The scene begins at the Central London Hatchery in the year 632 After Ford. A guided tour is taking place, explaining the process of how a human is made. It’s a new age, and humans no longer are created by viviparous reproduction; in Brave New World, humans are made on an assembly line. People in this world are divided up into five social classes- Alphas, Betas, Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons, ranging from the highest caste to the lowest, respectively. The fetuses are developed in little jars that follow a conveyor belt for their caste.
Each caste is exposed to different elements to strengthen or weaken the fetuses within the jars, for example, the lower three castes are deprived of oxygen to keep the individuals of that class smaller and less intelligent of those of the Alpha or Beta classes. After 267 days on the conveyor belt, the babies are decanted from their jars and begin conditioning. The tour moves from the assembly room to the nursery where the babies are conditioned. Using different methods and many repetitions, the workers at the factory train the babies to instinctively like and dislike different things.
When the tour enters, they are conditioning baby Deltas to hate books and learning by electrocuting them when they pick up a book. The director of the tour says it is necessary that the three lower castes are conditioned against books so they can not become too intelligent. The tour moves to a room where Beta children are asleep. The director describes a process that all people go through called hypnopaedia, where you are basically brainwashed in your sleep. The young Betas are taught to love their caste and essentially loathe the others.
They are conditioned like this for their entire time of growing up in this facility, learning about their caste and what it means to be apart of it. The tour moves on to a garden on the grounds of the facility in chapter three. As disgusting and demoralizing as it is, the scene opens to hundreds of children participating in sexual games, naked amongst the bushes. The director explains to the people on the tour the negative effects of not having sex, and this is why in this society, sex is a normal way to connect o other people and is started from such a young age. Meanwhile, Lenina and Henry are both getting ready at the facility for their date that evening. Bernard Marx is eavesdropping on a conversation he hears between Henry and another man in the changing room about how the other man can have Lenina. Conversations like this are so normal in the book, because no one in this society stays in a relationship with another person for any long period of time. Bernard, however, does not approve of the conversation.
The reader is then transported to where Lenina is getting ready and talking with her friend Fanny about how she has been seeing Henry for four whole months, and they both agree that she should see more people. Lenina then brings up Bernard’s name, and how he had invited her to go to a Savage Reservation in New Mexico. Later on, the reader sees Lenina accept Bernard’s offer in person. While Lenina and Henry are on their date, Bernard is getting ready for New Mexico and ends up meeting with his friend, Helmholtz, who is described as being ‘too smart,’ even if he is an Alpha Plus.
They both share a hatred for the way the world works and both see themselves as individuals, which a view like this is very frowned upon in this society. Everyone is part of everyone; there are no individuals. Bernard went to The Director to be granted permission to head off for the Savage Reservation. As he is handed a permit to leave for New Mexico, Bernard listens to The Director tell a story of when he went to the Reservation about twenty years ago, he lost a girl he went with in the mountains during a bad storm.
The story saddens Bernard and makes him anxious. The Director uses this opportunity to snap back at Bernard and threatens his exile to Iceland if reports of him being antisocial and not promiscuous keep coming in, and for some reason, these threats gave Bernard a sense of pride. When Lenina and Bernard arrive at the Reservation, they listen to a boring speech about the savages, and Bernard calls Helmholtz to tell him to turn off the tap in his apartment. He is warned that The Director is serious about exiling Bernard, leaving him very frightened and confused.
The two meet a man named John who lives on the Reservation. Story has it, however, that his mother actually came from the outside world- she wasn’t from the Reservation. She was visiting and injured herself but was saved by the savages. After finding out that she was pregnant with John, she knew she could never return back to the real world. The connection and importance here though is that the mother of John, Linda, was actually the woman that The Director went to the reservation with so many years ago, and John was his son. John, in his world, was an outcast.
He was looked down upon because of Linda’s origin and innate promiscuity she developed while she was a child in conditioning. Bernard offers for John and Linda to go back to England with him, and of course they accept. Bernard gets permission to take John and Linda back with him because the people in the real world would find them very valuable, especially those of the scientific community. Meanwhile, at the Central London Hatchery, The Director is conjuring up plans on how to toast Bernard Marx. He decides to publicly fire him so the others will learn that his behavior is intolerable.
But when Bernard shows up with John and Linda, Linda explodes on The Director. She’s ranting about how he was the reason she was stranded in The Reservation because he got her pregnant and left her forced to have a child. John makes the connection and begins crying at the feet of his father, leaving everyone else who is watching speechless at the mentioning of the word father. The Director ends up quitting his job because he is so ashamed that he has a son, and Bernard does not lose his job at the Hatchery after all.
John becomes instantly famous because he is an actual savage, and because of his popularity, everyone seems to fall in love with Bernard because he is the one who brought John back. Everyone wanted to have sex with Bernard now because this was the quickest and easiest way to get to John, whether people liked Bernard or not. Bernard decides to have a party so a bunch of Alphas and Betas can meet John the Savage, but when the guests arrive, John stays locked in his room. Bernard’s popularity quickly dies down, and John’s new luster, too, fades away.
John and Lenina seem to connect from the time they meet, but in chapter thirteen, the reader sees both of them declare their love for each other, a feeling Lenina has never felt before. She tries to have sex with him at this point, but he refuses and becomes very offended that she would even try. He then receives a phone call and quickly rushes to the hospital where his mother, Linda, is dying, and he watches her expire in her bed. After she dies, John tries to lead a revolt right there in the hospital because he is so angered by the way some lower-caste children who were there to watch Linda die reacted.
He hated the society of the New World, and this becomes very apparent in this scene. Bernard and Helmholtz hear the uproar and quickly get to John right as the police show up and the three of them are arrested. After being taken into custody, they are all transported to Mustapha Mond’s office to speak with him. This is where the true theme of this book shines through the most. John is arguing and yelling about how wrong the policies of the World State are. He hates that no one is an individual and how no one has any say.
Mond, however continues to defend the workings of the society they live in, and that the absence of religion, art, and science is the only way to keep that society stable. John counters with the statement that without these kinds of things, there is no point to living. At this point, Bernard and Helmholtz are told they are going to be exiled somewhere very far away and will never come back. They were screaming and yelling while being escorted from the room. John is still at it though, completely tearing down the policies of the New World.
John, so he can continue to be experimented on and tested, is not exiled with Bernard and Helmholtz. He moves to a lighthouse by himself where he decides to practice illegal religious exercises, but he is caught in the act. The citizens of the area are enthralled by the way that John whipped himself for his “God. ” They loved it. They are fascinated by it and all of them want to be whipped. The whippings and the strange obsession with it spark and orgy that evening amongst all of the spectators present and even John himself, right there in his lighthouse. The popular drug, Soma is used and even John uses it for the first time.
The next morning, John wakes up to thoughts of the night before, and is very angry at his own submission to the way the society of the New World works, and when the next wave of spectators for the whippings appears at the lighthouse, they find John and realize that he hung himself. Brave New World was without a doubt one of the best and most exciting books I read my sophomore year thus far. Something about books about post-dystopian societies really catch my attention and capture my imagination. Books like these really give you a an outside look at the society we live in today. That’s the appeal of a book like Brave New World.
Aldous Huxley really tried to get several points across through his work in this book that he wants to reader to sit back and just ponder. Huxley was quite obviously against big government, and communism itself. In Brave New World, every single thought or emotion ever evoked is controlled by the state, and any rogue thoughts or emotions were nothing more than just an error that occurred while the individual was in development. The government has total control over everything, including the economy, which they can even affect by essentially telling the people what they want to consume.
An even more striking theme in this book to me though is the disposable and consumptive society the people live in. This society is very satirical to the one that Huxley lived in back in the early 1900’s, and also to the society we all live in today. People in Brave New World thrive off of sexual, disposable relationships with other people. The point Huxley tries to get across is that society is deteriorating to the point where people are becoming more and more promiscuous and being acclaimed for these acts much like the way it is in the book.
He’s also trying to point out the ways that the human race is becoming increasingly materialistic and equating happiness with possessions and replacing religion with consumption. The assembly line is glorified by these people, they go to the extent of even making people on an assembly line and calling Henry Ford, the inventor of the assembly line, their god. The assembly line to me is just a symbol. The assembly line symbolizes the cycle of life that the people in this book live in- wash, rinse, repeat. Since no one is special in this society, everyone really is only looking for fun and instant gratification.
People are raised to be this way so the society remains stable and everything can hum along just fine. Brave New World, being written almost 70 years ago, has a lot of parts that did lose my interest and several other weak spots. The author failed to be consistent about the colors that separated the different social castes, but that’s a pretty minor detail in the big picture. I also did not like that following one main character was really difficult to do because there are really two or three main characters. The things that make this book so great, however, weigh out those cons.
The story line is really well put together, and the themes behind the story really open up your mind and make the reader take a look at their heart and their inner desires and make them wonder if they are similar to the way the people in the book are. When I read a book, I really dive in and absorb the writing, and I can only think of one or two other books that made me think about myself more than this. The language of Brave New World really is a beautiful piece of artwork; I love the way Huxley’s voice shines through in his writing.
Brave New World was one of the best books I have ever read. And even though I know I will have to read it all over again my senior year, I do not regret reading it one bit. I would recommend this book to anyone, especially to anyone who has a general interest in the future, like I do. Maybe I’m just a sucker for classic novels, but after reading books like this, I look forward to the next time I get to pick another one like it up. Writers like Aldous Huxley, George Orwell, and Ray Bradbury really have something to say about this world, and everyone should have a listen.