Why is the nickname "Savage" for John one of the best examples of irony in the novel "Brave New World"?

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engtchr5's profile pic

engtchr5 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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Savage is an adjective expressing exactly the opposite of John's personality: He has a very well-rounded, even sophisticated, mindset, as seen by his knowledge of subjects as diverse as Shakespeare. What's more, he has chivalrous intentions in most circumstances -- he doesn't immediately want to have sexual relations with Lenina, as an example, and believes they should become more personally familiar with each other before such exchanges take place. What's more, he seems very in touch with his sensitive or emotional side, meaning that he lacks savagery. This fact is what makes the "Savage" name ironic.

ms-mcgregor's profile pic

ms-mcgregor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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In our society, John would actually be considered quite accomplished and cultured. His encyclopedic knowledge of Shakespeare and his romantic notions about life would be considered very attractive. However, in the world of Our Ford, John is considered somewhat crazy because he actually wants to mourn his mother, really get to know Lenina before they jump into bed, and to really feel his emotions instead of smothering them with soma. He represents what would be the best in our society; but in the world of "Our Ford" he is just a curiosity.


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