What is the primary motif in Brave New World?

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There are a number of motifs in Brave New World, the most primary of which is isolation or alienation. Bernard and Hemholtz are two characters whose very friendship revolves around alienation. In the World State, it bands these two characters together even as they resent each other privately. They...

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There are a number of motifs in Brave New World, the most primary of which is isolation or alienation. Bernard and Hemholtz are two characters whose very friendship revolves around alienation. In the World State, it bands these two characters together even as they resent each other privately. They are bonded and eventually meet with the same fate due not to unwillingness to conform, but fundamental incapability to do so.

Another motif that is almost just as prevalent is that of sex. The World State controls almost every aspect of the accepted popular attitude toward intimacy. Since it is in the World State's best interest to control the reproductive acts of humans, promiscuity is highly encouraged, while genuine intimacy is looked down upon. This crushes John, who wants to fall in love with a woman in a society that looks down on love as a concept. He feels that he is not only being rejected by Lenina, but by the new world as well.

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Much as an interior designer may use a motif to define a room, or building, a literary motif helps define the major themes of a piece of writing.

The most prominent motif in Brave New World is that of alienation, or separation.  It can be found in several themes used throughout the story.

Alienation from the body begins with the perpetuation of the species. There is the surgical removal of ovaries to support reproduction through technology. Promiscuity is rewarded in order to remove the element of family bonding.

Spiritual separation is achieved by separating a person’s desire to claim a spirit. This is evident in the many references to Henry Ford, the early twentieth-century industrialist and founder of the Ford Motor Company.  The new Lord is Ford, founder of technology.

To remove the desire to seek one’s own path in life, there is the conditioning of infants, via electrical shock.  This alienates one from the inclination to “be” anything that this technological society deems undesirable.

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