In "Brave New World" in what way does John change at the end of the novel and why?

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ms-mcgregor's profile pic

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

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When Bernard and Linda first meet John, he has a very romantic view of the world of "Our Ford" because of the stories his mother, Linda, has told him. His values are very old fashioned because he has grown up on the Indian Reservation and has read "The Complete Works of Shakespeare" over and over because it was the only book available. However, after he experiences the "Brave New World" he cannot understand its values. At first, he is confused about why people think having and raising children is horrifying, why his father is so embarrassed about him, and why no one is sad when someone dies. John loves his mother and is grief stricken by her death. After he talks with Mustafa Mond, he understands that his values and the values of the "Brave New World" are completely different. He also realizes that the people who live in "Our Ford" will not change. He will have to change and participate more things like the Orgie-Porgie, if he is ever going to fit in. He realizes his initial image of "Our Ford" was completely wrong and there is no place for him in this world. Unable and unwilling to give up his values, he kills himself rather than change.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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John cannot accept contentment over happiness.  In order to have happiness, there must be tragedies, and the Controller tells the Savage that the Brave New World is not the same as Othello's word; there is "stability" in this world.  The Controller tells John that he must choose between "happiness and what people used to call high art." He goes on to tell John also that

God isn't compatible with machinery and scientific medicine and universal happiness.  You must make your choice.

John makes his choice.  Disillusioned with what he has thought that the Brave New World would be, he chooses to be alone away from everything that is the antithesis of what he believes.

I don't want comfort.  I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom....

Later, the Savage tell Bernard that he has eaten civilization, his own wickedness and it has poisoned him.  He seeks to purge himself and live alone in communion with Nature, for he belongs to no society.  But John has become a source of amusement and people fly in to watch his self-flaggellation.  When a young woman whom the Savage recognizes and calls, "Strumpet" while slashing at her with the ropes. When the crowd goes from the desire for violence to "orgy-porgy," John is caught up; he wakes later from soma and acts of sensualitiy:"Oh, my God!" he exclaims.

Realizing that he has already been made a sacrificial victim of the New World, John commits suicide.  Unable to have an authentic existence, the Savage chooses the only avenue he can.

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