Brave New World
Freedom and Confinement Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
Linda had been a slave, Linda had died; others should live in freedom, and the world be made beautiful. A reparation, a duty. And suddenly it was luminously clear to the Savage what he must do; it was as though a shutter had been opened, a curtain drawn back. (15.14)
It takes Linda's death for John to come to this radical conclusion about the state of imprisonment in Brave New World. His epiphany actually sounds a lot like the lines from Maine de Biran that Mustapha later reads: "…as the passions grow calm, as the fancy and sensibilities are less excited and less excitable, our reason becomes less troubled in its working, less obscured by the images, desires and distractions, in which it used to be absorbed; whereupon God emerges as from behind a cloud; our soul feels, sees, turns towards the source of all light." The connection works thematically as well as on the level of the individual word or image (think about "luminously" and "light," or "a curtain drawn back" and "emerges as from behind a cloud").
"Don't you want to be free and men? Don't you even understand what manhood and freedom are?" Rage was making him fluent; the words came easily, in a rush. "Don't you?" he repeated, but got no answer to his question. "Very well then," he went on grimly. "I'll teach you; I'll make you be free whether you want to or not." And pushing open a window that looked on to the inner court of the Hospital, he began to throw the little pill-boxes of soma tablets in handfuls out into the area. (15.37)
John moves rather quickly from the "ineloquence" of inexperience to the "fluency" of rage. Passion, the text seems to argue, is not only a part of the human experience, but in fact enables the human experience – with passion, man can be an individual, can have an opinion, and can disagree, fight, and interact in a way that isn't otherwise possible.
"Free, free!" the Savage shouted, and with one hand continued to throw the soma into the area while, with the other, he punched the indistinguishable faces of his assailants. "Free!" And suddenly there was Helmholtz at his side – "Good old Helmholtz!" – also punching – "Men at last!" – and in the interval also throwing the poison out by handfuls through the open window. "Yes, men! men!" and there was no more poison left. He picked up the cash-box and showed them its black emptiness. "You're free!"
Howling, the Deltas charged with a redoubled fury. (15.41-2)
Check out the line, "Men at last!" What John is probably getting at here is the notion of infants as opposed to adults. Without soma, these Deltas can be adults – can be men – instead of bottled babies. This is exactly what Bernard was getting at with Lenina when he told her that they shouldn't have gone to bed "like infants."