Chapter 5 Summary and Analysis
Chapter 5 Summary
Once they finish golfing, Henry and Lenina fly to Westminster Abbey, where they eat dinner and listen to Calvin Stopes and His Sixteen Sexophonists. On the way there, they fly over the Slough Crematorium, and Lenina expresses her distaste at the fact that Alphas and Epsilons alike are all cremated there and reduced to their phosphorus, as if there's no essential difference between the castes. After this unpleasant conversation, it's a relief for them to listen to some synthetic music. The song, of course, is about soma, the drug they use to deaden their senses and go on "holiday" from life. Having taken a dose, Henry and Lenina go back to his place, where Lenina puts in a contraceptive despite being on drugs. Such is the extent of her conditioning.
In Part 2, the focus switches back to Bernard, who attends his biweekly Solidarity Service at the Fordson Community Singery. He's characteristically late and has an uncomfortable conversation with a woman named Morgana Rothchild because of it. Once the service begins, everyone in the room partakes of soma-laced strawberry ice cream and begins to sing the First Solidarity Hymn. Several rounds of ice cream later, they're all praising the Greater Being and dancing feverishly to a song that begins, "Orgy-porgy, Ford and Fun." It's a riff on the nursery rhyme "Georgie Porgie, Puddin' and Pie." It's also the inciting incident for an orgy.
Despite partaking in the Service, Bernard still feels separate from the rest of the members of the congregation and has to lie when they ask if he found the service as wonderful as they did. This ends Chapter 5.
Chapter 5 Analysis
The Voice. It should come as no surprise that the "wonderful, mysterious, supernatural Voice" is like that of God and that Huxley is using this parallel to suggest that this Solidarity Service is really part of an organized "religion" that could be likened to a cult. For more on this, see Themes: Religion.
Drugs. Though we've known for some time that the State has deliberately gotten the population addicted to the drug soma as a method of control, there hasn't been much actual use of it until now. Lenina and Henry take it after the show, and Bernard takes it several times during the Solidarity Service, though it appears to have little effect on him. In general, soma is used as a crutch to even out any unpleasant emotions and thus keeps the general public complacent. The State prefers it this way, because it keeps them in power.
Religion. Organized religion has been eradicated in this world, and there are no Christians or Atheists, but rather devotees to the "Greater Being," which is a nebulous entity with no apparent attributes or abilities. This Greater Being appears to have been created, like Ford, as an object of adoration or devotion. The orgiastic enthusiasm with which they praise the Greater Being is intended to purge the congregation of any lingering feelings of alienation or distress and bring them closer together during the service. Unfortunately, this doesn't work for Bernard, and he still feels isolated after it.