Chapter 3 Summary and Analysis
Following the visit to the Infant Nurseries, the Director takes his tour group to the garden, where a group of six or seven hundred children is frolicking, engaging in such activities as Centrifugal Bumble-puppy (a game Huxley invented) and erotic play. The Director explains that before their society was founded, erotic play among children was frowned upon and considered immoral. He insists that this is an essential part of their education and that it's important to normalize sex early so that children and adults won't demonize it. However, instead of allowing people to enjoy their sexual freedom naturally, this erotic play is mandated by the State, making this another example of how the government is trying to police people's bodies.
Here, the narrative in this chapter begins to fragment, alternating between the end of the tour (as the Director explains that all "history is bunk" and introduces the tour group to Mustapha Mond, Resident Controller for Western Europe) and the off-duty lives of two of his employees: Lenina Crowne, whom we met earlier, and Bernard Marx, who has a bad reputation, because he's said to be an introvert. Lenina asks her casual boyfriend, Henry, if he wants to go to the "feelies"—what their society calls the movies that have been augmented with smells and sensations—as Bernard sneers inwardly at Henry and their extroverted society. Meanwhile, Mustapha Mond explains to the tour group that the world before was chaos and that social constructs (motherhood, marriage, monogamy) caused social instability. Instead, everyone belongs to everyone else, as they say, and are supposedly happier for it.
Lenina then talks with her friend Fanny, a nineteen-year-old whose doctor has recommended that she start taking a Pregnancy Substitute, which regulates a woman's cycle and hormone levels so that she won't feel the biological need to have children. Lenina is as surprised by this as Fanny is to hear that Lenina has been dating (they use the word "having") Henry for four months, which is an unusually long time in this world. Lenina then wonders aloud if she should date Bernard, who is at the same time listening to a conversation about how other men would like to "have" Lenina. "At the first opportunity," they say. Bernard finds this disgusting.
Interspersed with these events is Mustapha Mond's speech about how the past was systematically destroyed in order to make way for the brave new world.
The Alhambra. One of the more famous architectural feats in Spain, the Alhambra is both a palace and a fortress, which was renovated in the mid-13th century and would later become the site of the Royal Court of Ferdinand and Isabella, the King and Queen of Spain, who were patrons of the famed explorer Christopher Columbus. Today, the Alhambra is a tourist attraction, but in in this brave new world it has become a kind of movie theater where they show the "feelies" to large audiences. Huxley's allusion to the Alhambra makes it clear that the past hasn't been entirely destroyed and that what is left of it has been repurposed.
Babylon. An ancient Mesopotamian city nestled between the Tigris and Euphrates in what's now Iraq. This was once a major city in both the Babylonian and Assyrian empires and was the site of one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Huxley alludes to this in his long list of things from the past that have turned to dust.
Cnossos. Also known as Knossos, this ancient city (generally considered to be Europe's oldest) is now the biggest Bronze Age archeological site and is said to have been the home of King Minos and the Minotaur, which was trapped in the Labyrinth. It's yet another piece of history that means little to nothing in this brave new world.
Gotama. It's unclear to what exactly Huxley is referring here. The word gotama derives from the Sanskrit words for "bright light" and "darkness" and generally refers to someone who can drive away the darkness with their goodness and...
(The entire section is 2,266 words.)