Brave New World Questions and Answers
by Aldous Huxley

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In Brave New World, how does Lenina reject John's love, and how does John suffer as a result of that?

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David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Love doesn't mean anything to Lenina, so John's forlorn attempts at showing love are not just incomprehensible to her; they're more than a little weird. For Lenina, relationships with men are characterized by instant sexual gratification and nothing more. Love doesn't enter into the equation at all. Besides, due to her conditioning, Lenina lacks the emotional maturity to engage in any kind of loving relationship, even if she did understand what love meant.

To some extent, John is trying to recreate the very special relationship he had with his mother. But that relationship was itself complex, and there's nothing remotely complex about Lenina, so John's efforts in that regard are doomed to failure. There's simply no way that Lenina could ever begin to fulfill his emotional needs, to fill the gap left by his mother. Torn between conflicting desires, John lashes out in frustration at Lenina, sending her packing with the Shakespearean insult of "impudent strumpet." This is the only way that John can possibly deal with his emotions, by seeking refuge among the old values, the very same values that destroyed his mother's life.

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Tina Crawford, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Firstly, Lenina rejects John's love because she doesn't understand it or where he is coming from. Two people from two different worlds are doomed to misunderstand each other's behavior with regards to love. John wants to do something brave to show her his love and devotion; yet, when he explains that to her, she has absolutely not clue what he's talking about because to her "everyone belongs to everybody." But her reaction is to do what she does with any man she wants. His reaction, sadly, prompts him to revert back to the social norms he understands.  All of the words that the women of the town called his mother all of a sudden come out and are directed at Lenina! Then, he reverts back to the male role-model that was in his life, Pope, and starts acting abusively towards Lenina like Pope treated him and Linda. The confrontation and miscommunication between John and Lenina is found in chapter 13. For more information, see the link below for character analyses.

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