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Chapter 9 Summary and Analysis

Chapter 9 Summary

In the aftermath of their first day on the Reservation, Lenina and Bernard get some much needed rest. Lenina goes on a soma holiday, and Bernard makes the arrangements for John's return to the civilized world. While Lenina is sleeping, John sneaks into her adjoining room and paws through the contents of her suitcase. Hearing a noise, he freezes, afraid that he'll be caught. Afterward, he creeps to Lenina's room to watch her sleep and admire her beauty. He quotes from Shakespeare's plays Romeo and Juliet and Troilus and Cressida to express his love for Lenina. John then hurries outside to meet Bernard, who has just returned from making the arrangements.

Chapter 9 Analysis

Allusions

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. John quotes a passage from Shakespeare's great tragedy about two star-crossed lovers who meet a tragic end. This passage reads as follows:

"On the white wonder of dear Juliet's hand, may seize

And steal immortal blessing from her lips,

Who, even in pure and vestal modesty,

Still blush, as thinking their own kisses sin." (III.iii.36-39)

Note that this passage is as much about beauty as modesty and that Juliet is being praised for her chastity. This indicates that John has misunderstood Lenina and failed to realize that she has been conditioned to practice an extreme form of sexual freedom. Unsurprisingly, this will upset him in later chapters of the novel.

Troilus and Cressida by William Shakespeare. John quotes a passage from Shakespeare's tragic play about the titular lovers, a Trojan prince and a woman whose father is a seer. During the Trojan War, Cressida is sent to the Greeks and begins flirting with the Greek warrior Diomedes. Troilus sneaks into the Greek camps to see her, only to find that she has betrayed their love. In the end, their relationship is destroyed, and the play ends on a bleak note.

John quotes a passage from Act I, before everything went wrong. It reads:

"Her eyes, her hair, her cheek, her gait, her voice;

Handlest in thy discourse O! that her hand,

In whose comparison all whites are ink

Writing their own reproach; to whose soft seizure

The cygnet's down is harsh …" (I.i.84-88)

It's worth noting that John has quoted from two plays that feature...

(The entire section is 575 words.)