Specifically, what are the flaws in Lenina's behavior and thinking in Brave New World, with regard to her decisions about her social life and her motives for consorting with Bernard Max, and traveling to the savage reservation?
1 Answer | Add Yours
As a product of the Bokanovsky Process, Lenina Crowe is predestined and conditioned through sleep-teaching, or hypnopaedia, as a Beta Plus so that she will like her social destiny. However, there are moments when Lenina is somewhat disturbed by circumstances and others in which she finds herself confused. When she goes out with Bernard Marx, for instance, Lenina's friend Fanny is shocked that Lenina considers dating him as she knows Bernard to be shorter than he should be as an Alpha, and she has heard that he likes to do things out of the norm, such as spending time alone. But, Lenina says she finds him "rather sweet" being smaller, and she would like to pet him. "You know. Like a cat." When she is with Bernard, he does express his enjoyment in solitude, as well as his appreciation of nature. When he and Lenina are in the helicopter, for example, Bernard draws a deep breath, looks up at the sky and the "blue horizon" and glancing at Lenina's face, he asks, "Isn't it beautiful!" and his voice trembles a little. All she can respond is that the weather is perfect for Obstacle Golf, for she cannot appreciate anything that is abstract.
Since Lenina is a "freemartin" she is capable of reproduction; however, she is conditioned to use contraception in the open society in which she lives. Therefore, she wears a Malthusian belt, named after Thomas Malthus, who wrote in 1798 that populations would grow faster than the means of subsistence unless controlled. And, since "everyone belongs to everyone else," sexual activity is frequent and inconsequential. Nevertheless, Lenina does not like to date everyone and stays with one man longer than is considered normal; Fanny scolds her for being with Henry Foster too long or Bernard and urges her to do what is "normal."
So, while Lenina recites the phrases with which she has been conditioned as a child, such as "Everyone belongs to everyone else," "Everybody's happy nowadays," "I take a gramme and only am," "progress is lovely," and "I'm glad I'm not a Gamma." Nevertheless, when Bernard talks to her about "incomprehensible and dangerous nonsense," Lenina sometimes notices that the words "seemed to touch a spring in her mind." In other words, there is something in her that has not been totally removed through the conditioning of the New World--perhaps an intellectual curiosity. This is why she finds herself interested in Bernard, who is different, and intrigued with John the Savage, who is also attracted to her because of her physical beauty as he is reminded of verses from Romeo and Juliet: Dare to "profane with his unworthiest hand" that..."How beautiful she was!" John's natural masculinity probably communicates with Lenina's true femininity since she is a freemartin with female hormones. This natural sex drive cannot be overcome by conditioning, and Lenina is smitten with John, although she does not know how to act appropriately toward him in the Old World manner.
We’ve answered 318,988 questions. We can answer yours, too.Ask a question