Chapter 10 Summary and Analysis

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This chapter marks a return to London and to civilization. When it opens, the Director is praising the Bloomsbury Centre’s efficiency and referring to it as a “hive.” He’s preparing to fire Bernard, telling Henry Foster, Lenina’s ex, that Bernard sets a bad example for people of his caste. Despite the fact that Bernard does his work very well, as Henry points out, the Director still means to fire him. He has asked Bernard to meet him in the Fertilizing Room so that he can make an example of him. If Bernard hadn’t just brought back the Director’s illegitimate son, this would have worked. Unfortunately for the Director, Linda makes a grotesque scene, asking if the Director remembers her, and John enters, repeating, “My father! My father!” This is so embarrassing that the Director has to leave.


Beehives. The Director uses a metaphor when he refers to the Bloomsbury Centre as a “hive,” which makes its employees busy worker “bees” who perform their assigned tasks mindlessly and instinctively. This ties back into the theme of identity, because if the workers are all bees, then they don’t have individual identities, but are, rather, viewed as a single, uniform mass.


Drama. In true Shakespearean fashion, John makes a dramatic entrance to the Fertilizing Room, saying, “My father!” like a prince addressing the king. His mannerisms here are affected, stolen from the dramas he’s read, and are therefore inappropriate for the time and setting. His audience is, in fact, so unaccustomed to displays like this that they burst out laughing. In response, the Director runs away, abandoning his son, much as he might in a real Shakespearean tragedy.

Identity. For more on this, see Metaphors: Beehives.

Paternity. Like motherhood, fatherhood has been eliminated, and there is no such thing as being a “parent” in London, as in the rest of “civilized” society. Though John is excited by the prospect of finally being reunited with his father, the Director is horrified by the situation and flees in disgrace. Like Linda and all his employees, the Director has been conditioned to abhor the idea of natural birth, and he is unprepared for what it would mean to be a father, horrified by the responsibility of it.

Shame. Both Linda and the Director are ashamed of the fact that they’re parents and both feel that they’re unable to show their face in public because of it. This is why Linda stays on the reservation and why the Director will resign from his post at the beginning of the next chapter. Unfortunately for him, the years of living in squalor have reduced Linda’s aversion to shame and freed her to jump at the prospect of returning to civilization.

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