, does not get murderous and riotous, but instead the scene turns into an orgy-porgy lasting until after . The people simply do not understand violent and murderous feelings; they only understand the orgy-porgy as a way of expressing deep and intense feelings.