Brave New World Questions and Answers
by Aldous Huxley

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Who Is John Why Is He Attracted To Lenina

Describe John and Lenina’s relationship. How does that relationship compare to his relationship with his mother?

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John feels emotions deeply, as he has been influenced to do so both by his "savage" culture and his immersion in Shakespeare. He loves both his mother and Lenina in a conflicted, suffering way. Lenina he idealizes and turns into an object of desire, but given the sexual mores he has grown up with, exemplied by the savage women beating his mother for being a whore, he is repulsed by Lenina's overt sexual advances. To him, these advances, such an unzippering her suit, seem impure. Their encounters are comic in their display of cultural misunderstanding and yet undergirded with the pathos of John's suffering.

John loves his mother and the relationship is more complex because he knows her so well. They actually have a relationship based on reality, not illusion, at least on John's part. Linda has been an inadequate mother but has actually tried with him, and not done a bad job given her complete lack of any coping mechanisms or role models growing up. She has been taught motherhood is repulsive, but does bond with her son to some extent. However, once she returns to her civilization, she retreats into soma. John grieves his mother's death deeply.

In a way, Lenina is the perfect love object for him, because she is so like his mother, but he does not have the same depth of relationship with her as with Linda, even given the inadequacy of his relationship with Linda. He and Lenina simply cannot understand each other, and Lenina is incapable of meeting his emotional needs. With both women he experiences a depth of both suffering and joy they are incapable of, because they have been conditioned to live superficially while he has been conditioned to feel deeply.

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John was...

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