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In Brave New World, how do the people in The World State feel about death?

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leva95 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 26, 2012 at 6:59 PM via web

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In Brave New World, how do the people in The World State feel about death?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 26, 2012 at 10:05 PM (Answer #1)

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People in the New World of Aldous Huxley's dystopia have been desensitized toward death by the childhood sleep conditioning, or hypnopoedia. In Chapter 5, Part 1, for instance, as Lenina accompanies Henry Foster to the Golf Club, they fly past some smoke stacks and she asks Henry why they have smoke stacks built around them.  Jovially, Henry explains, "Phosphorus recovery," and he informs her of the contributions the dead make to helping plants grow.

Further, in Chapter 14, as John attends his dying mother, Delta children congregate around her, casually eating snacks as they gawk at the aged face of Linda.  Enraged by their lack of respect, John scolds them. Angrily, then, the nurse in charge chides John, asking him if he wants to undo all their "wholesome death-conditioning" with his "disgusting outcry."  Then, she turns to the children and casually asks them who wants a chocolate eclair.  While eating one of these eclairs, one child asks if Linda is dead out of mere curiosity.  It is then that John pushes the child in disgust of his lack of humanity.

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