Do residents of the Brave New World fear death? Provide reasons behind your answer.

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Regarding death, the residents of the New World have been conditioned to react in a set way that does not include any emotion. For theirs is "a real scientific education."  When, for instance, Henry Foster and Lenina are on their date in Chapter 5, they fly in his helicopter over the Internal and External Secretions factory that glows fiercely with electric brilliance.  Lenina asks Henry about the smoke-stacks, and Henry explains that they are used in phosphorous recovery in a speech that seems a parody of William Cullen Bryant's Thanatopsis,

Henry spoke with a happy pride, rejoicing wholeheartedly in the achievement, as though it had been his own. "Fine to think we can go on being socially useful even after we're dead.  Making plants grow.....All men are physico-chemically equal" said Henry sententiously.

Then, in Chapter 14 when Linda dies, her son John the Savage falls on his knees beside the bed, covers his face, and cries.  Huxley writes,

The nurse stood irresolute, looking now at the kneeling figure by the bed (the scandalous exhibition!) and now (poor children!) at the twins who had stopped their hunting of the zipper and were staring from the other end of the ward, staring with all their eyes and nostrils at the shocking scene that was being enacted round Bed 20.  Should she speak to him?  try to bring him back to a sense of decency? ...of what fatal mischief he might do to these poor innocents?  Undoing all their wholesome death-conditioning with this digusting outcry--as though death were soemthing terrible, as though any one mattered as much as all that!  It might give them the most disastrous ideas about the subject, might upset them into reacting in the entirely wrong, the utterly anti-social way.

The Delta twins who crowd around Linda's bed are merely curious and unaware of the emotion of the moment for John.  There is no fear of death; there is no feeling about someone dying whatsoever as they have been conditioned to think it is only a process for recovering phosphorous.

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Brave New World

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