Brave New World
by Aldous Huxley
Brave New World Chapter 7 Summary
- Lenina and Bernard are left at Malpais. Lenina is being whiny— she doesn't like it here, and she doesn't like their Indian guide (mostly because he doesn't smell good).
- The guide leads them, amid the sound of beating drums, to the bottom of a three-hundred-foot precipice.
- Lenina doesn't like this, either, because it makes her feel small.
- Following behind the guide, she and Bernard proceed to climb upwards, finally emerging on a flat deck of stone at the top. Two little Indians come running along, naked and painted, which totally freaks out Lenina. They're also carrying snakes, which doesn't help her comfort level.
- When they get to the pueblo, the guide leaves to go in and ask for directions. She can't deal with the general dirtiness, since "cleanliness is next to fordliness."
- Bernard reminds her that these people haven't heard of Our Ford, and that they are used to living this way.
- The two of them observe an old man climbing down a ladder. Lenina is horrified: she's never seen such an old man before. Bernard explains that they (in the controlled world) have learned to keep people "young" until they're about sixty, at which point they die. So, they don't have such thing as old age.
- Lenina has had enough. She goes for her soma, only to realize she left it behind.
- But Bernard has no difficulty at all. In fact, he makes a point of commenting on all the savage goings-on, like breast-feeding and combing for lice. Basically, it's his way of proving that he's a big tough man.
- Lenina finds a substitute for drugs: pounding drums. She tries to lose herself in the music with a good ol' round of "orgy-porgy."
- Alas, this doesn't last for long—the drumming quickly turns into a ritualistic, ceremonial dance.
- The "savages" are dancing and screaming "as though they were being killed," which we think (not-coincidentally) reminds us of the earlier orgy-porgy scene from the other world.
- The leader of the dancers starts tossing the snakes about the room. Great.
- A crucifix is brought out along with a boy of eighteen, naked except for a white cloth (strategically placed, we expect). He makes the sign of the cross and begins to circle around a pile of snakes. As he walks, a man with a coyote mask whips him. He just keeps walking.
- Lenina can't take it—she's all tears and "Oh, no, stop!"
- Finally, the boy collapses. An old man touches a white feather to the boy's bloody body, which not surprisingly turns red. He shakes it over the pile of snakes, dropping the blood onto the writhing creatures.
- The dancers all pick up the snakes and run away, leaving behind the collapsed, bloody boy on the floor. Three women pick him up and carry him away, hopefully for some sort of medical treatment and not more lashings.
- Bernard and Lenina are left alone (Lenina: sob "it's so terrible!" sob) until a young man, white but wearing Indian dress, joins them. He asks them if they're civilized, that is, they come from outside the Reservation.
- Bernard is shocked; the savages don't generally know about the outside world.
- The young man points to the blood on the floor and says, "Do you see that damned spot?" (Shakespeare, anyone?)
- Lenina responds with a useless hypnopaedic rhyme. Thanks.
- The young man says he himself should have been the sacrifice (that is, the boy that got ritualistically whipped). He would have put up with more whipping. He would have been more of a man. But he says they never give him the chance to do fun stuff like that because he's white (not dark-skinned like the other Indians).
- Meanwhile, the young man hasn't yet looked at Lenina. When he does, little animated hearts go flying through the air. (You know, essentially.)
- He averts his eyes again from the beauty that is Lenina. Meanwhile, he explains to them both that his mother, Linda, came from the Other Place (meaning off the Reservation) before he was born.
- Bernard starts paying close attention—as you should. The savage reveals that his father's name is Tomakin. The text tells you parenthetically that the Director's name is Tomas, in case you had trouble putting two and two together. That is, the Director is this guy's father; Linda is the woman who "got lost" in the savage Reservation. Got it?
- OK, so then he takes them to his home and tells Linda to come out.
- Linda is old and "very stout" and wearing tattered clothes, which disgusts Lenina, our favorite material girl.
- Linda practically throws herself on Lenina. Apparently she, too, is a material girl (it's tough to get rid of years and years of brainwashing hypnopaedia). She's all about Lenina's clothes, appearance, etc. Living in the Savage world has done nothing to ground her in reality or add any depth to her character. Sad.
- Then we get some of Linda's background, which is also sad. She came into the Reservation operating under the rules of the "civilized" world, chief among them, "Everybody belongs to every one else." She then became, essentially, the village prostitute.
- Naturally, all the wives of the men sleeping with Linda got upset, went over to Linda's, and gave her a stern talking-to.
- Her son, John the savage, used to get upset at the fact that his Mom was sleeping around so much. She didn't understand his anger.
- She said she tried to condition her son a little, but she hadn't been able to do much.
- Thank Ford.
People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...