Essential Quotes by Character: John the Savage
Essential Passage 1: Chapter 7
The dress of the young man who now stepped out on to the terrace was Indian; but his plaited hair was straw-coloured, his eyes a pale blue, and his skin a white skin, bronzed.
“Hull. Good-morrow,” said the stranger, in faultless but peculiar English. “You’re civilized, aren’t you? You come from the Other Place, outside the Reservation?”
“Who on earth…?” Bernard began in astonishment.
The young man sighed and shook his head. “A most unhappy gentleman.” And pointing to the bloodstains in the centre of the square. “Do you see that damned spot?” he asked in a voice that trembled with emotion.
“A gramme is better than a damn,” said Lenina mechanically from behind her hands. “I wish I had my soma!”
“I ought to have been there,” the young man went on. “Why wouldn’t they let me be the sacrifice? I’d have gone round ten times—twelve, fifteen. Palowhtiwa only got as far as seven. They could have had twice as much blood from me. The multitudinous seas incarnadine.” He flung out his arms in a lavish gesture; then, despairingly, let them fall again. “But they wouldn’t let me. They disliked me for my complexion. It’s always been like that. Always.” Tears stood in the young man’s eys; he was ashamed and turned away.
Bernard and Lenina are vacationing on the Savage Reservation in New Mexico. Lenina is shocked by the pure naturalness of the people and their lives. Here, babies are born, not hatched. Women nurse their children. Old men and women exist after the age of sixty. Without the drug soma, Lenina is forced to experience this world as it is. Her senses are overwhelmed. At a ceremony, she sees a young boy, whipped with branches in a religious dance. There, she and Bernard meet John Savage. John is dressed as an Indian, but he has blond hair and blue eyes—clearly not a Native American. John is in fact the son of an Englishwoman, Linda, who came over twenty years ago with the Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning; there Linda gave birth to their son, John, because there was no birth control or abortion clinic on the Reservation. In the passage quoted above, John laments that he was not the one to be “sacrificed,” by dancing and submitting to the whipping in the ceremony. Stating that he was not chosen because of his appearance, John begins to weep in shame.
Essential Passage 2: Chapter 9
“I wonder if you’d like to come back to London with us?” he asked, making the first move in a campaign whose strategy he had been secretly elaborating ever since, in the little house, he had realized who the “father” of this young savage must be. “Would you like that?”
The young man’s face lit up. “Do you really mean it?"
“Of course; if I can get permission, that is.”
“Well...” He hesitated doubtfully. That revolting creature! No, it was impossible. Unless, unless...It suddenly occurred to Bernard that her very revoltingness might prove an enormous asset. “But of course!” he cried, making up for his first hesitations with an excess of noisy cordiality.
The young man drew a deep breath. “To think it should be coming true—what I’ve dreamt of all my life. Do you remember what Miranda says?”
But the young man had evidently not heard the question. “O wonder!” he was saying; and his eyes shone, his face was brightly flushed. “How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is!” The flush suddenly deepened; he was thinking of Lenina, of an angel in bottle-green viscose, lustrous with youth and skin food, plump, benevolently smiling. He voice faltered. “O brave new world,” he began, then suddenly interrupted himself; the blood had left his cheeks; he was as pale as paper. “Are you married to her?” he asked.
“Am I what?”
“Married. You know—for ever. They say ‘for ever’ in the Indian words; it can’t be broken.”
“Ford, no!” Bernard couldn’t help laughing.
(The entire section is 1,950 words.)