What are the strengths and weaknesses of John in "Brave New World"?

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mstultz72 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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In Brave New World, John is a Byronic Hero, a kind of tragic hero who is controlled by passion unto destruction.  He is a voracious reader and lover of Shakespearean and romantic ideals.  He behaves in extremes, passionately loving and hating, with little to not room for moderation or concession.  He loves nature and hates technology.  He loves Lenina and hates his mother.  He loves and hates the Utopia, and his inability to accept this paradox leads to his suicide.

Aspects of the Byronic Hero that pertain to John are as follow:

•notorious, condemned, defiant, brooding, melancholic, voracious

•unusually handsome, or inextricably attractive, often to both sexes

•unusually handsome, or inextricably attractive, often to both sexes

•wounded or physically, disabled in some way

•moody, mysterious, and/or gloomy

•passionate (both in terms of sexuality and deep emotions generally)

•remorse laden (for some unnamed sin, a hidden curse, or crime)

•unrepentant (despite remorse)

•persecuted by fate

•self-reliant (often rejecting people on both physical and emotional levels)

•is an admirable rebel (against convention, society, religious doctrine)

•has a distaste for society and social institutions

•is isolated (both physically and emotionally) from society (a wanderer, an exile)

•is not impressed by rank and privilege (though he may possess it)

•is larger-than-life in his ability--and his pride

•suffers gloriously from titanic passions

•tends to be self-destructive (suicidal)

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

To me, the major strength of John the Savage is that he has great integrity.  John knows what he thinks is right and he is willing to fight for it.  He shows this, for example, when he tries to disrupt the soma distribution.  He also shows it when he will not have sex with Lenina.

However, John's weakness is related to this.  He has great integrity, but he is unbending.  He cannot manage to compromise with the new society in which he finds himself.  This leads him to kill himself because he cannot cope with the ways of the "brave new world."

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