Why did John kill himself in Brave New World?

John kills himself in Brave New World because he has been overcome with shame after participating in an orgy. John had always believed that it was better to seek the truth than succumb to the temptations of an easy life. But in participating in the orgy, John has violated this most sacred of principles. Unable to live with himself over this act of self-betrayal, he takes his own life.

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John the Savage is a rare person indeed when it comes to the dystopian society depicted in Brave New World: he is someone who actually has principles and lives by them irrespective of the consequences.

The problem, however, is that John's firm moral principles are combined with a fearsome...

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John the Savage is a rare person indeed when it comes to the dystopian society depicted in Brave New World: he is someone who actually has principles and lives by them irrespective of the consequences.

The problem, however, is that John's firm moral principles are combined with a fearsome self-loathing that makes it impossible for him to effect any change in the World State. John is too singular, lacking in confidence, driven by violence and self-hatred to take on the kind of heroic role so desperately sought by Bernard.

John's self-loathing ultimately proves to be his undoing. He retreats to an old lighthouse, eager to get away from the corrupted citizens of the World State. However, word soon gets out that he is there and tourists flock to the lighthouse to gawk at him. One day, in an almost ritualistic fashion, he begins to whip himself as the crowd of onlookers watches. Soon, a mass orgy has breaks out. What's even more shocking is that John participates in this orgy. This is the man who had always set himself above the warped values of the World State, and yet even he has succumbed to temptation through participating in this orgy.

When the dust settles, John is overcome by guilt and shame. He knows all too well that he has betrayed himself and his most heartfelt principles. As a consequence, he's unable to live with himself and commits suicide by hanging himself in the lighthouse.

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John's values and outlook on life are thoroughly incompatible with the World State: he despises the World States and everything it stands for, a theme quite strongly expressed in the confrontation scene with the World Controller, Mustapha Mond. The World State is a society that seeks comfort and stability above all else, and it has sacrificed art, religion, genuine relationships, human connection (both familial and romantic), science, and philosophy, all of the pillars around which the human condition has been understood, in the advancement of that goal. John sees the World State and rejects it, craving those deeper and more fundamental human experiences, or, as Mustapha Mond himself puts it, "the right to be unhappy."

Mustapha Mond chillingly grants this desire, albeit in a manner John neither wanted nor expected. When John requests that he be sent to an island, Mond instead refuses, stating instead that he intends to subject John to further experiments, and is unwilling to allow him to escape the World State he so disdains. John attempts to flee, seeking to set himself up in solitude, adopting a spartan and ascetic lifestyle, but he is unsuccessful. Quite on the contrary, he is an object of fascination for the people of the World State, and must reckon with reporters and onlookers intruding upon him. By the end of the book, John falls into a frenzy and gets drawn into an orgy of debauchery and violence. After the crowds depart and he comes back to his senses, he is shown to be broken by the experience. Self-loathing and ashamed, he commits suicide, and his body is found as the novel ends.

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John is raised on the Savage Reservation by his mother Linda to believe that the World State is a Utopia that embodies all that is good. To him, it is, at first, the "brave new world" of the novel's title. However, when he finally gets there, he realizes it is a nightmare of dystopia.

He watches his mother, a woman the people of the World State find aged, bloated, and repulsive, sink into a continual drug-fueled haze. He finds he can't understand a society filled with robotic, drugged, brainwashed identical clones in the bottom castes, and shallow, brainwashed consumers in the upper castes. John, deeply steeped in the moral universe of Shakespeare and his hybrid Christian-Native American faith, sees a grotesque, dehumanized society all around him. People in the world-state appear to be emotionally one inch deep: they experience no strong bonds or attachments to other humans; they take soma the minute they are faced with any stress; they flit from shallow sexual relationship to shallow sexual relationship, never developing real love for another individual. Their entire culture is comprised of mindless sports and pornographic movies called feelies, while their religion consists of "communion" through ritual orgies.

John is horrified with the indifference with which Linda's death is treated, as well as with the realization that Lenina is incapable of loving or committing herself to him. As he explains in a long conversation with Mustapha Mond, he believes that the essence of being human is loving deeply, sacrificing, and experiencing the best that art, thought, and literature, such as Shakespeare, has to offer. Thus, John finds the citizens of the World State dehumanized parodies of real human beings.

Mond admits that his society has sacrificed honor, nobility, family, love, religion, and depth of thought and feeling but defends this choice as giving people the security and superficial happiness they crave. After his mother's death, John can no longer bear living in this world, especially as he is continuously gawked at as a celebrity freak. Ultimately, he choses death over life on these terms.

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