I want to know what is done with the dead in the book Brave New World.

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D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Dead bodies are cremated in the World State, which allows them be reused as phosphorus for plant fertilizer. As Bernard Marx explains to Lenina:

"More than a kilo and a half [of phosphorus] per adult corpse. ....” Henry spoke with a happy pride, rejoicing whole-heartedly 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.”

As he and Lenina, hovering in a helicopter, watch smoke rise from the crematorium smokestacks, they wonder if the body being burned is an Alpha or an Epsilon. Beyond that, they have little interest. Bernard sums up the common attitude on death:

there’s one thing we can be certain of; whoever he may have been, he was happy when he was alive. Everybody’s happy now.

People are conditioned from an early age not to fear death. Tours of wards where people are dying are made as cheerful as possible for groups of visiting children. As Dr. Gaffney explains:

Every tot spends two mornings a week in a Hospital for the Dying. All the best toys are kept there, and they get chocolate cream on death days. They learn to take dying as a matter of course.

Further, since there are no longer any family units and nobody develops a strong attachment to any one else, deaths are not mourned. Since nobody believes in an afterlife, there is no problem with reusing a dead body as simply another resource for the state.

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In "Brave New World," by Aldous Huxley, the dead are cremated.  We are told this at the beginning of Chapter 5.  Henry and Lenina are out flying in the night when she notices the smoke stacks of the Slough Crematorium.

She asks him why they have balcony-like structures around them.  He tells her that they are meant for recovering phosphorous from the dead bodies.  Each adult body has around 1.5 kg of phosphorous in it and the state would not want to waste the resource.

This is a way of showing how little value people have for the state in the book.

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