Brave New World
Suffering Quotes Page 10
How we cite our quotes:
The Savage nodded, frowning. "You got rid of them. Yes, that's just like you. Getting rid of everything unpleasant instead of learning to put up with it. Whether 'tis better in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them… But you don't do either. Neither suffer nor oppose. You just abolish the slings and arrows. It's too easy." (17.50)
John recognizes that he's operating in a very different world than the one in which he was raised. This realization is what ultimately drives him to leave the World State and live in solitude. It is at this moment that he realizes a man like himself cannot function in a world like this – a world without slings or arrows.
"What you need," the Savage went on, "is something with tears for a change. Nothing costs enough here."
("Twelve and a half million dollars," Henry Foster had protested when the Savage told him that. "Twelve and a half million – that's what the new Conditioning Centre cost. Not a cent less.") (17.52-3)
Again there is the problem of failed communication. The closest Henry Foster can come to understanding John's notion of cost (sacrifice) is through a sterile, dehumanized commodity (money).
His first night in the hermitage was, deliberately, a sleepless one. He spent the hours on his knees praying, now to that Heaven from which the guilty Claudius had begged forgiveness, now in Zuñi to Awonawilona, now to Jesus and Pookong, now to his own guardian animal, the eagle. From time to time he stretched out his arms as though he were on the Cross, and held them thus through long minutes of an ache that gradually increased till it became a tremulous and excruciating agony; held them, in voluntary crucifixion, while he repeated, through clenched teeth (the sweat, meanwhile, pouring down his face), "Oh, forgive me! Oh, make me pure! Oh, help me to be good!" again and again, till he was on the point of fainting from the pain. (18.31)
Passages like this one make it clear that John's need to punish himself stems from his religious sentiments, but also from his investment in the Shakespeare texts of his childhood. Both extol the virtue of suffering, which helps to explain why John confuses the two in his mind.