In Huxley's Brave New World, how does the character of Lenina show that happiness and truth are incompatible?

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tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Lenina is an interesting character because she isn't satisfied with life, but she doesn't know exactly why. She wants to discover the deeper meaning of love because she thinks that might be the answer. On the other hand, she does not want to act outside of her class, nor does she psychologically want to. Due to the fact that Lenina was conditioned genetically and psychologically to feel and act a certain way in order to exist happily, she still feels a void in her life. What she doesn't understand is that along with deeper understanding of anything good also comes understanding the bad that goes with it. The complete opposite of Lenina, for example, is Linda, John, and the life of the reservation. When she comes in direct contact with that reality, she can't handle it. Consequently, she escapes on "holiday" for 18 hours to deal with the shock.

"Lenina felt herself entitled, after this day of queerness and horror, to a complete and absolute holiday. As soon as they got back to the rest-house, she swallowed six half-gramme tablets of soma, lay down on her bed, and within ten minutes had embarked for lunar eternity"(166).

Since Lenina is a product of a controlling society that seeks only to be surrounded by happiness, she is unable to understand the base truth of John's society at the reservation, which is truly the natural state of humans if left to savagery and anarchy.

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Brave New World

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