Brave New World
Society and Class Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
"Reducing the number of revolutions per minute," Mr. Foster explained. "The surrogate goes round slower; therefore passes through the lung at longer intervals; therefore gives the embryo less oxygen. Nothing like oxygen-shortage for keeping an embryo below par." Again he rubbed his hands.
"The lower the caste," said Mr. Foster, "the shorter the oxygen." The first organ affected was the brain. After that the skeleton. At seventy per cent of normal oxygen you got dwarfs. At less than seventy eyeless monsters. (1.70-4)
Mr. Foster's calculating enthusiasm (rubbing his hands in excitement) is concentrated here with the horror of the caste system – horrible not only for its restrictive, predetermining qualities, but also for the destructive, malevolent, harmful way in which its ends are achieved.
They hurried out of the room and returned in a minute or two, each pushing a kind of tall dumb-waiter laden, on all its four wire-netted shelves, with eight-month-old babies, all exactly alike (a Bokanovsky Group, it was evident) and all (since their caste was Delta) dressed in khaki. (2.8)
That castes are distinguished by their clothing further dehumanizes them. To any member of a higher caste, ALL Deltas will look exactly the same.
"… all wear green," said a soft but very distinct voice, beginning in the middle of a sentence, "and Delta Children wear khaki. Oh no, I don't want to play with Delta children. And Epsilons are still worse. They're too stupid to be able to read or write. Besides they wear black, which is such a beastly colour. I'm so glad I'm a Beta."
"Alpha children wear grey They work much harder than we do, because they're so frightfully clever. I'm really awfully glad I'm a Beta, because I don't work so hard. And then we are much better than the Gammas and Deltas. Gammas are stupid. They all wear green, and Delta children wear khaki. Oh no, I don't want to play with Delta children. And Epsilons are still worse. They're too stupid to be able…" (2.75-7)
It's likely that the castes are kept separate for the sake of stability; this way there is no envy and no complications from intermingling. Each individual can view members of a different caste as a faceless, nameless 'other.'