Essential Passages by Character: John the Savage
Essential Passage 1: Chapter 7
The dress of the young man who now stepped out on to the terrace was Indian; but his plaited hair was straw-coloured, his eyes a pale blue, and his skin a white skin, bronzed.
“Hull. Good-morrow,” said the stranger, in faultless but peculiar English. “You’re civilized, aren’t you? You come from the Other Place, outside the Reservation?”
“Who on earth…?” Bernard began in astonishment.
The young man sighed and shook his head. “A most unhappy gentleman.” And pointing to the bloodstains in the centre of the square. “Do you see that damned spot?” he asked in a voice that trembled with emotion.
“A gramme is better than a damn,” said Lenina mechanically from behind her hands. “I wish I had my soma!”
“I ought to have been there,” the young man went on. “Why wouldn’t they let me be the sacrifice? I’d have gone round ten times—twelve, fifteen. Palowhtiwa only got as far as seven. They could have had twice as much blood from me. The multitudinous seas incarnadine.” He flung out his arms in a lavish gesture; then, despairingly, let them fall again. “But they wouldn’t let me. They disliked me for my complexion. It’s always been like that. Always.” Tears stood in the young man’s eys; he was ashamed and turned away.
Bernard and Lenina are vacationing on the Savage Reservation in New Mexico. Lenina is shocked by the pure naturalness of the people and their lives. Here, babies are born, not hatched. Women nurse their children. Old men and women exist after the age of sixty. Without the drug soma, Lenina is forced to experience this world as it is. Her senses are overwhelmed. At a ceremony, she sees a young boy, whipped with branches in a religious dance. There, she and Bernard meet John Savage. John is dressed as an Indian, but he has blond hair and blue eyes—clearly not a Native American. John is in fact the son of an Englishwoman, Linda, who came over twenty years ago with the Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning; there Linda gave birth to their son, John, because there was no birth control or abortion clinic on the Reservation. In the passage quoted above, John laments...
(The entire section is 1950 words.)
Essential Passages by Theme: Technology as Control
Essential Passage 1: Chapter 1
“...Bokanovsky’s Process is one of the major instruments of social stability!”
Major instruments of social stability.
Standard men and women; in uniform batches. The whole of a small factory staffed with the products of a single bokanovskified egg.
“Ninety-six identical twins working ninety-six identical machines!” The voice was almost tremulous with enthusiasm. “You really know where you are. For the first time in history.” He quoted the planetary motto. “Community, Identity, Stability.” Grand words. “If we could bokanovskify indefinitely the whole problem would be solved.”
Solved by standard Gammas, unvarying Deltas, uniform Epsilons. Millions of identical twins. The principle of mass production at last applied to biology.
The Directory of Hatcheries and Conditioning is leading a group of school boys through the hatcheries, explaining to them the wonders of modern technology, where humans are grown. By using the same egg and the process of “budding” (similar to cloning, but using a single egg and sperm to create dozens of individuals), technology can fully develop adequate workers for their respective places in society with little future training. With each person born to know his or her place, there is thus a strong measure of social stability. There is a sense of community, of belonging to a society that is highly controlled and measured, with the individual having the security of knowing his or her place in it. A sense of identity, though much simplified, leads to contentedness with what one is. This all leads to stability in the world at large. No need for greed, no need for rebellion. All the pieces of the puzzle for a perfect society are in place. As the Director later says, “That is the secret of happiness and virtue—liking what you’ve got to do.”
Essential Passage 2: Chapter 2
Roses and electric shocks, the khaki of Deltas and a whiff of asafetida—wedded indissolubly before the child can speak. But wordless conditioning is crude and wholesale; cannot bring home the finer...
(The entire section is 1505 words.)