In the book Brave New World, the conversation between Mond and John discusses the issues implied in the rest of the novel. Explain.

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mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 16 of Brave New World, Mustapha Mond discusses his role in maintaining stability in the Utopia.  His role is mainly that of a grand censor.  He censors all high art, namely literature, because it causes emotional imbalances in society.

For example, Hemholtz tells Mond that he wants to write something like Othello, but Mond says he doesn't have an emotional market for tragedy.  He means that since the goal of tragedy is to purge pity and fear, a tragedy like Othello will never elicit those emotions because the audience is conditioned not to feel.  The lower castes are emotionally immature (they don't feel pity or fear).  Only a small fraction of the society, the Alphas, would feel pity and fear.

Mond uses the analogy of an iceberg.  He says to maintain stability, he must keep 90% of society (the Betas, Gammas, Deltas, Epsilons) below the waterline.  They are engineered to feel nothing moral or intellectual.  He does this, he says, to maintain stability, but he is really maintaining control.  So, the main theme of this chapter and the novel itself is how "a few can control the many."

Among the ways this is done is outlined in this chapter: censorship of high arts and sciences that deal in the ethical and logical; and permit the low arts and sciences that deal in the emotional.

This is done through:

  • Social Darwinism: the caste system
  • Sex: soma, orgy-porgy
  • Pavlovian conditioning
  • Entertainment: Centrifugal Bumble-puppy, orgy-porgy, feelies
  • Birth Control: Malthusian belts
Read the study guide:
Brave New World

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