In Brave New World, how does giving John a deep knowledge of Shakespeare help Huxley situate and characterize him? What does John’s Shakespeare knowledge say about him?
Dystopian novels typically will present a character or an element of the story that represents "the past"—the world and the "values" of the world as they existed prior to the cataclysm or transformation that resulted in the dystopia.
In Orwell's 1984, the elderly man Winston talks to in the pub, and then later Mr. Charrington's shop, functions this way, though the latter turns out to be an illusion when Charrington's actual identity is revealed. In Ayn Rand's Anthem, it's the forbidden forest to which the couple escape in the end. In Brave New World, it's the "Savage Reservation," and specifically John "the Savage," that represents the pre-dystopian world as foils to the Society and its sterile modernity.
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