Brave New World Summary

Brave New World summary

In Brave New World, Alpha Bernard Marx meets John on the Savage Reservation. He brings John back to London, but John disdains this "brave new world" and becomes increasingly violent. In the end, he commits suicide, and Bernard gets banished to Iceland.

Brave New World summary key points:

  • Brave New World begins in A.F. 632 (approximately the 26th Century). Bernard Marx, an alienated Alpha in a futuristic, socially-stratified world, invites Lenina to spend a week at the Savage Reservation with him.
  • On the Savage Reservation, Bernard and Lenina meet a young man named John and his mother Linda, the ex-girlfriend of Bernard's boss, the Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning.
  • Bernard decides to bring John and his mother back to London to shame the Director and avoid being exiled to Iceland himself. Bernard becomes temporarily famous because of this.
  • John is quickly dubbed "the Savage" by the media and becomes a kind of sideshow attraction to the Alphas of society. He strikes up a relationship with Lenina, but it ends swiftly and violently.
  • The grief that John experiences when Linda dies creates a public scandal, and Bernard and Helmholtz are exiled to restore order. John attempts to purify himself, but in the end commits suicide.
  • We also have a complete summary of the novel and individual chapter summaries available on our site.


Brave New World is considered one of the greatest works of science fiction ever written, and the first several chapters of the novel are spent worldbuilding so that the reader will understand how this brave new world operates. Fittingly, the first chapter opens with a guided tour of the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre, where the Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning is leading a group of young students through the building, explaining the more complicated science that the author, Aldous Huxley, has invented for the novel. During this tour, the reader learns that everyone in this civilization is a clone, the product of Bokanovsky's Process, which takes a single fertilized egg, arrests the development, and then forces it to bud or split, creating up to ninety-six viable embryos, which in turn create ninety-six identical twins. This homogenization process has been perfected for the purpose of creating order in the world. Their world motto is "Community, Identity, Stability."

To maintain that stability, the World Controllers have devised a system wherein different classes of people (Alphas, Betas, Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons) correspond to different levels of power, intellect, and wealth, with Alphas at the top with the best jobs and Epsilons at the bottom with all the grunt work. They're been conditioned to accept their station through an elaborate, systematic brainwashing process that involves sleep teaching, electric shocks, and explosions. Everyone, the Director says, is conditioned to hate nature but to love playing sports in the country, which World Controllers find productive because it stimulates the economy. All these decisions are made by a group of ten people, including one Mustapha Mond, the Resident Controller for Western Europe, whom we'll get to know later in the novel.

During this long tour, the reader is introduced to two of the main characters of the novel: Bernard Marx, an Alpha-Plus with a reputation for being antisocial, and Lenina Crowne, his love interest, whom he'll briefly date. In an awkward scene in an elevator, Lenina approaches him in front of a former conquest of hers, Benito Hoover, and asks Bernard if he still wants to take her away for a vacation in New Mexico. He gets flustered, which is considered strange in this society, then goes to talk to his friend Helmholtz, a screenwriter for the "feelies" (what they call the movies). Their vacation won't come until two chapters later, in Chapter 6, and in the meantime Lenina goes on a date with Henry, another suitor of hers, according to the dictum that "every one belongs to every one else" and that nobody should practice monogamy. Bernard is somewhat uncomfortable with this, which leads to trouble in both his personal and professional life.

Before he goes to New Mexico, he happens to speak with his boss, the Director, who threatens to banish him to Iceland (where some of the people who question authority are sent) if he makes so much as one more mistake at work. During this brief conversation, the Director tells Bernard that he went to New Mexico, too, once, and that he lost his girlfriend in the desert and left her behind. This foreshadows a scene in Chapter 7 when Bernard and Lenina, during their visit to the savage reservation, meet a young man named John and his mother, Linda, the woman the Director left in the desert. John is their son, born and raised on the reservation and taught to read out of a volume of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, and, because of this, his emotional development has been stunted, making him incapable of understanding the true complexities of Shakespeare's work, which in turn leads to violent and dramatic outbursts. He falls in love with Lenina without even getting to know her.

Bernard decides to bring Linda and John back to London with him in order to embarrass his boss "Tomakin" (Thomas), the Director, who resigns in disgrace after John calls him Father in front of a roomful of people. This brings both Bernard and John notoriety, and they become very popular at parties and other upper caste gatherings for a while, even as Linda slips into a near-vegetative state due to overuse of soma, the drug people take every day in this novel to relax. Buoyed by his newfound popularity, Bernard begins dating, sometimes seeing upwards of six women a week. In the meantime, John is introduced to the civilized world, touring various factories and schools and growing increasingly bitter about the state of the world. He is, however, still in love with Lenina, and they begin dating in Chapter 11.

Through his relationship with Lenina and his friendship with Helmholtz, whose determination to be a real artist has led to him clashing with his bosses, John is briefly able to withhold his disdain for this brave new world; and then, just as quickly as their relationship began, it ends, when John realizes that Lenina isn't as pure as he thought and becomes so violent (yelling that she's a whore and pushing her away) that she has to lock herself in the bathroom. She's still hiding there when John gets a phone call saying that his mother is ill and in the hospital. He rushes to her side and, in his grief, upsets a group of young Deltas who are in the middle of being desensitized to death. He makes one of the little boys cry, leading the nurses and the hospital staff to think he's going mad. Helmholtz, having been informed of this by a friend, rushes over, hoping to keep John from doing something drastic. In the end, he, John, and Bernard are all arrested for throwing soma out of the hospital windows (though, as Bernard insists, he wasn't involved in that).

The three are taken to meet Mustapha Mond, the Resident World Controller for Western Europe, who has a long philosophical discussion with John about what constitutes happiness, then reveals that he, too, was a dissenter, and that his scientific research was once so radical that he was given a choice: either stay and be given immense power and authority or leave and live in Iceland with other like-minded people, rebels like John and Helmholtz. He stayed, and now it's in his power to send people like him away—Bernard to Iceland and Helmholtz to the Falkland Islands. After the others are taken away, John and Mustapha Mond are left to talk about God and suffering. John is determined to suffer, and Mustapha Mond decides to send him somewhere he can do that alone.

In the final chapter, John goes to live in an old lighthouse in a forgotten part of England. He lives there in peace for a little while before the reporters and tourists inevitably find him, and then he's surrounded by gawkers who all watch in amazement as he whips himself with knotted cords. He doesn't understand why they won't leave him alone, and he lashes out at them, whipping a young woman who reminds him of Lenina. This violence leads to a kind of orgy in which John, having somehow taken or been given soma, loses himself in a "frenzy of sensuality." The next morning, horrified by what has happened, John hangs himself in the lighthouse. The novel ends when, that evening, the reporters return to find his body swaying gently from the rafters.

Brave New World Summary

(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Brave New World continues the presentation of human psychological and other imbalances of Point Counter Point, but in a more creative and unified way. It is set in a future society in which control over individuals is nearly absolute and in which there is virtually no possibility of maintaining a sane, balanced, and fully human existence. Through the future setting of a scientifically created and controlled technological society, operating in artificial harmony by virtue of nearly deadened human emotional and intellectual attributes, Huxley focuses on the danger of what twentieth century society could become if the values of order, profit, and power continue to prevail over spontaneous creativity, mutual respect and pleasure, and cooperative idealism.

The citizens in this “brave new world” are controlled and conditioned from birth, in fact before birth, by means of genetic engineering, or mechanical childbirth processes. Humans are then subjected to a variety of operant conditioning techniques, including hypnopaedia, or sleep-teaching, which fit them for their carefully planned roles in the society. This role preparation is involved even in the genetic engineering, too, as the embryonic rocket engineers’ birth tubes are kept in constant motion to prepare the engineers to work in weightless environments in which right-side-up and upside-down positions alternate constantly. In the words of the director of the genetics institute, “They learn to associate topsy-turvydom with well-being; in fact, they’re only truly happy when they’re standing on their heads.” The conditioning continues throughout life, the sleep teaching reinforced by the entertainment drug soma, which encourages narcissistic self-indulgence and thus lack of concern for larger decisions of societal direction made by the few in power.

The system of scientific and technological control, directed by Mustapha Mond, is not yet perfect. Some humans continue to be dissatisfied and want more than what is prescribed for them. Mond, who fears real human experience and thus uses control and artificial creation to avoid such balance, has trouble particularly with the emotional and intellectual longings of several characters, with their often subconscious desire to be whole. Specifically, Bernard keeps longing for real love, not just entertainment sex, and the same is true to some extent of Lenina (thus the important Freudian psychology element again in Huxley’s work). Also, Helmholtz keeps feeling unfulfilled because of some deeply suppressed need that has not been totally eliminated.

The Savage, though, is particularly problematic for Mond. The Savage realizes the total imbalance, the total inhumanness, of the society in its elimination of both deep feeling and intellectual attainment. He believes in feeling, in living, and in experiencing real human pain and thus real human joy—even the pain of death, which defines and creates human joy. When Mond questions him, the Savage admits that he is “claiming the right to be unhappy.” Mond responds with the following: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.

The Savage’s response is simply, “I claim them all.” They are all part of being human, of being in the real world, and Huxley sees the drug-induced life of scientific and technological society as destructive of that real world. Thus, the Savage dies tragically by hanging himself, in primitive reaction against a world that has eliminated the side of human beings that he represents.

Brave New World Summary

(Critical Survey of Literature for Students)

One day in the year 632 After Ford (a.f.), as time is reckoned in the brave new world, the director of the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre takes a group of new students on a tour of the plant where human beings are turned out by mass production. The entire process, from the fertilization of the egg to the birth of the baby, is carried out by trained workers and machines. Each fertilized egg is placed in solution in a large bottle for scientific development into whatever class in society the human is intended. The students are told that scientists of the period developed the Bokanovsky Process, by means of which a fertilized egg is arrested in its growth. The egg responds by budding, and instead of one human being resulting, there will be from eight to ninety-six identical humans.

These Bokanovsky Groups are employed whenever large numbers of people are needed to perform identical tasks. Individuality is a thing of the past. The new society makes every effort to fulfill its motto—Community, Identity, Stability. After birth, the babies are further conditioned during their childhood for their predestined class in society. Alpha Plus Intellectuals and Epsilon Minus Morons are the two extremes of the scientific utopia.

Mustapha Mond, one of the World Controllers, joins the inspection party and lectures to the new students on the horrors and disgusting features of old-fashioned family life. To the great embarrassment of the students, he, in his position of authority, dares to use the forbidden words “mother” and “father”; he reminds the students that in 632 a.f., everyone belongs to everyone else.

Lenina Crowne, one of the workers in the Hatchery, takes an interest in Bernard Marx. Bernard is different—too much alcohol was put into his blood surrogate during his period in the prenatal bottle, and he has sensibilities similar to those possessed by people in the time of Henry Ford.

Lenina and Bernard go by rocket ship to New Mexico and visit the Savage Reservation, a wild tract where primitive forms of human life are preserved for scientific study. At the pueblo of Malpais, the couple see an Indian ceremonial dance in which a young man is whipped to propitiate the gods. Lenina is shocked and disgusted by the filth of the place and by the primitive aspects of all she sees.

The pair meet a white youth named John. The young man discloses to them that his mother, Linda, came to the reservation many years before on vacation with a man called Thomakin. The vacationers separated, and Thomakin returned alone to the brave new world. Linda, marooned in New Mexico, gave birth to a son and was slowly assimilated into the primitive society of the reservation. The boy educated himself with an old copy of William Shakespeare’s plays that he found. Bernard is convinced that the boy is the son of the director of Hatcheries, who in his youth took a companion to New Mexico on vacation and returned without her. Bernard has enough human curiosity to wonder how this young savage would react to the scientific world. He invites John and his mother to return to London with him. John, attracted to Lenina and anxious to see the outside world, goes eagerly.

Upon Bernard’s return, the director of Hatcheries publicly proposes to dismiss him from the Hatchery because of his unorthodoxy. Bernard produces Linda and John, the director’s son. At the family reunion, during which such words as “mother” and “father” are used more than once, the director is shamed out of the plant. He later resigns his position.

Linda goes on a soma holiday, soma being a drug that induces euphoria and forgetfulness. John becomes the curiosity of London. He is appalled by all he sees—by the utter lack of any humanistic culture and by the scientific mass production of everything, including humans. Lenina tries to seduce him, but he is held back by his primitive morality.

John is called to attend the death of Linda, who took too much soma drug. Maddened by the callousness of people conditioned toward death, he instigates a mutiny of workers as they are being given their soma ration. He is arrested and taken by the police to Mond, with whom he has a long talk on the new civilization. Mond explains that beauty causes unhappiness and thus instability; therefore, humanistic endeavor is checked. Science is dominant. Art is stifled completely; science, even, is stifled at a certain point, and religion is restrained so that it cannot cause instability. With a genial sort of cynicism, Mond explains the reasons underlying all of the features of the brave new world. Despite Mond’s persuasiveness, the Savage continues to champion tears, inconvenience, God, and poetry.

John moves into the country outside London to take up his old way of life. Sightseers come by the thousands to see him; he is pestered by reporters and television men. At the thought of Lenina, whom he still desires, John mortifies his flesh by whipping himself. Lenina visits John and is whipped by him in a frenzy of passion. When he realizes that he, too, has been caught up in the “orgyporgy,” he hangs himself. Bernard’s experiment fails. Human emotions can end only in tragedy in the brave new world.

Brave New World Summary

Brave New World opens in the year 2495 at the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre, a research facility and factory that...

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Brave New World Chapter Summary and Analysis

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Brave New World Chapter 1 Summary and Analysis

Chapter 1 Summary

Huxley begins this novel in medias res, during a guided tour of the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre that the Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning (DHC, or simply Director) is giving a group of students. The Director takes them to the Fertilizing Room, where he gives an in-depth explanation of Bokanovsky's Process—the method by which they fertilize an egg, arrest its development, then force it to bud, creating up to ninety-six embryos, which in turn produce an entire batch of identical twins. This process has been perfected for the purpose of maintaining the social order through total homogenization. If there are only five classes (Alphas, Betas, Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons), and if each class is conditioned so that they accept their lot in life, then the theory is that there will be no more social unrest. Their world motto is "Community, Identity, and Stability." This is achieved through biological mass production. They have Hatcheries like this in Singapore, Mombasa, and, presumably, elsewhere. Every single one of these characters has been produced in a lab.

Chapter 1 Analysis


This novel is clearly a satire of the modern world, which, in 1931, when the novel was published, was still feeling the aftershocks of World War I and of the devastation that the military-industrial complex wrought on society. Huxley, who found war dehumanizing and thought that science and technology (if implemented incorrectly) posed a threat to modern civilization, wrote the novel as a kind of thought experiment to examine what would happen if world leaders came together and mandated peace. Naturally, he thought, the peace would be artificial, and it would thus have to be maintained through artificial means. Hence, cloning and homogenization.


Circle. One of three symbols used in the labelling system for embryos. Circles represent females.

T. One of three symbols used in the labelling system for embryos. The "T" represents male embryos and may stand for "testosterone," the male hormone.

Question Mark. One of three symbols used in the labelling system for embryos. A "?" is used to label embryos as future freemartins (sterile women). Given that the process of sterilizing female embryos involves washing them with testosterone during the development process, the black question mark may be meant to indicate that the resulting embryo is neither male nor female in the traditional sense, but some other gendered class that is somewhere in between. See Themes: Gender for more on this.


Class. In this world, it's believed that social strife comes from conflict between the classes. The solution they've come up with is to homogenize the different social classes, biologically engineering, then psychologically conditioning them to accept their lot in life. Thus, the World Controllers have all but eliminated the social classes we're familiar with and instituted a caste system that, though it's entirely new, feels familiar, with the top 1% living in luxury and the rest slogging it out below.

Cloning. Unlike the world we live in today, the scientists in this brave new world have no moral qualms at all with human cloning and have, in fact, industrialized it on a large scale, producing big batches of clones in order to fill factories, offices, and fields with physiologically identical humans with a uniform set of physical characteristics and skills. There are no restrictions placed on cloning, and scientists are actively attempting to genetically engineer superior humans that mature as workers at a faster rate, thus expanding the potential workforce. This is all done in the name of the greater good, but seems abhorrent and absurd to most readers.

Gender. With the invention of cloning comes a simplification of gender and gender expression, which has been reduced to a now antiquated belief that there are only two genders—male and female—and that these genders should always be expressed in uniform ways. In this brave new world, there is no room for individuality, which means that there is no such thing as defying gender norms. The one possible exception to this is the existence of freemartins (sterilized women) who are labelled during the hatching process with a black question mark, indicating that they're different from the male and female embryos. However, given that the vast majority of the female population (about 70%) consists of these freemartins, it's safe to assume their gender expression is in line with that of "traditional" femininity.

Fertility. In part because cloning has made live birth obsolete, and in part because World Controllers have deemed it necessary to remove social structures like motherhood and families, fertility is heavily medically controlled in this world. Fertility (in particular, female fertility) is determined by those working in the hatchery, and bodies are policed according to strict rules, making it impossible for women to choose what they want to do with their own uteruses.

Homogenization. In order to maintain stability, World Controllers have homogenized the population, creating sets of identical clones to work identical jobs. Presumably, they're also homogenized all other aspects of life, including food, housing, and transportation, making everything uniform within a city and country. This homogenization makes it easier to control the masses.

Identity. Identity in this book isn't individual but communal, with everyone belonging to everyone, so that there are no unique experiences and no one has unique feelings. This creates an artificial sense of community built on the fact that everybody knows how everybody else thinks and feels. They've been engineered and conditioned this way, of course, which makes the question of whether or not they even have identities at all a philosophical one. This is one of the central themes of the novel, and Huxley will continue to develop it.

Industry. Neither cloning nor homogenization would be possible without a vast industry built on biological engineering. Thus, it becomes clear that Bokanovsky's Process is also a capitalist tool that is used to control and stimulate the world economy. Were it not so incredibly lucrative, it's likely that the entire system would be replaced with something better suited to exploit the masses.

Morality. By today's standards, there appears to be no morality whatsoever in the brave new world: science and industry go unchecked, large portions of the world's population are deliberately used as slave labor, and no one seems to have any rights with regards to their own bodies (let alone recourse to right any of these wrongs). Later, we'll find that there was some uneasiness about all of this when the system was first introduced, but the detractors were eliminated and the system has gone more or less unchallenged since.

Science and Technology. The brave new world is built on science and technology, without which the worldwide process of homogenization would be impossible. Human invention, the Director says, is vastly superior and far more interesting that nature, which they've circumvented through the cloning process. If there is any evolution at all in this world, then it takes place in the lab, under direct orders from World Controllers. Given how far in the future the novel is set, the technology in it seems fairly simple, even familiar, with modes of transportation and entertainment that are currently in use (or being developed). What's more, Huxley makes no mention of the effect that all of these advances have had on the environment, which makes this world feel even less realistic.

Brave New World Chapter 2 Summary and Analysis

Chapter 2 Summary

When the group finishes touring the Decanting Room, they then proceed to the Infant Nurseries, where they watch an infant group of Deltas all dressed in khaki being conditioned to hate books. This process involves using classic Pavlovian conditioning techniques that involve electrocuting the children and setting off loud, alarming sirens that make them cry and associate the books and the country with pain and suffering. The ultimate goal of this process is to make people averse to books (and, thus, to learning), while simultaneously hating the country and loving country sports, so in their off hours they'll consume transportation and buy sporting equipment, thus stimulating the economy.

Following this demonstration, the Director tells the story of Little Reuben, a little boy who while he was sleeping heard a radio programme of George Bernard Shaw delivering a speech and woke up reciting the words he'd heard, despite not knowing English. This led researchers to explore the concept of hypnopædia (sleep teaching), which they use to instill whatever moral directives their World Controllers see fit, including: "Silence, silence," and "Oh, no, I don't want to play with the Delta children." Thus, sleep teaching is a form of brainwashing used to reinforce their (artificial) social hierarchy. The DHC shouts in triumph, proud of the State for having used the suggestions to shape the mind of every human being on the planet (with, as we later learn, a few exceptions). Unfortunately, the enthusiasm wakes the children, and the tour must pause for a moment.

Chapter 2 Analysis


Henry Ford (1863 - 1947). One of the more famous American industrialists and the founder of the Ford Motor Company, an important automobile manufacturer that produced the Model-T, the first truly affordable car—the one that made it possible for individuals to have quick, private transportation. He's the namesake of "Fordism," the system of mass production that inspires the biological engineering used in this novel. This novel takes place in A.F. (After Ford) 632, placing the action of the novel in roughly 2579, depending on when you begin counting.

Model-T. Generally considered the first affordable car to hit the market, the Model-T was developed by the industrialist Henry Ford and mass produced on an assembly line in order to reduce costs. The car was revolutionary for its time and changed the transportation industry forever. Few Model-Ts are left today, and those that are have for the most part been bought up by museums and collectors.

Ivan Pavlov (1849 - 1936). A Russian psychologist famed for his work in classical (as opposed to operant) conditioning. His most famous experiments involved manipulating stimuli and events in order to produce and later to predict the physiological reactions of dogs. His experiments earned him the 1904 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine and were widely regarded by the Soviet government, which funded much of his research. Huxley alludes to Pavlov because the conditioning children go through in this world is similar to the classical conditioning that Pavlov developed.

George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950). An Irish playwright perhaps best known for his plays Man and Superman and Pygmalion, which inspired the film My Fair Lady, starring Audrey Hepburn. Huxley alludes to him when he relates the fictional story of Little Reuben, a little boy who happened to be exposed to one of Shaw's old radio speeches one night. Huxley writes that in this speech Shaw was talking at length "about his own genius" (a critical description suggesting that Huxley wasn't a big fan of Shaw or his work).


Books. Traditionally, books are symbols of education and literacy, the access to which often determines one's class and social status. In this chapter, the psychologists at the hatchery take advantage of the association between books and literacy in order to condition infants against the latter, giving them a permanent aversion to books, education, and intellectual curiosity. In this way, the World Controllers are able to maintain their stranglehold over the minds and imaginations of the people without the general public even really noticing.

Flowers. In general, flowers are symbolic of nature and one's emotions, with particular flowers connoting love, guilt, happiness, and other sentiments. During the conditioning process, psychologists use the emotional connection humans have with flowers against the infants, forcing them to associate nature with pain, suffering, and unhappiness. This is done primarily so that workers will want to stay inside, except when they're consuming transportation and sporting goods.


Classism. Part of the conditioning process involves being brainwashed to reinforce a fundamentally classist social hierarchy that keeps certain classes down: "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." This classism is now so deeply ingrained within this society that no one questions it. Those who've been engineered to be subservient have internalized the classism leveled against them to the point where they simply perpetuate the system without question. Their classism is the foundation of the brave new world, and as such makes the class wars in our modern society seem all the more fraught.

Conditioning. In this chapter, we find that conditioning is not merely biological and that all the psychologists in this brave new world are using morally questionable methods to brainwash the populace. They are torturing, frightening, and manipulating infants into believing what World Controllers want them to think. Their techniques are drawn directly from scientists like Ivan Pavlov, a Soviet researcher who studied classical conditioning. His experiments were conducted on animals, however, and in today's society experimenting on humans like this is not typically permitted.

Education. Huxley's brave new world doesn't have what we would think of as a traditional education system. There are few "schools," and those that exist teach practical skills rather than foster discussion or an exchange of ideas. These characters don't have a philosophical or well rounded education, but rather a moral one, which has been dictated for them by the State. Thus, education, like biology, is tightly controlled.

Torture. What the characters in this novel think of as education or conditioning a reader would generally consider torture. Psychologists and scientists in the Infant Nurseries employ reprehensible tools like aversion therapy, shock treatment, and sleep teaching or hypnopædia in order to brainwash, condition, and control the population. Huxley has the characters employ these techniques so that the reader will question the morality of science and technology in the novel and, consequently, in our modern world.

Brave New World Chapter 3 Summary and Analysis

Chapter 3 Summary

Following the visit to the Infant Nurseries, the Director takes his tour group to the garden, where a group of six or seven hundred children is frolicking, engaging in such activities as Centrifugal Bumble-puppy (a game Huxley invented) and erotic play. The Director explains that before their society was founded, erotic play among children was frowned upon and considered immoral. He insists that this is an essential part of their education and that it's important to normalize sex early so that children and adults won't demonize it. However, instead of allowing people to enjoy their sexual freedom naturally, this erotic play is mandated by the State, making this another example of how the government is trying to police people's bodies.

Here, the narrative in this chapter begins to fragment, alternating between the end of the tour (as the Director explains that all "history is bunk" and introduces the tour group to Mustapha Mond, Resident Controller for Western Europe) and the off-duty lives of two of his employees: Lenina Crowne, whom we met earlier, and Bernard Marx, who has a bad reputation, because he's said to be an introvert. Lenina asks her casual boyfriend, Henry, if he wants to go to the "feelies"—what their society calls the movies that have been augmented with smells and sensations—as Bernard sneers inwardly at Henry and their extroverted society. Meanwhile, Mustapha Mond explains to the tour group that the world before was chaos and that social constructs (motherhood, marriage, monogamy) caused social instability. Instead, everyone belongs to everyone else, as they say, and are supposedly happier for it.

Lenina then talks with her friend Fanny, a nineteen-year-old whose doctor has recommended that she start taking a Pregnancy Substitute, which regulates a woman's cycle and hormone levels so that she won't feel the biological need to have children. Lenina is as surprised by this as Fanny is to hear that Lenina has been dating (they use the word "having") Henry for four months, which is an unusually long time in this world. Lenina then wonders aloud if she should date Bernard, who is at the same time listening to a conversation about how other men would like to "have" Lenina. "At the first opportunity," they say. Bernard finds this disgusting.

Interspersed with these events is Mustapha Mond's speech about how the past was systematically destroyed in order to make way for the brave new world.

Chapter 3 Analysis


The Alhambra. One of the more famous architectural feats in Spain, the Alhambra is both a palace and a fortress, which was renovated in the mid-13th century and would later become the site of the Royal Court of Ferdinand and Isabella, the King and Queen of Spain, who were patrons of the famed explorer Christopher Columbus. Today, the Alhambra is a tourist attraction, but in in this brave new world it has become a kind of movie theater where they show the "feelies" to large audiences. Huxley's allusion to the Alhambra makes it clear that the past hasn't been entirely destroyed and that what is left of it has been repurposed.

Babylon. An ancient Mesopotamian city nestled between the Tigris and Euphrates in what's now Iraq. This was once a major city in both the Babylonian and Assyrian empires and was the site of one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Huxley alludes to this in his long list of things from the past that have turned to dust.

Cnossos. Also known as Knossos, this ancient city (generally considered to be Europe's oldest) is now the biggest Bronze Age archeological site and is said to have been the home of King Minos and the Minotaur, which was trapped in the Labyrinth. It's yet another piece of history that means little to nothing in this brave new world.

Gotama. It's unclear to what exactly Huxley is referring here. The word gotama derives from the Sanskrit words for "bright light" and "darkness" and generally refers to someone who can drive away the darkness with their goodness and brilliance. Many people have held the name "Gotama," making this allusion hard to pin down.

Harappa. An archaeological site in Punjab, Pakistan that was once home to a small city in an ancient Indus Valley civilization known as the Harappan culture.

Jesus Christ. In Christian theology, he's considered the son of God and a member of the Holy Trinity. He's said to have been crucified by the Romans after being betrayed by one of his apostles, Judas, who had been paid thirty pieces of silver. Christians believe that Jesus died for their sins. However, no one in this novel believes that, and Christianity has been effectively eradicated.

Job. Considered a prophet in the Christian tradition, Job is the central figure in the Book of Job in the Bible, in which is related the story of how his devotion to God was tested: when Job was accused of only following God because He protected Job, God removed those protections and allowed his devotee to lose everything, including his family. Job's refusal to renounce God even in these hard circumstances proved that he was a true believer.

Jupiter. In this case, Huxley is alluding to the mythological figure of Jupiter, the king of the Roman gods, rather than the planet Jupiter. He's listed alongside figures from ancient mythology and theology, like Job, Jesus, and Odysseus, in Huxley's long paragraph about the past. These figures are listed because of their great power and heroism, which has made them role models for modern culture. They're not, however, models for the brave new world, which makes it seem like a cultureless or hedonistic world.

King Lear. In this context Huxley is alluding to the character of King Lear rather than to the play King Lear, which should be italicized when it's the title of a play. This is one of Shakespeare's most famous tragedies and is alluded to here as being on a higher plane of thought, which the citizens of this brave new world neither attain nor understand.

Karl Marx (1818 - 1883). A prominent philosopher and economist, Marx is most known for his The Communist Manifesto, in which he wrote that the proletariat should seize the means of production from the bourgeoisie, thus overturning the traditional social hierarchy and making a more egalitarian society. This new world has bastardized Marx's beliefs, turning his dreams of a better world into a tech-driven kind of nightmare where happiness and peace doesn't occur organically but is mass engineered. Marx is a hero in this brave new world, which is why his last name is very common.

The Middle Kingdom. The period of time between the Old and the New Kingdoms of Egypt, corresponding roughly to the years between 2000 BCE and 1700 BCE. The Middle Kingdom was considered a period of reunification for Egypt and saw a flourishing of art and culture within the Kingdom. Like Rome, Athens, Jerusalem, and other ancient cities, the Middle Kingdom has vanished.

Mycenae. In its time, Mycenae was a major center of ancient Greek culture and was a military stronghold that dominated the Southern Peloponnesus for years. Like Thebes, Babylon, Cnossos, and other ancient Mediterranean cities, its early culture no longer exists, and no one but the rich, powerful World Controllers knows about them.

Nine Years' War. A fictional war that Huxley invented to indicate that there was opposition to the new world order. It's not to be confused with the Nine Years' War that took place from 1688 - 1697 and was fought between Louis XIV (the "Sun King") against other European monarchies. Louis XIV had already established that he was the most powerful king in Europe even before the war began, but decided to expand his territory, which incited the war.

Odysseus. The main character of Homer's epic poem The Odyssey and a supporting character in The Iliad. It was Odysseus's idea to build the Trojan Horse, which brought an end to the Trojan War. He's one of the great heroes of ancient Greek literature and is here reduced to merely dust.

Blaise Pascal (1623 - 1662). A prominent French mathematician, physicist, and philosopher known for his namesake theorem, triangle, and wager. Pascal was also a writer, and his book Pensées (Thoughts) is still read today. Huxley alludes to it to suggest that even the greatest thinkers have no impact whatsoever on this controlled society.

William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616). An English playwright and poet often considered the greatest writer to have ever lived. His many plays included such classics as Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, Romeo & Juliet, and King Lear, which Huxley alludes to earlier in the chapter. By telling the reader that Shakespeare isn't read or even a person of note in this brave new world, Huxley implies that the art in this world is subpar at best.

Thebes. In this context, Huxley is alluding to the ancient Greek city state rather than to the Egyptian city. It's famed for being the site of many myths, including those of Cadmus and Oedipus, the latter of whom famously married his own mother. Like other cities before it, its history has been forgotten in this novel.

Ur of the Chaldees. In the Hebrew Bible, Ur of the Chaldees, sometimes called Ur Kaśdim, was said to have been the birthplace of the prophet Abraham, who is perhaps best known for nearly killing his son at God's request. Huxley alludes to it to emphasize that ancient cultures, religions, prophets, and thinkers have no place in the brave new world.


Clothing. Interspersed amidst the discussion of the past and its destruction is an exchange between Lenina and Fanny concerning their clothes—in particular, accessories, which are made out of things like "morocco-surrogate" and "black patent," which may or may not be the same kind of leather used today. There has also been much talk in this and in previous chapters about the colors that upper and lower castes wear and how clothes are used to differentiate between the classes. These rich, expensive clothes Lenina and Fanny sport symbolize their social status and separate them from the lower classes.


Fertility. Once again, fertility proves to be a major issue in this novel, as women's bodies are policed by a government that has no regard whatsoever for an individual's rights or identity. In the same way that "every one belongs to every one," everyone belongs to the state and is subject to the choices they make with regards to their citizens' lives and bodies. Fertility poses a threat to their artificial social order, which relies on biological engineering to control the masses. If live births were ever to occur, it would lead to social unrest. We'll see how this happens later in the novel when John is introduced.

Games. Part of the conditioning process involves forcing children to like and play games that Huxley has invented for the purposes of this novel. This games aren't "fun" as such (despite the cute name of Centrifugal Bumble-puppy, it appears to be little more than standing under a tower and catching a ball). Rather, they're designed to maximize consumption, forcing people to buy equipment and go on vacations just to play games that they don't even really like, such as Obstacle Golf. These games are carefully crafted distractions designed to keep the population meek and complacent.

History. As Mustapha Mond, the history we know and learn in school now has been all but erased in this world, leaving nothing in the years before Ford, except vague rumors of how terrible things used to be. There was, however, some resistance in the beginning of their revolution, and there was a war waged between those who wanted to preserve the past and those who wanted to destroy it. In the end, the destroyers won, and all or most of the books, art, museums, and historical records in this world were disposed of in the name of maintaining social order.

Motherhood. Hand in hand with the theme of fertility is the theme of motherhood, which no longer exists as a social construct in this world. Instead, women are taught that their reproductive biology is more or less primitive and that a mother's emotional attachment to her child is dangerous and chaotic, the source of some social unrest. The World Controllers prevent motherhood from existing with a strictly enforced system of medications and supplements that prevent organic reproduction.

Peace. In this chapter, we see that the artificial peace the World Controllers have constructed comes at a high price and that it's predicated on atrocities like the torture of children, the destruction of great works of art, and the policing of individual bodies as if they were the property of the State. Thus, by today's standards, this isn't really "peace" but, rather, a lie, and there's nothing to suggest that the general population would be happy were they not conditioned to believe so.

Sexuality. Children in this world are sexualized early, with "erotic play" taking place beginning at ages six or seven (and perhaps even earlier). This prepares them for a life where the State mandates what some readers would consider "promiscuous" behavior. In today's world, childhood sexuality is a taboo subject and is strictly discouraged in English and in American cultures. Huxley wrote the novel in part to confront these Victorian ideas of sexuality, presenting a world that swung too far in the other direction. This is a common theme in his body of work and recurs in other books.

Brave New World Chapter 4 Summary and Analysis

Chapter 4 Summary

Part 1

In the lift (elevator), Lenina runs into Bernard and several other men, including Benito Hoover, a man she used to date. To Benito's great astonishment, Lenina asks Bernard if his offer to take her on vacation still stands. Bernard, flustered and self-conscious, asks if they can speak about this in private, but implicitly agrees when she tells him to call him. Lenina then goes to meet Henry, who picks her up in his helicopter and takes her to Stoke Poges Club House to play Obstacle Golf. On the way they see groups of Gammas boarding a tram. Lenina's last words in this chapter are, "I'm glad I'm not a Gamma" (a prejudice drilled into her by sleep teaching).

Part 2

Bernard goes home, feeling distressed and insecure after his encounter with Lenina. He's rude to his Delta-minus servants, whose presence reminds him that he's physically inferior to most of the other Alphas. He's short, thin, often antisocial, and sometimes ill-tempered, and often rejected by women he asks out because of it. Irritated, he takes a helicopter out and goes to see his good friend Helmholtz, a lecturer at the College of Emotional Engineering, where he writes feelies and some musical scores.

Helmholtz, like Bernard, feels like an outsider—though for different reasons. Bernard's physique has made it difficult for him to relate to members of his own caste, whereas Helmholtz's abilities as a writer and artist have separated him from his colleagues and fellow artists, who feel that he's "a little too able," meaning too talented, given that their talent is strictly engineered. Because he's talented and because he feels that being a great lover, a champion Elevator Squash player, and an all-around success means nothing, he has become melancholy. He wants to make great art, but there is no great material in this tightly controlled world. He has nothing new to write about. Still, he's unable to completely commiserate with Bernard, whom he finds a little pathetic. Part 2 ends with Helmholtz wishing Bernard would "show a little more pride."

Chapter 4 Analysis


Huxley uses a simile when he compares a group of Gamma girls to "aphides and ants" crowding around the monorail cars, attempting to board it. This simile diminishes the people in the crowd, stripping them of their individuality and turning them into a large, swarming mass. There's also a strong implication that the lower classes are insects and that they can be easily crushed.


Anxiety. More than anything, what separates Bernard from the other Alphas is his anxiety, which makes it difficult for him to engage with them according to their social standards of behavior. He isn't like them in the sense that he isn't carefree, doesn't have a robust sex life, and can't interact in an easy and unselfconscious manner. This separates him from others and adds to his feelings of isolation.

Art. Though Mustapha Mond made it very clear in the last chapter that history (and, with it, classical and modern art) had been destroyed, new forms of art have emerged in this new world, with very different goals and methodologies. Helmholtz wants to believe that he can make great art, but he feels that a severe lack of subject matter (stemming from the lack of individuality, freedom, and drama in this homogenized world) hampers his ability to create. Later, we'll see how his desire to create art pushes him to rebel against the State.

Isolation. For Bernard, isolation stems from his anxiety and his perceived physical inferiority. On the other hand, Helmholtz's isolation is self-imposed and stems from his feelings of intellectual superiority to other writers and artists. In both cases, isolation negatively affects their reputations, making it difficult for them to interact with other people, who have branded them as being unusual. In this homogenized and artificially stable world, deviating from the norm is very nearly a crime.

Relationships. Just as this world has made nuclear families obsolete, so has it changed the way people engage in romantic relationships. Traditional rules of courtship don't seem to apply, and people don't "date" so much as "have" (meaning sleep with) other characters. Monogamy is discouraged to the point of being considered taboo, and being in a relationship for four months is shocking and abnormal. In eliminating the desire for deep interpersonal relationships, the State has effectively eliminated the ability to feel with any real depth, thus establishing a low emotional baseline that effectively tames the general population.

Brave New World Chapter 5 Summary and Analysis

Chapter 5 Summary

Part 1

Once they finish golfing, Henry and Lenina fly to Westminster Abbey, where they eat dinner and listen to Calvin Stopes and His Sixteen Sexophonists. On the way there, they fly over the Slough Crematorium, and Lenina expresses her distaste at the fact that Alphas and Epsilons alike are all cremated there and reduced to their phosphorus, as if there's no essential difference between the castes. After this unpleasant conversation, it's a relief for them to listen to some synthetic music. The song, of course, is about soma, the drug they use to deaden their senses and go on "holiday" from life. Having taken a dose, Henry and Lenina go back to his place, where Lenina puts in a contraceptive despite being on drugs. Such is the extent of her conditioning.

Part 2

In Part 2, the focus switches back to Bernard, who attends his biweekly Solidarity Service at the Fordson Community Singery. He's characteristically late and has an uncomfortable conversation with a woman named Morgana Rothchild because of it. Once the service begins, everyone in the room partakes of soma-laced strawberry ice cream and begins to sing the First Solidarity Hymn. Several rounds of ice cream later, they're all praising the Greater Being and dancing feverishly to a song that begins, "Orgy-porgy, Ford and Fun." It's a riff on the nursery rhyme "Georgie Porgie, Puddin' and Pie." It's also the inciting incident for an orgy.

Despite partaking in the Service, Bernard still feels separate from the rest of the members of the congregation and has to lie when they ask if he found the service as wonderful as they did. This ends Chapter 5.

Chapter 5 Analysis


The Voice. It should come as no surprise that the "wonderful, mysterious, supernatural Voice" is like that of God and that Huxley is using this parallel to suggest that this Solidarity Service is really part of an organized "religion" that could be likened to a cult. For more on this, see Themes: Religion.


Drugs. Though we've known for some time that the State has deliberately gotten the population addicted to the drug soma as a method of control, there hasn't been much actual use of it until now. Lenina and Henry take it after the show, and Bernard takes it several times during the Solidarity Service, though it appears to have little effect on him. In general, soma is used as a crutch to even out any unpleasant emotions and thus keeps the general public complacent. The State prefers it this way, because it keeps them in power.

Religion. Organized religion has been eradicated in this world, and there are no Christians or Atheists, but rather devotees to the "Greater Being," which is a nebulous entity with no apparent attributes or abilities. This Greater Being appears to have been created, like Ford, as an object of adoration or devotion. The orgiastic enthusiasm with which they praise the Greater Being is intended to purge the congregation of any lingering feelings of alienation or distress and bring them closer together during the service. Unfortunately, this doesn't work for Bernard, and he still feels isolated after it.

Brave New World Chapter 6 Summary and Analysis

Chapter 6 Summary

Part 1

When this chapter begins, Lenina is having doubts about going on vacation with Bernard. In the weeks leading up to the vacation, they go on various dates, each of which leaves Lenina with the impression that Bernard is "odd," as she puts it. Instead of wanting to play golf, he wants to talk. When she drags him to a wrestling match, he becomes surly. On the way back home, he frightens her by shutting down his helicopter's propeller and allowing it to hover over the ocean, in spite of the bad weather. He tells her that he doesn't like being "just a cell in the social body," though the thought of not being part of the social body makes her cry. Seeing this, Bernard agrees to go, and the two wind up in bed together, though this disappoints him. The next day, he tells her he didn't want to jump right into bed with her, and this idea seems dangerous to her. Nevertheless, she still intends to go on vacation with him.

Part 2

Bernard has the unpleasant experience of seeing the Director to get a document signed: a permit for his vacation to the New Mexican Reservation, also known as the Savage Reservation. It leads the Director to reminisce about his own visit to the Reservation, about twenty years before, when his girlfriend got lost and he had to leave her behind. It upset him a lot at the time, but he's more or less over it now. Just the occasional nightmare. He says all this as if Bernard isn't really there, and when he comes back to himself he's irritated with Bernard and reprimands him for his "odd" behavior outside of work. This paradoxically leaves Bernard elated, and he boasts about it to his friend Helmholtz, who looks at him with such embarrassment that Bernard blushes and then has to look away.

Part 3

Bernard and Lenina fly down to New Mexico. On the first night, they stay at a "lovely" hotel in Santa Fe, then move on to the Reservation, where their lodgings are pretty primitive: no TV, no hot water. Bernard tells Lenina she can stay in Santa Fe if she wants. The next day, the Warden of the Reservation takes them on a tour, warning them that they'll see things they find unsettling: pagan rituals, children who were born rather than decanted, diseases. When Bernard calls up his friend Helmholtz, asking him to run by his apartment, Helmholtz tells him that the Director has decided to replace Bernard. He's to be sent to Iceland. The thought terrifies him. In the wake of his news, he takes four soma tablets and is flown with Lenina out to the Reservation itself, where they're to stay in a small square house. Their pilot tells them not to worry—the savages are tame.

Chapter 6 Analysis


Huxley foreshadows two major events in the novel: 1) Bernard's discovery of John, the Director's illegitimate, natural-born son, and 2) Bernard's exile to Iceland. Both events are alluded to in this chapter, but the former will delay the latter.


Ageism. Hand in hand with the themes of racism and classism is that of ageism, which is yet another form of prejudice that this brave new world blithely embraces. Bernard explains to Lenina that they've all been bioengineered to live in a state of perpetual youth until their premature deaths roughly at the age of sixty. This prevents the population from aging, becoming infirm, and experiencing any of the unpleasantness associated with death. The bodies are then cremated, allowing the living to move on without fearing death or having negative associations with it. In later chapters, we'll see how children are conditioned not to be affected by death.

Exile. In a world where the thought of not being part of the social body can drive people like Lenina to tears, the threat of being exiled is a grave one and makes Bernard reconsider if he really wants to be so "different" from others. His isolation, though essential to his character, is only possible and fruitful if it takes place within the context of civilization of a whole. Being an exile is, as Bernard discovers, very different from being an outcast, and he doesn't want to go to Iceland. Luckily for him, the events of the next few chapters will delay that exile, but not for long.

Racism. This novel was written in 1932 and unfortunately proves itself to be a product of its time in terms of race and gender. It's no accident that the lower castes are almost always described as people of color and that Native Americans are referred to as "savages," like they were when the racists and early "pioneers" of the United States perpetrated the genocide against the Native Americans (one could argue that this genocide is still going on today). Though there are some characters from the upper castes who appear to be people of color, such as Benito Hoover, Alphas and Betas are, for the most part, white, which makes the fact that this brave new world is fueled by what amounts to slave labor all the more unsettling.

Brave New World Chapter 7 Summary and Analysis

Chapter 7 Summary

Bernard and Lenina are being led around the reservation by a guide. Lenina refers to everything as "queer" (her word for things she dislikes) and finds the bodies and habits of the "savages" too beastly to think about. They walk around for a bit. See an angle. Look at some hills. They're nice hills. Then their guide takes them to the pueblo, where Lenina is appalled by the squalor, old age, and disease she encounters. Bernard explains that this is what life would be like if human beings weren't engineered to always be youthful and free of disease. Without the calming effects of her soma, Lenina finds this visit horrific and stressful and is upset by the pagan ritual she witnesses.

Though the music at this ritual bears a passing resemblance to that at the Solidarity Services, the ritual is like nothing Bernard and Lenina have ever seen: there are drums beating, men in masks, and elaborate dances with obscure meanings that Lenina doesn't understand. One man opens up a chest and reveals dozens of snakes, which he throws onto the ground. A boy allows himself to be whipped in front of everyone, for the good of the pueblo. Another boy, who will later be revealed as John, the Director's illegitimate son, explains to Bernard and Lenina that they whipped the boy in hopes of making the rain come. John wishes that he had been whipped, because he considers it a great honor.

Bernard, realizing that it's uncommon for a white person like John to have grown up on a Savage Reservation, asks him how he came to live there and hears the other side of the Director's story: John's mother is Linda, the Director's ex-girlfriend, who was left behind and only found out that she was pregnant afterward. Out of shame, she stayed on the reservation rather than have to face the humiliation of being pregnant. She had John via live birth and raised him on the reservation, teaching him to read from a manual and a large book of Shakespeare's works. This was difficult for her, because she was only a Beta who worked in the Fertilizing Room and, thus, had no skills beyond those needed to perform her duties. She can't mend her clothes, explain how a helicopter works, or answer John's more philosophical questions. She can only suffer what she thinks of as the "madness" of life on the Savage Reservation.

Chapter 7 Analysis


The Crucifix. During the ritual performed on the Reservation, the Native Americans reveal an image of what is probably Jesus Christ crucified on the Cross. This image, though never explicitly linked to Jesus, nevertheless becomes a symbol of his suffering and suffering in general. It's fitting that after this image is revealed a boy is whipped, symbolically suffering for his sins in order to make the rains come.

The Eagle. In the United States, the eagle has become a symbol of American pride, but in Native American cultures, it remains a symbol of power and of man's connection with the divine. This symbolism reaches all the way back to ancient Greece and beyond and can be found in classical texts such as The Odyssey. During the ritual in this chapter, the eagle is a spirit that allows the tribespeople to connect with the underworld.


Cleanliness. During their conditioning process, children are taught that "Civilization is Sterilization." This has two meanings: 1) that the civilization is made possible in part by the sterilization of roughly 70% of the female population, and 2) that cleanliness is paramount and that the whole world should be as sterile and antiseptic as possible. This is similar to the adage "cleanliness is next to godliness," which asserts that one must be clean to be close to God. Remove the religion from that sentiment and you have the belief that all of civilization should be rid of dirt and disease. Lenina's horror in being exposed to filth on the Savage Reservation stems from this belief in cleanliness.

Disease. Hand in hand with the theme of cleanliness is the theme of disease, which is viewed as a physical or biological form of filth. Everyone had been bioengineered to be immune to disease, which has allowed them to prevent aging and eliminate the spread of communicable disease. In the absence of disease, the medical profession has refocused its attention on preserving youth and preventing pregnancy, which both controls the population and emphasizes sex.

Madness. What Linda refers to as "madness" the reader understands to be the customs and the traditions of a culture so foreign as to appear nonsensical and, in many ways, despicable. In Linda's reaction, we can clearly see how racism, classism, ageism, and what amounts to extreme xenophobia has pickled her mind, making it impossible for her to understand cultures other than her own. Given that this novel is a satire of the modern world, Huxley is clearly using Linda's reaction to comment on the rampant intolerance of the time.

Religion. Organized religion has been all but destroyed in this new world, but on the Savage Reservations, the old ways and traditions have been preserved through the generations, allowing for their belief in spirits or gods associated with the natural world. Though Lenina has no direct experience with an organized religion of the kind practiced today, she does participate in the communal Solidarity Services, which are not unlike cults in their reliance on drugs, mind control, and a false sense of community. When she murmurs "Orgy-porgy" while watching the rituals on the reservation, it's clear that, while she understands some of the significance of this custom, she's horrified by it.

Brave New World Chapter 8 Summary and Analysis

Chapter 8 Summary

Bernard asks John to explain his life. Most of the chapter consists of a flashback in which John is a small child and Linda begins dating (and, it seems, being taken advantage of and abused) by an alcoholic and violent Native American named Popé, whom John detests. In one harrowing scene, Linda is whipped by three Native American women who think she's stealing their men. It's made clear that Linda became something of a prostitute on the Reservation and that she was helpless to defend herself against the abuses of men and women alike. Meanwhile, she slowly taught John to read using a manual from work and a large copy of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. Unsurprisingly, he preferred the latter.

When John grows older, the elders on the Reservation begin to take an interest in him, and one of them teaches him how to sculpt water pots out of clay. He witnesses a marriage, which Linda has little regard for, but which seems to move John. Later, when he attempts to attend a ceremony for the young men in the village, he's driven out, pelted by rocks. Once, John tells Bernard, he had a dream of being crucified like Jesus and paying for his sins. Bernard then asks if John would like to come back to London with them, and John jumps at the chance.

Chapter 8 Analysis


Hamlet by William Shakespeare. While relating his personal history to Bernard, John quotes two famous passages from Hamlet, a tragedy about a young man who fakes madness in order to seek revenge on his uncle, who killed his brother, Hamlet's father. These passages are:

Nay, but to live

In the rank sweat of an enseamed bed,

Stew'd in corruption, honeying and making love

Over the nasty sty … (III.iv.92-95)


When he is drunk asleep, or in his rage

Or in the incestuous pleasure of his bed … (III.iii.90-91)

In both passages, Hamlet is referring to the incestuous acts committed by his uncle King Claudius, who married his sister-in-law, Hamlet's mother, Queen Gertrude. (In Hamlet's time, sisters-in-law were considered, simply, sisters, which makes it incestuous for Claudius to marry Gertrude.) The allusion to these lines is meant to underscore John's hatred of Popé and his disgust with sex.


John uses a simile when he describes Popé's long hair draped over Linda "like a black snake."


Alcohol. In previous chapters, we've seen how the rumor that alcohol had been introduced into Bernard's embryo at a crucial stage of development contributed to his social isolation. Here, alcohol in the form of mescal is consumed by Linda and Native Americans in excessive quantities that Lenina finds unpleasant. Thus, we see that alcohol in its various forms is a symbol of one's social status.

Blood. Traditionally, blood is a symbol of violence, death, passion, or even guilt, as when someone has blood on their hands. Here, blood becomes a symbol of purification, both in Jesus's crucifixion and in the ritual whipping that the boy suffers. When this blood is shed, his community is able to reap the rewards, having satisfied the gods and spirits.

Snakes. During the ritual in this chapter, an old man pulls dozens of snakes out of a chest, throwing them pointedly on the ground. In Pueblo mythology, snakes are symbols of fertility, and the old man is using them here to incite the rain gods to come and help their crop (in other words, to incite their maize to be fertile). Later, John describes Popé's hair as a "black snake" draped across Linda—an image that underscores their fertility and sexual relationship while also playing on the traditional symbolism of the snake as a treacherous enemy.


Literacy. Hand in hand with the theme of education and the symbolism of books is the theme of literacy, a skill which has been discouraged in the brave new world for the purpose of dampening a person's intellectual curiosity and stymieing their imagination. Unlike the infants in Conditioning Centres, John isn't tortured into a hatred of books, and these become his primary solace as a boy. When he reads Shakespeare, he experiences a joy and understanding that Bernard and the other characters in the novel are incapable of, for the most part. Despite growing up on the Reservation, John has in many ways received a better education that his "civilized" counterparts.

Isolation. Much like Bernard and Helmholtz, who are isolated for their physical attributes and their mental attributes, respectively, John has been ostracized by most of the Native American community on the Reservation, left out of an important ritual young men go through when they reach maturity. He and his mother are the victims of physical abuse and malicious gossip, and John turns to the works of Shakespeare for solace. His excitement at the prospect of traveling to the "Other Place" (what Linda calls civilization in general and London specifically) indicates that he's lonely and would enjoy meeting like-minded people. He will, of course, be disappointed with London.

Sexuality. Both Linda and John are disgusted by the kind of sex had on the Reservation. In London, sex is mandated by the government, requires that one use contraceptives, and presumably takes place only when all parties give consent. In contrast, sex on the Reservation often happens by force, is fueled by alcohol, and takes no precautions against pregnancy or venereal disease. Linda finds it shameful, and John looks on it with a contempt fueled by his reading of Shakespeare.

Violence. Though there are some examples of torture in the conditioning process, there has otherwise been very little violence in the novel, which focuses on a civilization that claims to have eliminated all social strife and its resultant violence. On the Reservation, however, there's no such stability, and the Native American men have no problem taking advantage of Linda, whom they think of as an outsider and, thus, a target.

Brave New World Chapter 9 Summary and Analysis

Chapter 9 Summary

In the aftermath of their first day on the Reservation, Lenina and Bernard get some much needed rest. Lenina goes on a soma holiday, and Bernard makes the arrangements for John's return to the civilized world. While Lenina is sleeping, John sneaks into her adjoining room and paws through the contents of her suitcase. Hearing a noise, he freezes, afraid that he'll be caught. Afterward, he creeps to Lenina's room to watch her sleep and admire her beauty. He quotes from Shakespeare's plays Romeo and Juliet and Troilus and Cressida to express his love for Lenina. John then hurries outside to meet Bernard, who has just returned from making the arrangements.

Chapter 9 Analysis


Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. John quotes a passage from Shakespeare's great tragedy about two star-crossed lovers who meet a tragic end. This passage reads as follows:

"On the white wonder of dear Juliet's hand, may seize

And steal immortal blessing from her lips,

Who, even in pure and vestal modesty,

Still blush, as thinking their own kisses sin." (III.iii.36-39)

Note that this passage is as much about beauty as modesty and that Juliet is being praised for her chastity. This indicates that John has misunderstood Lenina and failed to realize that she has been conditioned to practice an extreme form of sexual freedom. Unsurprisingly, this will upset him in later chapters of the novel.

Troilus and Cressida by William Shakespeare. John quotes a passage from Shakespeare's tragic play about the titular lovers, a Trojan prince and a woman whose father is a seer. During the Trojan War, Cressida is sent to the Greeks and begins flirting with the Greek warrior Diomedes. Troilus sneaks into the Greek camps to see her, only to find that she has betrayed their love. In the end, their relationship is destroyed, and the play ends on a bleak note.

John quotes a passage from Act I, before everything went wrong. It reads:

"Her eyes, her hair, her cheek, her gait, her voice;

Handlest in thy discourse O! that her hand,

In whose comparison all whites are ink

Writing their own reproach; to whose soft seizure

The cygnet's down is harsh …" (I.i.84-88)

It's worth noting that John has quoted from two plays that feature doomed loves. Perhaps without realizing it, he has suggested that his love of Lenina is doomed and that she will be faithless, like Cressida. Time will prove this to be true.


John's ability to break Lenina's window without giving it a second thought foreshadows his later penchant for violence and irrational behavior. His love of Lenina will prove volatile at best.


Love. In a world where everyone belongs to everyone, the very thought of love is foreign, and there are no committed relationships. Having read all of Shakespeare's works, John thinks he understands love and believes that the infatuation he feels for Lenina is real, even though it most likely stems from the fact that he has never met a beautiful white woman before. It's also likely that John has never considered a Native American beautiful, which would make his sudden "love" of Lenina as racist as it is naive. In part because it's based on a misconception of Lenina and in part because it may well be John's first love, he's incapable of acting in a mature fashion. His behavior is intense and bizarre and foreshadows the violence of his later actions.

Brave New World Chapter 10 Summary and Analysis

Chapter 10 Summary

This chapter marks a return to London and to civilization. When it opens, the Director is praising the Bloomsbury Centre's efficiency and referring to it as a "hive." He's preparing to fire Bernard, telling Henry Foster, Lenina's ex, that Bernard sets a bad example for people of his caste. Despite the fact that Bernard does his work very well, as Henry points out, the Director still means to fire him. He has asked Bernard to meet him in the Fertilizing Room so that he can make an example of him. If Bernard hadn't just brought back the Director's illegitimate son, this would've worked. Unfortunately for the Director, Linda makes a grotesque scene, asking if the Director remembers her, and John enters, repeating, "My father! My father!" This is so embarrassing that the Director has to leave.

Chapter 10 Analysis


Beehives. The Director uses a metaphor when he refers to the Bloomsbury Centre as a "hive," which makes its employees busy worker "bees" who perform their assigned tasks mindlessly and instinctively. This ties back into the theme of identity, because if the workers are all bees, then they don't have individual identities, but are, rather, viewed as a single, uniform mass.


Drama. In true Shakespearean fashion, John makes a dramatic entrance to the Fertilizing Room, saying, "My father!" like a prince addressing the king. His mannerisms here are affected, stolen from the dramas he's read, and are therefore inappropriate for the time and setting. His audience is, in fact, so unaccustomed to displays like this that they burst out laughing. In response, the Director runs away, abandoning his son, much as he would in a real Shakespearean tragedy.

Identity. For more on this, see Metaphors: Beehives.

Paternity. Like motherhood, fatherhood has been eliminated, and there is no such thing as being a "parent" in London, as in the rest of "civilized" society. Though John is excited by the prospect of finally being reunited with his father, the Director is horrified by the situation and flees in disgrace. Like Linda and all his employees, the Director has been conditioned to abhor the idea of natural birth, and he's unprepared for what it would mean to be a father, horrified by the responsibility of it.

Shame. Both Linda and the Director are ashamed of the fact that they're parents and both feel that they're unable to show their face in public because of it. This is why Linda stays on the Reservation, and why the Director will resign from his post at the beginning of the next chapter. Unfortunately for him, the years of living in squalor have reduced Linda's aversion to shame and freed her to jump at the prospect of returning to civilization.

Brave New World Chapter 11 Summary and Analysis

Chapter 11 Summary

Following the events of the previous chapter, the Director resigns, and John becomes a source of fascination for the upper caste elites. Linda, on the other hand, is treated like a monster and goes on a permanent soma holiday, which the doctor expects to kill her in a couple months. Realizing this, John protests, but is forced to accept it. He has, quite suddenly, become popular, and so has Bernard, who enjoys the fame of being guardian to "the Savage," as John is called. Bernard likes the attention and particularly likes the girls. He boasts about this to Helmholtz, whom he expects to be happy for him. Instead, Helmholtz expresses sadness for him, and Bernard vows to end the friendship. This will only be temporary, of course.

Bernard decides to introduce John to the civilized world. He throws parties, invites other people over to see him, and gives him a tour of London from a helicopter. Mustapha Mond doesn't like this sudden turn of events and even considers teaching Bernard a lesson, but decides against it. John, unimpressed by civilization and disappointed that no one seems to have read Shakespeare, grows despondent—that is, until he starts seeing Lenina, who has become a celebrity herself, by association. Together, they see a "feely" called Three Weeks in a Helicopter, about a black man who kidnaps a blonde woman and keeps her in his helicopter for—you guessed it—three weeks. Despite being enthralled by the physical sensations of the feely, John finds the movie base, even going so far as to tell Lenina she shouldn't watch it. When he doesn't come upstairs with her, she gets upset and has to take a gramme and a half of soma.

Chapter 11 Analysis


Lucrezia Aguiari (1743 - 1783). An Italian coloratura soprano who had a vocal range spanning about three and a half octaves. In a letter, Leopold Mozart (father of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart) expressed his astonishment and admiration for Aguiari, who had hit a seemingly impossible note: the C soprano acuto, an octave above the high C. Huxley alludes to Aguiari to show that synthetic music has reached dizzyingly virtuosic heights.

The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare. One of Shakespeare's more famous plays, The Merchant of Venice features the character Shylock, a moneylender who delivers the famous speech "Hath not a Jew eyes?" John thinks of the play in the Television Corporation's factory, where he sees boxes full of the day's soma rations. He asks, "What's in those...those caskets?" remembering how Portia, a character in the play, forced all her suitors to play a game where they picked one of three caskets in hopes of winning her heart.

Leopold Mozart (1719 - 1787). A German composer and conductor in his own right, Leopold was the father of the more famous Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791), who's widely considered one of the best composers to have ever lived. Mozart was in the audience when Lucrezia Aguiari hit the incredible C note that no other singer has ever achieved.

Othello by William Shakespeare. This is another of Shakespeare's famous plays. Its title character is a Moor (a black man) who is manipulated into killing his wife, Desdemona. John is reminded of Othello by the black man in the feely that he and Lenina see. The film's plot (of a black man forgetting himself and hurting a woman that he loves) is vaguely reminiscent of Othello's, but has no real direct parallels, beyond the main character's skin color.

The Tempest by William Shakespeare. Huxley makes two separate allusions to The Tempest: the first, when John, unimpressed with the speed of the Bombay Green Rocket, murmurs that Ariel, the magical spirit from the Shakespeare play, "could put a girdle round the earth in forty minutes," and the second when John looks at the clones and quotes the lines: "O brave new world,/ That has such people in ’t!" (V.1.87-88) This is the source of the novel's title.


This chapter foreshadows two major events: Linda's eventual death from soma and the "lesson" that Mustapha Mond teaches Bernard by sending him to Iceland at the end of the novel.


Death. It's telling that death hasn't been a major theme until now, almost two-thirds of the way into the book. In Chapter 5, Part 1, the fact of death was briefly touched upon when Henry and Lenina flew over the Crematorium on their way to the concert. However, the thought of dying one day didn't weigh on the characters as one would it expect to. This, as we'll discover, is due to the fact that everyone has been conditioned not to fear death and that this is one of the things that ensures social stability.

Fame. Hand in hand with the theme of isolation is the theme of popularity or of fame, the lack of which led Bernard to feel isolated in the first half of the novel. Now that he's famous, however, and can use his association with John to earn himself favor amongst the upper caste elite, Bernard doesn't feel isolated at all and rather enjoys being part of the social body as a whole. This will make it all the more difficult for him when he's finally exiled.

Brave New World Chapter 12 Summary and Analysis

Chapter 12 Summary

This chapter opens with Bernard pleading that John come out and talk to their guests. When John refuses to attend the party, Bernard must suffer the cruel remarks of his snobby party guests, who resent having to associate with him outside the company of John "the Savage." Lenina, however, doesn't resent Bernard, but is upset about not getting to see John and having to entertain the Arch Community Songster, instead. When the guests leave, Bernard briefly weeps, and John is shown rereading the play Romeo and Juliet. Meanwhile, Mustapha Mond is reading a biology paper that takes a near heretical stance on the concept of "purpose." He decides not to publish it, but doesn't (yet) exile the author.

Later, Bernard and John talk about why Bernard is unhappy. He begins to feel as though John is a friend and thus subject to all the "punishments that we should like, but are unable, to inflict upon our enemies." Bernard then grovels to Helmholtz, wanting to be his friend again, and is surprised by how easily Helmholtz accepts. Evidently, Helmholtz has gotten into some trouble at work due to the fact that he went off script and tried to teach his students about rhyme with a poem that he wrote himself. He then reads the poem, which is terrible. Nevertheless, he's proud of it and feels that he's finally beginning to realize his true talents. John takes to this immediately.

Helmholtz and John are briefly able to bond over the beauty of Shakespeare's poetry, which they read aloud while Bernard laughs rudely at the elevated language. Then John reads from the play Romeo and Juliet, and Helmholtz outright laughs at the thought of Juliet's parents trying to force her to marry someone she doesn't want—or controlling her sex life at all. Helmholtz thinks this is ludicrous and decides that he needs some other form of madness or violence to write about. John, disappointed, stops reading.

Chapter 12 Analysis


"The Phoenix and the Turtle" by William Shakespeare. This is an allegorical poem about true love that John reads aloud for Helmholtz. Specifically, he quotes the following lines:

Let the bird of loudest lay

On the sole Arabian tree

Herald sad and trumpet be,

Like Romeo and Juliet, the poem deals in the themes of love and death, which preoccupy John in this chapter (perhaps because of his burgeoning relationship with Lenina).

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. Once again, Huxley alludes to Romeo and Juliet, summarizing the basic plot so that Bernard and Helmholtz will have the opportunity to comment on just how different Shakespeare's idea of love is from theirs. John, who holds this play dear, takes offense at Helmholtz's laughter and begins to pull away as a friend. Helmholtz's disdain is meant to convey just how uncultured this society is.


Helmholtz reads a long, terrible rhyming poem he wrote that uses an ABAB rhyme structure, not unlike Shakespeare's. His inability to appreciate the Bard's work despite its technical virtuosity is yet another example of Helmholtz's limited abilities as a writer.


The Golden T. The Arch-Community Songster gifts Lenina a necklace with a small golden T on its chain, which Lenina touches softly at key moments in this chapter. It's immediately apparent to the reader that Huxley is likening this golden T to the Christian cross and that the Arch-Community Songster is a sly allusion to the Archbishop of Canterbury, his religious equivalent. Though Christianity as a whole no longer exists, the concept of "worship" still does, and this Arch-Community Songster, who holds a position of power within the "church" behind the Solidarity Services. That Lenina is engaged in a sexual relationship with an essentially religious figure is no doubt a comment on the corruption present in the Christian church.


Love. Given how averse this community is to emotional attachments, it's unsurprising that Helmholtz scoffs at the mere thought of monogamy. "Love" as such no longer exists in this world, and it has been supplanted by sex and drug use as the primary forms of expression, besides clothing. Some might argue that "love" as we understand it is merely a social construct and that, therefore, there are no ramifications to replacing it with complete sexual freedom. However, the lack of "love" as a recognizable emotion has stunted interpersonal development in this world, making characters, in their own words, "infantile."

Propaganda. The State uses propaganda to control the masses. This usually comes in the form of conditioning, but is also readily apparent in the feelies and "art" produced by people like Helmholtz, who have trained and composed at the various Bureaux of Propaganda. Every form of communication and art in this world has been carefully crafted to reinforce the conditioning citizens have undergone since childhood. Helmholtz even delivers a lecture "On the Use of Rhymes in Moral Propaganda and Advertisement," which emphasizes how language is used to manipulate the masses.

Brave New World Chapter 13 Summary and Analysis

Chapter 13 Summary

When this chapter opens, Henry Foster is asking Lenina who she's going out with that night and if she's feeling ill (they've eliminated most infectious diseases in this world, but not all). In point of fact, Lenina isn't sick at all, but she's upset about her relationship with John, which has not yet turned sexual, despite her best efforts to seduce him. Fanny balks when Lenina tells her about it. She suggests that Lenina see other men, but Lenina has, and it hasn't stopped her from wanting to see John—and only John.

When Lenina shows up at John's apartment, he's surprised, having expected Helmholtz. He tells her that he wants to make a show of his love for her, to prove to her that he's worthy of her, so that they can get married. Lenina doesn't understand all this (never having considered the prospect of a monogamous marriage) and consequently grows upset, asking John whether he likes her or not. When he tells her he loves her, she strips naked, thinking that they can at last have sex. But John catches her wrists and screams that she's a whore. She's so frightened that she has to lock herself in the bathroom to protect herself from his sudden rage.

After a while, Lenina attempts to talk to him, interrupting his furious recitations of Shakespeare phrases. He graciously returns her clothes and belt, pushing them through a ventilator shaft over the door when she refuses to unlock it. Then he receives a call from someone who tells him that his mother is in grave condition. He leaves, and Lenina pokes her head out.

Chapter 13 Analysis


King Lear by William Shakespeare. In his rage, John quotes the following passage from King Lear:

"The fitchew, nor the soiled horse, goes to 't

With a more riotous appetite.

Down from the waist they are Centaurs,

Though women all above:

But to the girdle do the gods inherit,

Beneath is all the fiends';

There's hell, there's darkness, there's the sulphurous pit,

Burning, scalding, stench, consumption; fie, fie, fie! pah,


Give me an ounce of civet, good apothecary, to sweeten

my imagination..." (

This passage, like the quote from Othello, is about the supposedly feckless and corruptible nature of women. It's meant to suggest that Lenina's lust is animalistic and that she doesn't satisfy John's requirements for appropriate female behavior.

Othello by William Shakespeare. John quotes the line "Impudent strumpet!" (V.ii.83) when Lenina undresses. He thinks that she's a whore who has been pretending to be chaste and that she has finally shown her true colors here. Remember that he likened the main character of Three Weeks in a Helicopter, the feely they went to see on their first date, to Othello, the Moor. His allusion to the play here aligns Lenina with the character Desdemona, Othello's falsely accused wife, whom he murders out of jealousy after his "friend" Iago convinces him that she has been unfaithful. In this, Huxley appears to be telling the reader that Lenina is innocent and that John has been driven to madness. He also quotes the lines:

"O thou weed,

Who art so lovely fair and smell'st so sweet

That the sense aches at thee…" (IV.ii.74-76)


"Was this fair paper, this most goodly book,

Made to write “whore” upon?" (IV.ii.79-80)


"Heaven stops the nose at it" (IV.ii.85)

He strings these lines together, omitting words, either because he forgot them or because he wants to hurry through the lines and get to the point: that he thinks Lenina is treacherous.

The Tempest by William Shakespeare. When John tries to tell Lenina that he wants to get married, he quotes the following lines:

If thou dost break her virgin knot before

All sanctimonious ceremonies may

With full and holy rite (IV.i.15-17)

He's unaware that she isn't a virgin anymore and that they won't be able to have the pure and holy wedding ceremony he imagines. When he finally understands that Lenina has had sex and, to his great horror, wants to have sex with him, he quotes the following lines:

"...the murkiest den,

The most opportune place, the strong’st suggestion,

Our worser genius can shall never melt

Mine honor into lust…" (IV.i.85-89)

Through his readings of Shakespeare, he has come to associate chastity with virtue, and he's put off by the thought of having sex before marriage. Given the often bawdy nature of Shakespeare's plays and John's often juvenile understanding of love, it's very possible that he has associated sex with evil and that, even if he were to marry Lenina, his response to her lust for him might not be positive.

Troilus and Cressida by William Shakespeare. When explaining why marriage is important to him, John quotes the following lines:

Outliving beauty's outward, with a mind

That doth renew swifter than blood decays!


Though the exact meaning of these lines has been debated by scholars, they likely suggest that a person's beauty can fade, but that their commitment to another "outliv[es]" that beauty, allowing a person to be monogamous and true, even as they age. John is unaware that beauty doesn't fade in this brave new world and that a marriage to Lenina would be impossible.


Lenina's attempted seduction of John parallels her seduction of Bernard, in which she proves to be impatient and insensitive to Bernard's desire to take things slow and get to know each other first. This impatience doesn't cause any real problems with Bernard, but incites John to violence.


The Skin of a Mountain Lion. In Malpais, this skin represents a man's worthiness as a spouse and is given as a gift to a woman whom the warrior wishes to marry. John tells Lenina that he would skin a mountain lion for her, but that, alas, there are no mountain lions in London, and even if there were, they'd probably just be killed from a helicopter instead of on the ground, presumably with simple tools and no doubt at considerable risk. John's willingness to skin the lion is evidence of his love, which, as it turns out, is conditional, and thus not very strong.


Sex. This is the second time Lenina has tried to seduce a man, making her intentions very clear. Both Bernard and John find these attempts too forward, but where Bernard gives in, John lashes out at Lenina, frightened by the very fact of her lust. It's possible that Huxley is making a comment on the double-standard that demonizes female desire and glorifies male desire, reinforcing a gender divide where women are supposed to chaste and men are encouraged to sleep around. This is an outdated ideal that proves harmful to Lenina, who suffers John's abuse because of it.

Violence. John's volatile and unrestrained emotions have led to disturbing behavior in the past, such as his violation of Lenina's privacy on the Reservation, and his violent tendencies go unchecked in this chapter, when he grabs Lenina and strikes her, calling her a "whore." This outburst is sudden and strongly indicates that John has no control over his emotions. He's merely reenacting what he has read in Shakespeare, not realizing that Othello's actions aren't meant to be glorified and that there is no real reason to suspect Desdemona or Lenina of wrongdoing.

Brave New World Chapter 14 Summary and Analysis

Chapter 14 Summary

John hurries over to the Park Lane Hospital, where Linda is lying in her hospital bed on the verge of death. One of the nurses who helps John is horrified by his use of the word "mother," but takes him to Linda's room, all the same, offhandedly commenting that she can't stay, because she has a group of children coming for a tour soon. He cries over Linda for a few minutes before's his grief is interrupted by a steady stream of children who have come for to be inoculated against the fear of death. Linda's appearance frightens them, however, and when one of them calls Linda fat John gets offended.

Briefly, Linda talks in her sleep, murmuring about Popé. This infuriates John, who subsequently lashes out at the children, offended by the fact that they're eating eclairs while they watch Linda die. One of them asks, "Is she dead?" John pushes him to the ground without a second thought.

Chapter 14 Analysis


When the nurse gives the children a guided tour of the hospital, she unwittingly parallels the tour that the Director gave the students in Chapters 1, 2, and 3. Huxley uses their tour to deliver information to the reader that would be too clunky or distracting from the narrative if relayed in exposition.


Eclairs. These chocolatey pastries symbolize the privilege that these children enjoy and their consequent indifference to death and to John's suffering. In our world, it's customary to treat the dead and the dying with respect, but the nurse subverts this by offering the children eclairs, no doubt to create an artificial association between death and pastries, i.e. something pleasant.

Brave New World Chapter 15 Summary and Analysis

Chapter 15 Summary

The Deputy Sub-Bursar arrives with a black cash box full of the day's soma ration arrives at the hospital and asks all of the children to line up neatly for the distribution. John, realizing that this drug killed his mother, decides to free the children by getting rid of the soma. While John has his fit, the Deputy calls Hemholtz, whom he knows to be a friend of John's. Helmholtz and Bernard rush to the hospital, where John begins throwing the soma out the window. Helmholtz joins him, but Bernard doesn't, and the children and hospital staff look on, thinking them all mad.

Chapter 15 Analysis


Insects. In Chapter 4, Huxley compared a group of lower caste workers to "aphides and ants," suggesting that they're small and easily crushed. Here, we find that insects have become a motif in the novel and that groups of people are repeatedly compared to mindless creatures in order to emphasize a lack of individuality and identity.


Soma. This drug means different things to different characters. Linda and Lenina use it as an escape, the children respond to it almost like it's candy, and John sees it as a corrupting force, something that must be destroyed. He proceeds to do so by throwing the soma rations out the window (which, it should be noted, does not actually destroy the pills, but merely displaces them).

The Voice. Once again, Huxley positions "the Voice" as a godlike figure, with its commanding yet soothing message playing all around them, as if to hypnotize them. The Voice thus becomes a symbol of the conditioning that the children have gone through and of their subservience to the desires of the Voice (and, thus, the World Controllers).


Freedom. This theme is closely associated with the theme of drugs. John justifies his decision to get rid of the soma by asking, "Don't you want to be free?" He's implying that their addiction to soma has enslaved them, reducing them to "mewling and puking" babies dependent on drugs for all their emotional needs. His attempt to free the children, however, fails.

Friendship. Friendship has been a major theme in the novel. We've seen the ups and downs of the friendships between Bernard, Helmholtz, and John, and we've seen how the essential differences in character and thought have kept them from truly understanding each other. When Bernard betrays both his friends and tries to distance himself from their actions, we see the limits of friendship. In the end, Bernard is more interested in self-preservation than in being close to people.

Brave New World Chapter 16 Summary and Analysis

Chapter 16 Summary

After being arrested for their outburst, Bernard, Helmholtz, and John are all taken to the office of Mustapha Mond. When John complains about the background music that's always playing in the air, Mustapha Mond quotes a line from the The Tempest, sparking a conversation about the past, beauty, art, Shakespeare, and social stability. The State has sacrificed high art in favor of peace, and that's why the "art" produced in this world is terrible, like the feely John and Lenina saw on their date. Mustapha Mond admits that the happiness this lowbrow art produced is mundane, but insists that it's better than the rarer, much brighter happiness that people used to have to fight for in the old world.

John then questions why they need to go through the cloning process, which he finds particularly disturbing. Mustapha Mond explains that this is a way to control the population and separate the social classes. For example, Alphas mustn't be forced to do Delta work, because they'd be driven mad by the repetitive nature of the grunt work. At the same time, Epsilons can't do a Beta's work, because they aren't intelligent enough to do so. John wonders why they can't just make a society completely composed of Alphas, but Mustapha Mond again shakes his head. They tried that once before. They left an entire community of Alphas in Cyprus, giving some of them Alpha work and some lower class work, and this led to social unrest and civil war. Similarly, they once reduced a typical worker's hours from seven and a half to four, but people didn't know what to do with that extra free time. They got restless. And the State doesn't like it when people are restless.

Mustapha Mond then reveals that art isn't the only threat to stability. There's also science, which has been all but halted in order to prevent progress and change. Mustapha Mond knows because he was once a very good physicist and realized that this whole world was bunk. When the State decided that he'd been asking too many questions, he was given a choice: be exiled like Bernard will be or stay and take a position of power. He chose to stay. He doesn't extend the same offer to Bernard and Helmholtz. In the end, Bernard gets sent to Iceland, and Helmholtz gets sent to the Falkland Islands, where he thinks the terrible climate will help him write.

Chapter 16 Analysis


The Tempest by William Shakespeare. When John complains about the music constantly playing in the background everywhere he goes, Mustapha Mond quotes these lines:

"Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments

Will hum about mine ears, and sometime voices…" (III.ii.139-140)

He's able to read Shakespeare, he says, because he makes the laws and therefore can break them. He may also be likening John to Caliban, the brutish antagonist of the play who has been forced into servitude by Prospero, the magician who came to live on Caliban's island years before. This underscores the idea that, in the eyes of the State, John is the enemy, not the other way around.


Books. In previous chapters, books were established as symbols of both education and intelligence, with infants being conditioned to hate books in order to stunt their intellectual curiosity and emotional intelligence. The copy of My Life and Work, By Our Ford further cements the idea that books are tools that the State uses to control the world population. However, it's clear that Mustapha Mond has not only read but has access to Shakespeare's works, suggesting that books are also symbols of deviance or rebellion.


Art. Huxley makes it clear in this chapter that the "art" created in this brave new world is necessarily inferior the art created by their ancestors. His theory about this is presented by Mustapha Mond, who says that great art comes from suffering, and suffering comes from social strife, but there's no strife in this world, so there isn't anything for artists to use as inspiration. They live in a flat, simple world, and their emotional lives are consequently flat and simple. If the masses were to be shown Othello, Mustapha Mond says, they wouldn't understand it, because it requires that people have a complex understanding of emotional turmoil, and these people simply don't.

Beauty. Like art, beauty in this brave new world has become even more superficial than it was before. A single viewing of a feely was enough for John to conclude that the beauty in this world is utterly meaningless. People like Lenina have been conditioned to value clothes, youth, and fitness, and because of the uniformity of this kind of beauty, it ceases to be unique and interesting. One could make the argument that there is no real beauty in this world.

Happiness. John argues that anyone who doesn't understand the concept of suffering can't truly understand or even appreciate happiness when it comes. Mustapha Mond admits that, yes, the happiness in this world is imperfect, fueled by drugs and falsehoods, but counters John's arguments by saying that, since the masses don't know any better, they think they're truly "happy." If they're satisfied, then why do the semantics matter? This is an important question that has been posed by philosophers and discussed in scholarly circles. John and Mustapha Mond debate the issue, but in the end this will do nothing to change the world order.

The Past. Mustapha Mond maintains the position that he first expressed in Chapter 3, when he related how their ancestors were able to systematically destroy the past through war and oppression. The past is old, he says, and they're supposed to abhor anything old. At the same time, the greatness of the past's art and beauty isn't in question. The State mostly takes issue with the social strife that often inspired and was inspired by that art and beauty. One could argue that the founders of the regime overreacted and used philosophically unsound rhetoric to destroy the past.

Science. Perhaps the most surprising part of Mustapha Mond's speech is the part about science, which has up until now been lauded as a great human achievement and a tool to maintain social order. Here, that greatness is definitively undermined by the revelation that the State doesn't allow there to be any real scientific progress. Mustapha Mond discovered this the hard way and was stymied in his research by World Controllers who refused to pursue interesting avenues of physics. Science, the great stabilizing force in this world, is also a catalyst for change, and the State must prevent this at all costs.

Stability. Mustapha Mond and the other World Controllers value stability above all else. Since this is not a natural state for humanity, they've engineered a world where war doesn't exist. This might appear altruistic at first, but more likely it was an attempt on the part of the founders to consolidate their own power, maintaining a tiered social order while eliminating the threat of an uprising from the lower classes. This is an incredibly self-serving goal that shouldn't be valorized in any way.

Brave New World Chapter 17 Summary and Analysis

Chapter 17 Summary

Once Bernard and Helmholtz are taken away, John and Mustapha Mond are free to continue their debate, this time speaking on the theme of God. John, who has only read Shakespeare, has a very limited understanding of Christian theology, but Mustapha Mond, who has access to a library of books that the State calls "pornographic," has read a great deal about various religions and come to the conclusion that it's possible to be independent of God. Men have changed, he says, and the endless youth and prosperity they've constructed for themselves allows them not to think of or to even be aware of the existence of God. Consequently, God manifests as an absence, in which the general public is free to do whatever it wants.

John protests to this idea, citing passages from King Lear that would seem to suggest that God is manipulating all things, but this outdated allusion has little to no relevance in this new world. As Mustapha Mond says, the philosophers of the past failed to account for them, the State and all its citizens. None of the great thinkers of the past considered the possibility of this particular future, which makes it easy for people like Mustapha Mond to dismiss their theories. As a result, he has no real need of nobility, heroism, or any of the things John values. These all lead to suffering and discomfort, which the State wants to avoid at all costs. John insists that this is what he wants for himself, however, and Mustapha Mond, unable to change this, sends John somewhere where he can torture himself all he wants.

Chapter 17 Analysis


The Bible. Mustapha Mond shows John a copy of this book, which John has never read, but doesn't quote it or delve too deeply into its theology. Instead, he speaks generally of God and religion, using the other books in his library to prove his points.

Hamlet by William Shakespeare. When Mustapha Mond shows John his library full of important theology and philosophy books, John alludes to but doesn't quote the following lines:

"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,

Than are dreamt of in your philosophy." (I.v.166-167)

He thinks philosophers have a limited view of the world, a position that Mustapha Mond happens to espouse, though for different reasons.

The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis. A Christian devotional, perhaps the second most popular one after the Bible. Originally written in Latin, it has since been translated into many languages. It's hard to imagine that this or any of the books in Mustapha Mond's library actually survived the centuries since they were published, but the reader is asked to suspend their disbelief so Huxley can make his arguments.

King Lear by William Shakespeare. When trying to prove the existence of God to Mustapha Mond, John quotes these lines:

"The gods are just, and of our pleasant vices

Make instruments to plague us:

The dark and vicious place where thee he got

Cost him his eyes." (V.iii.203-206)


"Thou hast spoken right, 'tis true;

The wheel is come full circle: I am here." (V.iii.207-208)

The former is delivered by Edgar and the latter by Edmund, Edgar's illegitimate brother. Both of these passages indicate that God is still very much in power and that He is observing, punishing, and manipulating people, just as He always has. Nevertheless, Mustapha Mond is unconvinced of God's continued relevance, and John effectively loses the argument, though he would appear to get what he wants: the freedom to suffer.

François-Pierre-Gonthier Maine de Biran (1766 - 1824). A French philosopher who has more or less slipped into obscurity.

John Henry "Cardinal" Newman (1801 - 1890). A 19th century cardinal and theologian who was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010. He's a candidate for sainthood, but won't be canonized unless the Catholic Church can prove that he has performed two miracles after his death. Mustapha Mond quotes a passage from one of his works that includes the lines, "We are not our own masters. We are God's property." Mustapha Mond, of course, doesn't agree and asserts that human beings are now independent of God.

Othello by William Shakespeare. When John defends the idea of suffering, he quotes the lines:

"If after every tempest come such calms,

May the winds blow till they have wakened death…" (II.i.170-171)

These lines express Othello's desire that there be regular intervals of turmoil so that there can also be regular intervals of happiness and peace. This is what John desires, and Mustapha Mond will, if not give this kind of existence to him, then allow him to cry and create it for himself.

Troilus and Cressida by William Shakespeare. When John tries to argue that value isn't relative, he quotes the lines:

"It holds his estimate and dignity

As well wherein 'tis precious of itself

As in the prizer." (II.ii)

Mustapha Mond balks, thinking this too absolute an idea, and then explains that there's no reason to value goodness or virtue or to assume that so-called "vices" are evils rather than mere tools to achieve happiness. John, for all his talk of freedom and happiness, still sees the world largely in black and white, espousing an austere sense of morality that even people in today's world would find overly restrictive. Mustapha Mond finds it ludicrous and won't allow it to disrupt the social order.

The Varieties of Religious Experience by William James. Composed of the author's Gilford Lectures on natural theology, the book consists of his theories on religion and science, the latter of which had been overlooked in academia at the time. James believed that direct religious experience was as essential part of the human condition and argued that "religious happiness is happiness." Mond, however, believes that happiness is happiness and that humanity has no real need of religion.


Religion. This theme has been explored in previous chapters via the Solidarity Services and the figure of the Arch-Community Songster, who is here likened to Cardinal Newman. When one considers these religious experiences in tandem with the philosophy that Mustapha Mond elucidates, it becomes abundantly clear that this brave new world has borrowed selectively from theological texts and in so doing reduced religion to a collective experience not unlike that of a cult. In their world, there is no angry God judging the sinners and heathens. There is no sin and, consequently, no reason to punish people. There is only power, and "religion" is just a tool that the State uses to consolidate its power.

Suffering. In part because he has spent his adolescence reading Shakespeare and in part because he grew up in difficult circumstances, John glorifies suffering, thinking of it as the highest virtue, which he's desperately attempting to achieve. Naively, he believes that he can escape this "brave new world" and purify himself of the base pleasures and vices he's enjoyed or witnessed there. Unfortunately, he won't be able to, and we'll see what comes of that effort in the final chapter.

Brave New World Chapter 18 Summary and Analysis

Chapter 18 Summary

Before John and the others are exiled, they're held for a period of a couple days in a small office or apartment, where they await transportation. John makes himself sick by drinking warm water and mustard (a purification trick he learned in Malpais). He asks Mustapha Mond to send him to the Falklands with Helmholtz, but instead John is sent to live in an abandoned lighthouse deep in the English countryside. There, he begins his ritual of purification, self-flagellation, and austerity in the hopes of cleansing himself of the evils of civilization.

Unfortunately, three men happen to drive by and see him whipping himself. They alert the press, who fly to the lighthouse in helicopters to interview John, whom they remember as "the Savage." He's irritated by this and kicks one of them on the backside. He threatens many of the reporters, but they continue to come, as do tourists wanting to gawk at him. One man by the odd name of Darwin Bonaparte hides inside a fake tree for three days just to film John performing his rituals. Bonaparte is, it turns out, an executive at the Feely Corporation and thinks John's story will make for a fabulous movie: The Savage of Surrey.

In the wake of the film's release, tourists flock to John's lighthouse, curious about the real Savage and encouraging him to whip himself for their amusement. Lenina, accompanied by Henry, visits in the middle of one of these episodes, and the sight of her incites John into a rage. He whips her, and she falls to the ground, injured and bloodied. It's unclear if she dies in the resultant stampede and orgy, but it would appear that she's killed at the end of the novel and that the soma that John somehow ingested, in combination with his passion and fury, led him to partake of whatever sins and pleasures the spectators offered. Horrified, John hangs himself the next morning, and the last scene is of some visitors finding his dead body.

Chapter 18 Analysis


Napoleon Bonaparte (1769 - 1821). Presumably, the character Darwin Bonaparte is named after both Charles Darwin and Napoleon Bonaparte, as opposed to one of Napoleon's relatives. Napoleon himself was a French conqueror and is generally considered one of the best generals to have ever lived. His campaign to conquer all of Europe brought him fame and fortune, but was finally halted at the Battle of Waterloo in June of 1815. Following his defeat, Bonaparte was exiled to the island of Elba, not unlike the exiles in this novel.

Charles Darwin (1809 - 1882). The English naturalist famed for his contributions to the study of evolution. Though Darwin was not the first scientist to pose the theory of evolution, he's perhaps the most famous for it, in large part because of his study of the finch population on the Galápagos Islands, where he was able to prove without a shadow of a doubt that evolution is real. This would lead later scientists to major discoveries about human evolution and our relation to apes. The character Darwin Bonaparte is named in honor of both Darwin and Napoleon Bonaparte.


Huxley uses a simile when he calls the reporters "turkey buzzards."


The Crucifix. Huxley repeats the image of the crucifix first introduced in Chapter 7, during the ceremony that Lenina and Bernard witness in Malpais. There, it was a symbol of sacrifice and repentance, and John uses it here as a tool to enhance his suffering, which he feels necessary so that he might be purified of the sins of civilization.

The Eagle. This chapter adds a curious detail: that the eagle is John's guardian animal. This symbolizes his desire to remain connected with nature and the spiritual world, which is evidenced by his desire to live in such austere conditions.

The Lighthouse. It's important to note that this lighthouse has been abandoned for a long time. Instead of being a symbol of protection, guidance, and peace for travelers and lost souls, it is a place where people like John who seek protection find only misery and distress. John no doubt decides to live inside the lighthouse itself instead of making camp outside so that he might draw on the symbolism of the lighthouse and feel guided in his path to purification. This endeavor fails, which was to be expected, given the decrepit nature of the lighthouse itself.


Death. According to many scholars, there are two deaths in this final chapter: John's and Lenina's (or, at the very least, a woman who looks very much like Lenina and happens to be dating Henry; given that Betas like Lenina are often clones, this is possible, though unlikely, given the woman's initial reaction to the sight of John). Lenina's death further links her with Desdemona, Othello's wife in his namesake play, whom Othello kills for no real reason. John's death is a tragedy in the sense of it being unnecessary and brought on by the damaging effects of fame, which drove him into even deeper despair and self-loathing. His death will change nothing about this society, but does serve as a chilling reminder to Huxley's readers of the negative effects of fame and drug use.

Nature. Of all the characters in the novel, John and the Native Americans are the only ones who have any sort of relationship with or affinity for nature, which civilization abhors, having been conditioned to hate the country and flowers. John's love of nature is in many ways a love of individualism, as well as a desire for isolation. He sees nature as a vast, unblemished landscape incapable of sin or evil or lust, and he longs to be a part of it, because he wants to purify himself. However, nature's essential indifference to humanity makes it impossible for John to truly be a part of the land that he loves, and in the end his geographic isolation doesn't keep civilization at bay. It's also possible that Mustapha Mond sent John to the lighthouse deliberately, knowing that it isn't a remote enough location for him to escape.

Violence. In the end, after many chapters of escalating emotional and physical violence, John finally snaps, committing atrocious acts, including what might be a murder. Huxley glosses over all the events of that night, but makes it clear that John's actions were so abhorrent to him that he felt the only way to truly repent was to take his own life. His suicide is itself an extreme form of self-negating violence that Huxley may be using to suggest that "advanced" societies run the risk of causing its citizens irreparable emotional and psychological harm in the name of "progress" or, in this case, "stability."