Describe the development of the relationship between John and Lenina.i don't see any development, i hope you can help me. Thanks

Expert Answers
teachersage eNotes educator| Certified Educator

John and Lenina have painful and fractured encounters that end badly because of their very different cultural understandings of relationships between men and women. John, called the Savage, has grown up in a very traditional society where women are expected to be faithful to one male sexual partner, love him to the exclusion of other men, and behave in a very sexually modest and virginal manner. 

Lenina has grown up in a "brave new world" in which she has been strictly conditioned against growing too attached to any one person. The group is all-important, and sexual fidelity to one person would be considered highly deviant behavior. Women are fully expected to move from sex partner to sex partner and never to get more than superficially involved with one male. Orgies are a regular part of life in this culture. For a woman to approach a male with sexual overtures is completely normal.

Linda, John's mother, who was also raised in the brave new world, is considered a whore for having relationships with multiple men when she is lost on the Indian Reservation. John, having internalized an ethic of sexual fidelity both through Shakespeare and the Indian culture, similarly comes to consider Lenina a whore.

But first, he adores her. In a comic but pathetic scene, he kneels by her bed as she is in a soma-induced state and recites poetry about "vestal modesty" to her. He then feels it would an affront to her to touch her hand. Later, when she strips in front of him, he backs away, and she advances:

“Put your arms round me,” she commanded. “Hug me till you drug me, honey.” She too had poetry at her command, knew words that sang and were spells and beat drums. “Kiss me”; she closed her eyes, she let her voice sink to a sleepy murmur, “Kiss me till I’m in a coma. Hug me, honey, snuggly.”

To her intense surprise, John reacts angrily and calls her a strumpet, chasing her away.

Needless to say, this relationship is not going to develop. John wants to adore one modest, virginal woman, while Lenina has been conditioned all her life to flit from partner to partner and enjoy sex with as many men as possible.

tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Lenina and John first meet each other in chapter seven when she is on a date with Bernard. She and Bernard go to the reservation where John has grown up and she is first very disgusted at the strange environment around her. The people there are dirty and stinky to her; but, when she meets John, she finds the gumption to stare at him.

Lenina was smiling at him; such a nice-looking boy, she was thinking, and a really beautiful body. The blood rushed up to the young man's face; he dropped his eyes, raised them again for a moment only to find her still smiling at him, and was so much overcome that he had to turn away to pretend to be looking very hard at something on the other side of the square (137).

This first meeting can certainly be contrasted with their later meeting in chapter thirteen after they have tip-toed around their feelings for awhile. Lenina decides to throw herself at the naive John and makes the first move. Sadly, he doesn't respond like she would have liked. He is not used to a woman taking control of the situation like that; plus, he wanted to court her like he saw done in his home town and in the Shakespearean plays that he read. Two totally opposite worlds collide, he calls her some very bad names, and leaves her standing there alone (233). Hence, the relationship between Lenina and John goes from basic attraction and puppy-love to a profession of feelings, and ends with a horrible miscommunication.

Read the study guide:
Brave New World

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question