Brave New World
How we cite our quotes:
The President stood up, made the sign of the T and, switching on the synthetic music, let loose the soft indefatigable beating of drums and a choir of instruments – near-wind and super-string – that plangently repeated and repeated the brief and unescapably haunting melody of the first Solidarity Hymn. Again, again – and it was not the ear that heard the pulsing rhythm, it was the midriff; the wail and clang of those recurring harmonies haunted, not the mind, but the yearning bowels of compassion.
The President made another sign of the T and sat down. The service had begun. The dedicated soma tablets were placed in the centre of the table. The loving cup of strawberry ice-cream soma was passed from hand to hand and, with the formula, "I drink to my annihilation," twelve times quaffed. Then to the accompaniment of the synthetic orchestra the First Solidarity Hymn was sung. (5.2.12-3)
Is it possible that Brave New World is a critique of Christianity? In other words, does Huxley's parody highlight the possible mindlessness of certain religious practices?
"Orgy-porgy," the dancers caught up the liturgical refrain, "Orgy-porgy, Ford and fun, kiss the girls…" And as they sang, the lights began slowly to fade – to fade and at the same time to grow warmer, richer, redder, until at last they were dancing in the crimson twilight of an Embryo Store. "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…" Then the circle wavered, broke, fell in partial disintegration on the ring of couches which surrounded – circle enclosing circle – the table and its planetary chairs. "Orgy-porgy…" Tenderly the deep Voice crooned and cooed; in the red twilight it was as though some enormous negro dove were hovering benevolently over the now prone or supine dancers. (5.2.31)
The red light is significant here – it reminds us of the red light in the embryo room, which means these "Solidarity Services" render participants infantile.
Lenina liked the drums. Shutting her eyes she abandoned herself to their soft repeated thunder, allowed it to invade her consciousness more and more completely, till at last there was nothing left in the world but that one deep pulse of sound. It reminded her reassuringly of the synthetic noises made at Solidarity Services and Ford's Day celebrations. "Orgy-porgy," she whispered to herself. These drums beat out just the same rhythms. (7.31)
Lenina is trying to comfort herself here by recalling what's familiar to her, but she actually makes a rather important connection between the spiritual activities of the Savages and her own Solidarity Service back home.