Why does the Director choose the Fertilizing Room to meet Bernard, and why are people more curious about John than Linda?    Chapter 10 of The Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

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mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In Chapter 10 of Brave New World, a reading of this chapter reveals other reasons for the Director's choosing the Fertilizing Room are that he may wish to remind Bernard's of his birth "accidents" which have caused him to be somewhat of an aberration from the other Alphas, who also will witness this confrontation between the Director and Bernard, thus effecting even more humiliation for Bernard.  He tells Henry Foster that he is going to make Bernard

'A public example...In this room, because it contains more high-caste workers than an other in the Centre.  I have told him [Bernard] to me me here at half-past two.'

When Bernard arrives, the D.H.C. announces before everyone there his intention to transfer Bernard to a "Sub-Centre of the lowest order," explaining that Bernard has "grossly betrayed the trust imposed in him" and that Bernard's unorthodox attitudes and behavior threaten Society as he tells an inquiring Henry Foster,

'The greater a man's talents, the greater his power to lead astray.  It is better than one should suffer than that many should be corrupted.  Consider the matter dispassionately, Mr. Foster, and you will see that no offence is so heinous as unorthodoxy of behaviour....'

Of course, the main motivation of the D.H.C.'s is his concern about Bernard's revealing his past.  But, of course, his efforts are too late. For Linda appears, running to the Director, who repels her.  Desperately, she clings to him, calling him "Tomakin," saying, "You made me have a baby."  With these words there is "an appalling hush."  Then, when John appears, he hurries to the Director, falling on his knees before him, exclaiming, "My father!"

The word (for "father" was not so much obscene as--with its connotation of something at one remove from the moral obliquity of child-bearing--merely gross, a scatological rather than a pornographic impropriety); the comically smutty word relieved what had become a quite intolerable tension.  Laughter broke out, enormous, almost hysterical,...as though it would never stop.

Because of their conditioning, to the people of the New World, John is something ridiculous, something like a bathroom joke.  The people of the New World would certainly be curious about this man born in the obscene process of human intercourse since they have never before encountered such a creature.  Thus, they would prefer seeing John instead of Linda, who has aged and grown fat with a "blotched and sagging face" that the Alphas would find grotesque and repulsive, rather than obscenely interesting and curious.

[please note that what John believes in has not yet been revealed in this chapter.]

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that the Director chooses the Fertilizing Room because he wants to make a symbolic point.  You can say that the artificial conception that goes on in there is the basis of their society.  He wants to confront Bernard and accuse him of undermining their society so he wants to do it in a symbolically important place -- in a place that is the foundation of their society.

I think people don't want to see Linda for a couple reasons:

  • She's fat and disgusting and no one in their society gets like that.
  • She is less exotic than John.  John has a father and mother and believes in things that are totally against the values of the civilization.  So he is more interesting.

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