Brave New World
Freedom and Confinement Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
He flung open the gates. The warm glory of afternoon sunlight made him start and blink his eyes. "Oh, roof!" he repeated in a voice of rapture. He was as though suddenly and joyfully awakened from a dark annihilating stupor. "Roof!"
He smiled up with a kind of doggily expectant adoration into the faces of his passengers.
"Go down," it said, "go down. Floor Eighteen. Go down, go down. Floor Eighteen. Go down, go…"
The liftman slammed the gates, touched a button and instantly dropped back into the droning twilight of the well, the twilight of his own habitual stupor. (4.1.14-19)
The "Epsilon-Minus-Semi-Moron" working the elevator is a prisoner of his status and his occupation. He has been programmed to feel a sense of freedom when arriving at the roof of the building.
"Even an Epsilon…" Lenina suddenly remembered an occasion when, as a little girl at school, she had woken up in the middle of the night and become aware, for the first time, of the whispering that had haunted all her sleeps. She saw again the beam of moonlight, the row of small white beds; heard once more the soft, soft voice that said (the words were there, unforgotten, unforgettable after so many night-long repetitions): "Every one works for every one else. We can't do without any one. Even Epsilons are useful. We couldn't do without Epsilons. Every one works for every one else. We can't do without any one…" Lenina remembered her first shock of fear and surprise; her speculations through half a wakeful hour; and then, under the influence of those endless repetitions, the gradual soothing of her mind, the soothing, the smoothing, the stealthy creeping of sleep.… (5.1.8)
Even consciousness is no weapon against conditioning.
Five-stepping with the other four hundred round and round Westminster Abbey, Lenina and Henry were yet dancing in another world – the warm, the richly coloured, the infinitely friendly world of soma-holiday. How kind, how good-looking, how delightfully amusing every one was! "Bottle of mine, it's you I've always wanted…" But Lenina and Henry had what they wanted… They were inside, here and now-safely inside with the fine weather, the perennially blue sky. And when, exhausted, the Sixteen had laid by their saxophones and the Synthetic Music apparatus was producing the very latest in slow Malthusian Blues, they might have been twin embryos gently rocking together on the waves of a bottled ocean of blood-surrogate.
Swallowing half an hour before closing time, that second dose of soma had raised a quite impenetrable wall between the actual universe and their minds. Bottled, they crossed the street; bottled, they took the lift up to Henry's room on the twenty-eighth floor. And yet, bottled as she was, and in spite of that second gramme of soma, (5.1.19-22)
Again, the use of the bottle imagery is hardly accidental here. Lenina and Henry are being held prisoner by their conditioning, their impulses, and of course soma.