Brave New World
Brave New World
by Aldous Huxley
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Music

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

In other places of this guide we discuss the connection between sex and violence in Brave New World. All the violence is vaguely sexual, all the sex vaguely violent. (That's our premise, but feel free to argue, complain, and list your general grievances. We want to hear them.) Music comes in because it connects the two – in this novel, both acts have a strangely controlled rhythm to them. Let's start with Bernard's Solidarity Service. The whole sexual fiasco starts with a ritual singing of "Orgy-porgy." (For lyrics, see your book. We don't want to get into that.) As far as we can tell, the orgy actually happens during the singing. Observe: "'Orgy-porgy…' In their blood-coloured and foetal darkness the dancers continued for a while to circulate, to beat and beat out the indefatigable rhythm. 'Orgy-porgy…'"

So you get the picture.

Then you've got John's almost-sex scene with Lenina, when she throws her naked body at him and he says, "AH, my virgin eyes!" and so forth. Notice what he says? "Impudent strumpet." Or, more accurately, he says, "Impudent strumpet, impudent strumpet, impudent strumpet," and very possibly, "impudent strumpet." Do you hear a rhythm here? Huxley even points it out: "'…impudent strumpet.' The inexorable rhythm beat itself out. 'Impudent…'"

Once you start looking for it, you see "rhythm" everywhere in Brave New World. Look at the drums Lenina hears at the Savage Reservation – followed shortly by the ritualistic, rhythmic whipping of one the Native Americans. Then you've got the "zip, zip, zip" of Lenina's clothes coming off. Because of this, we're prepared for the big moment at the end of the text when everyone dances around, singing Orgy-porgy, having sex, and "beating one another in six-eight time." It's the most violent and the most explicitly sexual moment in all of Brave New World – and it's couched in musical rhythm.

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