Brave New World
How we cite our quotes:
And sometimes, when he and the other children were tired with too much playing, one of the old men of the pueblo would talk to them, in those other words, of the great Transformer of the World, and of the long fight between Right Hand and Left Hand, between Wet and Dry; of Awonawilona, who made a great fog by thinking in the night, and then made the whole world out of the fog; of Earth Mother and Sky Father; of Ahaiyuta and Marsailema, the twins of War and Chance; of Jesus and Pookong; of Mary and Etsanatlehi, the woman who makes herself young again; of the Black Stone at Laguna and the Great Eagle and Our Lady of Acoma. Strange stories, all the more wonderful to him for being told in the other words and so not fully understood. Lying in bed, he would think of Heaven and London and Our Lady of Acoma and the rows and rows of babies in clean bottles and Jesus flying up and Linda flying up and the great Director of World Hatcheries and Awonawilona. (8.26)
This is an essential paragraph in Brave New World because it really lets us into John's psyche. In his mind, there are vague or nonexistent barriers between the stories Linda tells about the civilized world, Christian dogma, and the native religion of the Indians at Malpais.
The strange words rolled through his mind; rumbled, like talking thunder; like the drums at the summer dances, if the drums could have spoken; like the men singing the Corn Song, beautiful, beautiful, so that you cried; like old Mitsima saying magic over his feathers and his carved sticks and his bits of bone and stone – kiathla tsilu silokwe silokwe silokwe. Kiai silu silu, tsithl – but better than Mitsima's magic, because it meant more, because it talked to him, talked wonderfully and only half-understandably, a terrible beautiful magic, about Linda; about Linda lying there snoring, with the empty cup on the floor beside the bed; about Linda and Popé, Linda and Popé. (8.40)
And now we add Shakespeare into that mix – nothing like a little bit of impassioned fiction to complicate reality further.
"Once," he went on, "I did something that none of the others did: I stood against a rock in the middle of the day, in summer, with my arms out, like Jesus on the Cross."
"What on earth for?"
"I wanted to know what it was like being crucified. Hanging there in the sun…"
"Why? Well…" He hesitated. "Because I felt I ought to. If Jesus could stand it. (8.69-73)
Much of John's self-inflicted suffering is the product of his spiritual upbringing.