Study Guide

Brave New World

Brave New World Summary

Brave New World begins in an uncomfortably sterile and controlled futuristic society, commonly referred to as “the World State.” We join the story as a group of young students are receiving a factory tour of the “London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre” from the center’s director, whose name is… The Director. It's all a little creepy.

The Director explains to the students the process by which humans are grown inside bottles and then conditioned (read: brainwashed) to believe certain moral “truths.” This conditioning, also known as “hypnopaedia” or “sleep-teaching,” instructs the citizens to believe in the value of society over the individual. Each person exists to serve the community. It’s their job to be consumers and workers, which in turn keeps the economy stable and strong. Buy lots of clothes. Use lots of transportation. Do your job.

To make the system run more smoothly, humans are divided into various castes: Alphas, Betas, Gammas, Deltas, and… drum roll…Epsilons. Alphas are smart, tall, and muscular; Epsilons short, dumb, and ugly. These people figured out that the best way to keep non-Alphas stupid is to give them dangerous substances while they’re still in the test tube. In this case, they use alcohol and oxygen deprivation. Also, the lower castes are grown in batches, so that 100 Epsilons are all exact copies of one another. And you thought having an older brother was tough. Imagine having 99 clones!

Moving right along, we meet two more of the novel’s characters, Lenina Crowne and Henry Foster, both workers in the hatchery. Lenina is gorgeous. Henry has been sleeping with her. So has everyone else. However, this arrangement is the status quo. In the World State, sex is casual, regular (as in, once-a-day), and explicit. “Every one belongs to every one else,” which means when a man wants to sleep with a woman, he publicly says, “Hey, you, let’s have sex tonight,” and she says, “OK.” (Basically.) Even little kids play games with each other like hunt-the-zipper (just use your imagination). Also, orgies are a required bi-weekly event.

The other big activity in this world is taking a narcotic called soma—a drug that sends its users off into “lunar eternity,” a trippy escape from reality. We receive much of this information from the Director during his tour, but the rest is delivered via Mustapha Mond, a big-deal guy who happens to be one of ten World Controllers.

Mustapha explains to the same “group of students” (read: “plot device”) how this society came about. The short version is that the world got gradually more and more screwed up until the world population collectively said, “Oh we can’t take this anymore! Please take away all of our liberties and individuality in the name of universal stability!” And the Powers That Be said, “OK.” And now there’s no war, no sadness, no individuality, no history, no literature (!), no families, no emotional ties to others, no solitude allowed, no scientific freedom, and no religion (God has been replaced by “Ford,” as in Henry Ford, as in the man who perfected the assembly line and mass production). But still, there’s sex. A lot of it.

So that’s your basic set-up. While we’re getting dealt this info, we meet another character, Bernard Marx, an Alpha-Plus psychologist who, for some reason or another, doesn’t have the great physical characteristic of most Alphas. He’s short. Bernard feels isolated because he’s “different,” and all his time alone lets him ponder big thoughts such as: “I wish everyone wasn’t so promiscuous and could take love seriously,” “I totally want Lenina, but I’d rather have a nice long talk than have sex with her.” When he finally does get around to asking Lenina out, he’s embarrassed that she publicly discusses their plans for sex.

Next we meet Helmholtz Watson, another Alpha-Plus male who shares Bernard’s dissatisfaction with their controlled, structured lives but fortunately doesn’t share Bernard’s physical deficiencies: Helmholtz is really attractive. So good looking, in fact, that the first time we meet him he’s being offered a foursome—with three women. But he actually passes on the offer and instead shoots the beans with Bernard about how dissatisfied they are with their lives. Since he writes meaningless hypnopaedia sayings all day, Helmholtz expresses a desire to create something more intense and more passionate—he just doesn’t know what that might be.

Up next is Bernard’s date with Lenina. He wants to spend some time talking, or maybe holding hands during a long walk on the beach. This confuses Lenina, who wants to take drugs and have sex. Ultimately, Bernard gives in to her seductive ways, but he has to take a few grams of soma before he can bring himself to get into bed with her. The next morning, he expresses regret—they should have waited, he tells her, before having sex. He wants to be an adult, not an infant. He wants to see what happens when there’s some amount of time in between desire and fulfillment. Lenina doesn’t get it.

So it’s on these rocky, somewhat uncomfortable terms that Bernard and Lenina plan a vacation together to a Savage Reservation in New Mexico. What’s a Savage Reservation, you ask? Basically, a part of the world that hasn’t been brought up to speed with the whole technology/mind control/dystopia thing. Before he goes, Bernard has to get a permission slip from the Director—his boss, whom we met in the very beginning of the novel.

  

The Director reveals, sort of by accident, that he visited the Reservation himself when he was younger, also with a woman. Then he lost the woman. She went missing on the Reservation, they couldn’t find her, and he had to come back alone. Embarrassed at this personal disclosure, the Director recovers by chewing out Bernard for acting like an adult instead of an infant. Apparently, everyone does know what goes on behind closed doors. Bernard acts the rebel, exulting in the fact that he’s established himself as an individual by breaking the rules.

Bernard then goes on his trip with Lenina. Unfortunately, once he arrives, he finds out from Helmholtz via a phone call that the Director is planning on deporting him (Bernard) to an island. Talk about a buzzkill. Looks like "islands" are a place for misfits and miscreants, so getting sent to one is like getting voted off the island, except backwards. Bernard, far from taking pride in his individuality, freaks out, whimpers for a bit, and finally just runs away from reality by taking soma. Remember kids, drugs; aren't the answer.

Meanwhile, the vacation continues, which means a tour through the Reservation. Lenina is horrified by what she sees there. Everyone is dirty, their clothes are tattered, and everything smells bad. On the other hand, Bernard is all about examining “the savages” with scientific zeal. During their tour, the couple watches a ritualistic dance in which a young man is willingly beaten as a means to honor the gods.

Afterwards, they are approached by John, a white man (in contrast to the Native Americans) who has apparently been raised on the Reservation. The story quickly comes out: John’s mother came to the Reservation from the “Other Place,” got stranded there, and then gave birth to John. Bernard puts two and two together and realizes that John is the son of the Director. Little bulbs labeled “Blackmail opportunity!” start to light up in Bernard's mind.

Meanwhile, John and Lenina are falling deeper and deeper in love with each other. John brings Lenina and Bernard back to his home, and there we meet his mother, Linda, who is like Lenina plus twenty years. Living in squalor for the last twenty years has been absolute torture for her. Bernard and John bond because both have been isolated from their communities—Bernard because he’s physically deficient; John because he’s the only white guy around and because his mother sleeps around. A lot. In fact, the only thing John ever had to be happy about as a kid was this book his mother found for him, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. So John just quotes Shakespeare all the time—he feels it is the best way to express himself.

Bernard, whose blackmail wheels are still turning, puts Lenina to bed (she’s in a voluntary soma-coma) and makes a phone call to Mustapha Mond, the World Controller we met earlier. They all agree that it would be of “scientific interest” to bring John and Linda back to the civilized world, just to see what happens.

Bernard proceeds to do so. He shows up at the factory, where the Director makes a big fuss by publicly firing him and declaring his deportation to an island. Bernard counters by bringing out John, who’s all “Dad!,” and Linda, who’s all “Remember me?” Keep in mind that, in this world, children are grown in bottles, not born. All concepts of “mother” and “father” are considered dirty and primitive—so outing the Director as a father totally ruins him. He runs from the room covering his ears, which pretty much means Bernard isn’t getting deported after all.

Thus begins a grand and tragically misguided social experiment. Linda feels she’s suffered enough for one lifetime, so she becomes a full-on soma addict and basically absents herself from reality. Everyone realizes this will kill her in a very short amount of time, but no one cares except John, and no one listens to him. Bernard starts parading John around as his own personal discovery, so he becomes a big celebrity, which helps to compensate for the fact that he’s short. Now that he’s wildly popular, Bernard forgets all about his earlier desires to be an individual.

Helmholtz, on the other hand, bonds with John, and the two share touching moments over the Shakespeare book that John brought with him. Helmholtz finally realizes that it is possible to write intense, passionate stuff.

Meanwhile, John isn’t too impressed with the civilized world. He likes all the technology and comforts, but is disgusted by the process of growing humans and the fact that the lower castes exist in batches of dozens of identical clones.

He has the hots for Lenina, but where he comes from, chastity is super-important until marriage. This confuses Lenina, who really wants some sex with John and for the first time in her life is being turned down. When she confronts John (confronts = “Have sex with me! Now!”), he flips out, calls her a whore, and quotes some Shakespeare about how no one should go breaking any virginity knots before the marriage knot has been tied. Goodness knows where things would have gone from there, except John gets a phone call that his mother Linda is dying, so he rushes out.

Linda, still high on soma, dies shortly after John arrives at the hospital. He is grief-stricken, but in this new world, everyone has been conditioned to think of death as no big deal. So no one understands his emotion. Angered by this and by the circumstances of his mother’s death, and by the fact that Lenina just tried to take his virginity, John freaks out. He finds a group of Deltas waiting to receive their daily soma ration and spiritedly chucks the dozens of boxes of drugs out of the window, trying to explain to these drones that they can only be free without it.

This causes a riot. Bernard and Helmholtz Watson arrive on the scene shortly before the police, who pacify the Deltas with soma and take the three men (Bernard, Helmholtz, and John) into custody. “Into custody” ends up being “Mustapha Mond’s office,” where Bernard acts like a complete wuss, rats on his two friends (“It’s not my fault! It’s their fault!”), and is taken away.

Mustapha reveals that he used to be a chemist but gave up science to serve universal happiness instead. He tells Helmholtz that, actually, being sent to an island is the greatest thing ever, because you get to meet all the people who weren’t OK with being brainwashed for most of their lives. Helmholtz agrees with this assessment and leaves, cheerily looking forward to his new life on an island.

This leaves John and Mustapha, who engage in lengthy, didactic arguments about literature, passion, emotion, suffering, and God. John concludes that he doesn’t want a life where people are always happy—he wants the freedom to be unhappy, the freedom to suffer.

Despite this great chat, Mustapha won’t let John live on an island with Helmholtz—he wants to continue the social experiment. Furious, John runs away to an abandoned lighthouse and sets to flogging and starving himself. Oh, and ritually throwing up to cleanse himself of the horrors of civilization and his desire to have sex with Lenina. This is all going according to plan until word gets out, and John’s lighthouse is descended upon by reporters. His spiritual self-denial is video-recorded and made into a popular movie. Everyone’s been so desensitized to human suffering that they think it’s thrilling to watch a guy beating himself.

Eventually Lenina herself shows up. John hates himself for wanting her in such a sexual way, so he flogs himself and finally her. Of course, there’s a big crowd standing around watching because they want to see the movie reenacted. They’re so into the scene that they all take part, flogging themselves and each other. It’s not too long after that the whole thing turns into an orgy, which makes sense, as violence and sex are closely associated through much of the novel.

The next day, after everyone’s left, John wakes up and “remember[s]—everything,” which suggests (but doesn’t explicitly say) that in the midst of the frenzied mass orgy he had sex with Lenina. Wracked with guilt, John hangs himself from the lighthouse rafters, and we end the novel with the image of John's dead body slowly rotating in the air. We think it's safe to say nobody lives happily-ever-after in this story.

(Click the plot infographic to download.)

  • Chapter 1

    • We begin with the image of a grey building of thirty-four stories called the "Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre." Inscribed over the door is the World State's Motto: "Community, Identity, Stability."
    • Inside are workers wearing white overalls and gloves.
    • Enter the Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning with a group of new students. He is giving them a tour, starting with "the Fertilizing room."
    • The Director makes sure to give these new students just enough information so they will be competent at their jobs, but not so much information that they have an idea of the big picture.
    • We don't know how old the Director is, and in this time period— "A.F. 634"—it doesn't matter anyway.
    • The Director begins lecturing while the enthusiastic students take frantic notes. He shows them the incubators, the "week's supply of ova," and the male gametes. We're creeped out.
    • It seems the eggs are taken surgically from women, the duds thrown out, and the good ones fertilized in a warm sperm bath.
    • So now you've got a bunch of fertilized eggs. The Alpha and Beta zygotes chill out for a bit, but the Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons are put through "Bokanovsky's Process," which makes one fertilized egg divide and divide until you can get ninety-six human beings instead of one.
    • There's more. The Bokanovsky Process, which causes the eggs to divide, does so by using X-Rays—you know, those harmful things you have to wear shields for in the doctor's office. Lots of the eggs die after eight minutes of radiation, but the ones that survive keep duplicating themselves.
    • After that, the eggs are poisoned with alcohol until near death. No, we're not kidding.
    • One of the students asks the Director about the advantage of having one hundred identical people. (Now, we would have been more inclined to ask about the damage from radiation and alcohol poisoning, but still, not a bad question.)
    • The Director responds that, obviously, it's a "major instrument of social stability."
    • In fact, the Director can hope for little more than that: someday, they can bokanovskify indefinitely; that way, all the Epsilons will be copies of each other, all the Deltas the same, etc.

    (Click the summary infographic to download.)

    • Science has made other advances. In nature, as we know, it takes about thirty years for a person to mature. Luckily, there's "Podsnap's technique," which brings that number down to about two years.
    • We find out that London is not the only place where this crazy stuff is going down; in Singapore and Mombasa, their bokanovskification is even more impressive (seventeen-thousand clones from one egg).
    • Onward—to the Bottling Room! Here, the fertilized eggs (which now, having divided, have become a ball of cells called a morula) are dropped one each into bottles lined with cow peritoneum (stomach lining).
    • Everything is mechanical; the bottles slide along on a conveyor belt and machines routinely line them up and drop the morulae inside. Next, there are labelers to… label the bottles. They write down stuff like the date of fertilization and heredity.
    • The labeled bottles then slide onward into the Social Predestination Room, where the Predestinators make calculations based on those labels.
    • The Director next leads his students into the Embryo Store, kept at tropical heat and exposed only to red light.
    • Among the rows and rows of stored embryos walk the workers— all of whom have "the purple eyes of lupus."
    • [NOTE: There's a little bit of confusion here over the mention of lupus, a skin disease. The text describes the workers as having the purple eyes and coral teeth of lupus—but we also know that they're standing under the red light of the embryo lamps. So…either EVERYONE has lupus, or this is just a contrived metaphor for describing the way they look. We think the latter, especially since we find out later that disease has been eradicated in this new world.]
    • The Director, finally tired of talking, asks a man named Mr. Foster to give the students some figures.
    • Mr. Foster does. There are fifteen racks on which the bottles are stored, each traveling through the various rooms at thirty-three-and-one-third centimeters an hour. (And as fascinating as we find fractions, suffice it to say there are many more extremely precise numbers—if you're interested in them, consult your book.)
    • So at every meter along the way (it takes two hundred sixty-seven days), some other concoction is fed to the eggs, or some test is taken, and so on.
    • At meter two hundred, they test for sex: male, female, freemartins (to be explained shortly).
    • Now fertility, Mr. Foster explains, isn't necessary for most of the females (because of the Bokanovsky thing), so they give most of the eggs enough male sex hormone to make them infertile. Flawless, except sometimes the women grow beards.
    • After that, the doctor continues, it's a simple matter of conditioning the young'ins to be whatever it is they've been predestined to be, like Directors or sewage workers.
    • It becomes clear that these labels we heard earlier like "Alpha" and "Epsilon" are categories for various groups of people. Alphas seem to be the top of the heap, which is nice and logical.
    • It follows, then, that Epsilons are at the bottom. And they're stupid. But they're stupid because they're engineered to be stupid by oxygen deprivation.
    • The current issue on the table is how to get Epsilons to mature faster physically, since their brains do not need time to mature anyway. 
    • They're working on it.
    • The students observe the predestinating process: men are conditioned to love whatever job they will have. In other words, men who have to mine in the tropics are conditioned to hate the cold. Men who have to hang upside-down doing rocket repairs are conditioned to only be happy when they're upside-down.
    • While the Director elucidates further, Mr. Foster greets one of the workers—Lenina. This is a "Helloooooo nurse" kind of moment (i.e., she's gorgeous).
    • It becomes apparent that Lenina and Mr. Foster have some sort of "thing" between them (sex), but she smiles equally beamingly at the Director when he gives her two or three "little pats." We are left to guess where the little pats landed. And we're guessing "sexual harassment" in the world of Brave New World is as outdated as natural birth.
    • Mr. Foster insists on taking the group into the Decanting Room to look at the new batch of "Alpha-Plus intellectuals."
  • Chapter 2

    • The Director and his students leave Mr. Foster behind (apparently the Alpha-Plus intellectuals weren't that interesting, because we don't hear about them). They head to a room labeled "Infant Nurseries. Neo-Pavlovian Conditioning Rooms."
    • Here, nurses in white hats are setting out bowls of roses. (Aw.)
    • Then they set out dozens of colored, playful picture books. (Aww.)
    • Then they bring out the little babies—all Deltas, and so all dressed in khaki—to let them play with the flowers and books. (Awww!)
    • Then they… electrocute the babies. (AAAHH!!!)
    • Not surprisingly, the babies have no further interest in the flowers or the books (or, in all likelihood, bright colors of any kind).
    • One curious student wants to know why.
    • The Director explains: they used to condition the lower castes to like flowers and other outdoorsy things. That way, they would consume lots of transportation services in getting themselves out to the country.
    • The problem was, while they consumed transport, they didn't really consume anything else. Nature can be appreciated without boosting the economy.
    • The solution? They conditioned them all to hate the country, but to love country sports, particularly country sports that required a complicated apparatus that had to be purchased.
    • The curious student is satisfied. And it's time for a story.
    • Long, long ago, the Director explains, when "Our Ford" was still around, there was a boy named Reuben Rabinovitch.
    • This story forces the Director to explain to the students what "parents" are, which is apparently a vulgar word, as are "Mom" and "Dad."
    • Anyway, Reuben's parents (gasp!) played him a tape while he was asleep, a tape that repeated over and over a bunch of information about the Nile River. The next morning, they asked him what the longest river in the world was, and he didn't know. He could repeat word-for-word the lecture he had heard, but to him it was just empty words; he didn't actually comprehend anything.
    • The Director explains the problem: they were trying to teach Reuben intellectual things. What they should have done is indoctrinate him with lessons in morality (because they aren't rational) while he slept. Of course, that's why they do now: it's called "Hypnopaedia."
    • Next they head into a room where small children are asleep on rows and rows of cots. The resident instructor informs them that they just had "Elementary Sex Education." Remember that? Right after snack time, just before recess…
    • Anyway, now they're having a lesson in "Elementary Class Consciousness." Since these particular small people are Betas, the lesson lectures that Betas are the best, that Alphas have to work too hard, and that Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons are all stupid.
    • We also find out that Gammas wear green, Deltas wear khaki and Epsilons wear black.
    • As the Director explains this indoctrination, the students write it down— "straight from the horse's mouth," which, if you've been reading your text, you'll know is a phrase we've gotten several times now.
    • And now for a lovely analogy. Water, the text explains, can wear through rock over time. But these lessons repeated over and over during sleep aren't like water—they're like wax. Rather than wearing through the rock, they pile up on the rock and harden and become part of it, until the rock is one big, crusty, waxy blob.
  • Chapter 3

    • Now we're outside the building. Everyone is enjoying the sunshine and the helicopters, and the sounds of naked children playing Centrifugal Bumble-puppy (you can read a lovely and detailed description in your book.)
    • The Director muses on how odd it is that people used to play games that—unlike Centrifugal Bumble-puppy—didn't require a complicated apparatus or two.
    • Meanwhile, two small children are engaging in a "rudimentary sexual game." Eeek!
    • The Director converses with a nurse who is concerned over one boy who refuses to play his ordinary erotic games with a little girl, who herself is quite confused with her peer's hesitation.
    • The Director tells her to find some other little boy to play with.
    • The Director, a.k.a. the D.H.C. (Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning) tells his students about a time when little children were not allowed to play erotic games with one another.
    • The conversation is interrupted by one Mustapha Mond, who it appears is one of only ten "World Controllers." In other words, this guy is the big cheese. They even call him "his fordship."
    • Meanwhile, the clocks strike four and the staff working the first shift of the day exits and is replaced by another group of equally mindless drones. Lenina Crowne (the nurse from earlier) is one of those to exit the grey building.
    • Back to this Mustapha Mond guy (most intimidating name ever). The students are practically peeing their pants to be in his presence. We get our nifty "straight from the horse's mouth" phrase again, this time in regard to the World Controller, rather than the Director.
    • The Controller, in his "strong deep voice," reminds the students of a saying of Our Ford's: "History is bunk."
    • He then waves his hand in the air, which the text narrates as his whisking away years of history and mythology—he whisks away Odysseus and Harappa and Rome and Jerusalem. You get the (disturbing) picture. Along with this history go "Passion," "Requiem," and "Symphony."
    • While the Controller is busy whisking, we cut to the Assistant Predestinator, who's asking Henry Foster if he's going "to the feelies" this evening, since the current show features a sex scene on a bearskin rug and you can really feel "every hair of the bear" with the amazing "tactical effects."
    • And we're back to the Controller, who concludes that this is exactly why people today aren't taught history.
    • The Director is nervous that the Controller might reveal some history to these students—after all, he knows that there are rumors of bibles and poetry hidden in the secret possession of The Controller.
    • But the Controller assures him not to worry—he won't "corrupt" these students.
    • And we cut back to the conversation about the feelies; Bernard Marx from the Psychology Bureau is listening in with contempt as Henry Foster declares he will definitely go check out the bearskin rug.
    • Back to the Controller, who is still talking about dreadfully inappropriate subject matter like "parents" and "homes."
    • Now we jump to a third scene: Lenina Crowne heading to the dressing room on the 17th story, where all the girls are taking baths or getting "vibro-vacuum massages."
    • She greets a girl named Fanny Crowne, but their last names are just a coincidence (with only ten-thousand last names in this world, it happens a lot).
    • We cut back to the Controller, now describing what a "home" used to look like, with no sterilizing conditions and all. A young student is almost sick.
    • Lenina meanwhile is engaging in what appears to be some sort of standard post-workday routine (bath, powder, perfume, massage, etc.).
    • The Controller continues his story out in the yard: apparently, in these disgusting houses, emotions were everywhere. Yuck.
    • We return to Lenina, who converses with Fanny. Fanny, it seems, hasn't been doing too well lately; Dr. Wells has suggested she have a "pregnancy substitute."
    • Lenina looks over the various vials she has to take on her locker shelf. Think of them as daily vitamins, except instead of fiber and iron it's "Mammary Gland Extract" and "Placentin."
    • The Controller continues to speak of "Our Ford," sometimes known as "Our Freud." (Oh, the cleverness, the wit—we can't take it anymore.)
    • Ford or Freud or whoever realized that families were a problem, but mainly because they bred emotion.
    • Back to the chatty girls in the locker room; Lenina reveals she's going to see Henry Foster again tonight, and Fanny is shocked that she's still going out with the same guy. (Seriously, monogamy was so pre-Ford.)
    • Meanwhile, the Controller is discussing… monogamy! (Funny how narrative structuring works like that, isn't it?) The problem with pre-Ford monogamy, he says, is that it doesn't make sense, because everyone should belong to everyone else (this is one of the phrases repeated to sleeping babies, by the way).
    • Cut to the locker room: Lenina protests that she's only been with Henry four months. It's apparent from Fanny's response that four months is unacceptably long, and Lenina admits that there hasn't been any other man during that time. Fanny reminds her how much the Director is against this sort of thing.
    • (We're still bouncing back and forth between these different conversations.)
    • The Controller's argument against monogamy is this: human emotion is like a pipe carrying water. Pierce it once, out comes a massive jet of water. But pierce it twenty times, and there's only a minor piddling from each hole. It keeps a person stable, he says, to have multiple outlets like this.
    • Back to Fanny, who is pleased to hear that the Director patted Lenina on the behind today.
    • The Controller continues. You need this individual stability because it leads to social stability. You need the wheels to keep turning, and you need men around to keep turning them. Otherwise, everyone will die.
    • Fanny tells Lenina to be more promiscuous. They both agree wholeheartedly that "everyone belongs to every one else."
    • The idea, the Controller says, is to allow the flow of human desire to run unchecked; put a barrier in its way, and things will spiral quickly out of control. So let people have everything they want—immediately. Shorten the interval between desire and consummation. With any luck, you can get rid of emotion altogether!
    • Now we go back to Henry Foster and Bernard Marx. Henry declares that Lenina is a wonderfully "pneumatic" (as in, full of emptiness) girl—he recommends that the Assistant Director "have her" as soon as possible.
    • Bernard Marx hears this and turns pale.
    • Meanwhile, Lenina says she's getting tired of just Henry anyway—she's starting to get interested in this other guy, Bernard Marx, an Alpha-Plus. He has asked her to visit a Savage Reservation with him.
    • But Fanny is concerned because Bernard has a poor reputation. He doesn't like Obstacle Golf, and he spends time… alone (gasp!).
    • But Lenina is determined to "spend time with" (i.e., have sex with) Bernard, even if he is ridiculously shy around her.
    • The Controller asks the students whether any of them has had to deal with a difficult obstacle, or if they ever wanted something they didn't get.
    • A boy admits he once had to wait four weeks before a girl let him have sex with her.
    • Back to Bernard, who is disgusted by the other men's conversation because they speak of Lenina as mere meat. He wants to hit them both in the face. Hard. And maybe even twice.
    • Meanwhile, the Controller is speaking about Christianity, which severely got in the way when the current methods were first introduced.
    • Lenina tells Fanny she likes Bernard's looks, even though Fanny finds him stunted and small. (Supposedly someone messed up and gave his bottle some alcohol when he was a zygote.)
    • In England, the Controller continues, hypnopaedia was once illegal.
    • Bernard Marx, it turns out, is a hypnopaedia expert. He considers everyone "idiots" for repeating the same phrases over and over.
    • Mustapha (the Controller) moves on to his opinion on democracy—an absurd notion that men are "equal."
    • (The text now starts jumping around between the three conversations even faster; we're leaving them clumped together here so you get the picture.)
    • Lenina says she's going to accept Bernard's date to the Savage Reservation.
    • The Controller narrates that The Nine Years' war (an international war) occurred in A.F. 141 and brought devastating chemical and biological warfare. People had no choice but to accept World Control as the only solution.
    • The Assistant Predestinator remarks that Fanny, too, is a nice girl for hanging out (sex).
    • We cut to the nurseries and see the little children repeating their "Class Consciousness" lessons over and over.
    • Mustapha Mond continues. You can't govern by force, he says, and so they had to make the people want to be controlled.
    • And now for the full effect you can only get by reading: the words of Mustapha as he lectures the students become indiscernible from the phrases being repeated to the children in the nursery, which themselves are indistinguishable from the words of Fanny and Lenina, who have been indoctrinated the same way.
    • Anyway, we see that Lenina is wearing green and a "Malthusian belt" full of contraceptives, which means she's a woman who isn't sterile.
    • (Note: Lenina wearing green might suggest she's a Gamma, but we find out shortly that she is not; every indication points to her being upper caste (so Alpha or Beta). Why she's wearing green, then, is subject to debate. It seems likely to us that members of the upper castes get to wear whatever they want; there's no mention of them being color-coded like the mindless drones beneath them.)
    • Mustapha narrates that Pfitzner and Kawaguchi were the two big guys to come up with effective propaganda and mind control. It is they who declared a "war against the Past" by closing museums and blowing up monuments, etc. He explains to the students that this is why they've never heard of these mysterious things like "pyramids" and "Shakespeare."
    • Meanwhile, Lenina and Fanny discuss her belt. Henry Foster gave it to her.
    • We hear the indoctrinating hypnopaedia: "Ending is better than mending. The more stitches, the less riches."
    • The Controller declares that they picked the introduction of the first Ford T-Model as the starting point for their new system of dates. All religious crosses had their tops cut off to resemble a "T."
    • He adds that people used to believe in heaven and souls, but they also used to drink a lot of alcohol. And use morphine and cocaine. Related? He thinks so.
    • Bernard continues to rage against Foster and the Assistant Predestinator; the worst part, he thinks, is that Lenina thinks of herself as meat, too.
    • Mustapha continues: then they got rid of all these substances and created the perfect drug to replace it. Said perfect drug is euphoric, a narcotic, and a hallucinogen.
    • Cut to Bernard, who in his silent rage is looking rather glum. His chums tell him he should take some soma, which we're guessing is the drug Mustapha's discussing.
    • Bernard refuses and then loses his cool, yelling, "Damn you!" at the Assistant Predestinator. But the man simply laughs off Bernard's murderous rage and leaves with Dr. Foster.
    • Mustapha says that, after illegal substances, the next thing to conquer was old age. Men now can work their whole lives instead of looking forward to any eventual retirement, which is dangerous, as it provides time for people to think.
    • Fanny leaves Lenina so she can go play some Obstacle Golf.
    • When a little girl in the yard outside tries to play with the Controller, the Director yells at her to leave his fordship alone. Mustapha responds: "Suffer little children," which is like a masochistic version of Jesus's famous quote: "Suffer the little children unto me."
    • And we end with an image of the conveyor belt sliding slowly forward at thirty-three centimeters per hour.
  • Chapter 4: Part 1

    • On her way out of the building, Lenina shares an elevator with many Alpha males, most of whom she's slept with.
    • Bernard is in the elevator, and she makes a big deal out of publicly discussing their plans for a date. Bernard blushes and doesn't want to talk about it in public.
    • We catch a glimpse of the elevator man, an "Epsilon-Minus-Semi-Moron" whose only happiness in life is the moment when the elevator gets to the roof, so that he can go, "Ah! The roof!"
    • Lenina and Bernard both depart at the roof, where helicopters are coming and going. Lenina departs while quite untactfully announcing her date with Henry.
    • Bernard is left to hang with Benito Hoover, who is so good-natured he could almost get through life without doping himself up all the time with soma. (That's what it says. We're not kidding.)
    • Anyway, Benito remarks on how Lenina is fun to have sex with. Then he eats some sex-hormone chewing-gum and leaves.
    • Cut to Lenina, who takes off with Henry Foster in his helicopter.
    • Looking below her, Lenina remarks that khaki is a horrible color. (OK, we get it, hypnopaedia works.) She adds that she's glad she's not a Gamma (which is how we know that her wearing green is not an indication of caste).
    • Then they go to play some Obstacle Golf.
  • Chapter 4: Part 2

    • Bernard, still on the roof, is busy lamenting his situation. It took him ages to work up the courage to ask Lenina out, and then she talked about it in public as if it were nothing. He wanted her to be different from the others.
    • She's not.
    • Bernard goes to his own helicopter-style machine and roughly commands the Delta-Minus workers to wheel it out for him.
    • The text reveals that he is not too secure with his own authority over them. This is probably because he's short, whereas Alphas are supposed to be taller than everyone else. "I am I," he thinks, "and wish I wasn't."
    • Because Bernard is mocked, he acts like an outsider, which means he gets mocked more. Oh, a vicious cycle it is.
    • Once he is flying comfortably over London, Bernard takes mental note of the different newspapers of the city: one for upper castes, one for Gammas, one for Deltas. (We can assume that Epsilons can't read.)
    • He lands on the roof of the Bureau of Propaganda, orders a porter to fetch this guy named Mr. Watson, and lights a cigarette while he waits.
    • Upon hearing that Bernard is waiting, Helmholtz Watson quickly hurries to the roof. He is your prototypical Alpha-Plus—broad-shouldered, sturdy, good-looking. He's a lecturer at the College of Emotional Engineering. In his downtime he writes rhyming hypnopaedic slogans.
    • Interestingly, his excessive braininess has set him just a little apart from the rest of his colleagues—much like Bernard. We would summarize this idea for you, but Huxley says it pretty well: "What the two men shared was the knowledge that they were individuals."
    • Also, Helmholtz is a total stud. He's been with six hundred forty girls in less than four years.
    • Despite all his extracurricular activities, Helmholtz Watson is dissatisfied. He wants something more—he just doesn't know what that something is.
    • As Helmholtz makes his way to the roof, three women jump out of the shadows and offer him a foursome.
    • Helmholtz says no to the temptresses.
    • He climbs into Bernard's helicopter.
    • Bernard, who's a wee bit jealous of Helmholtz's internal woman-magnet, makes a point of telling him he's taking Lenina to New Mexico.
    • Helmholtz's all, "That's nice, but I don't care." Instead, he talks about his self-imposed abstinence over the last two weeks. The text notes that such asceticism can produce even more braininess.
    • Back at Bernard's place, Helmholtz asks him if he's ever felt there was something inside him waiting to come out.
    • Like an alien?
    • No, like a feeling. Helmholtz thinks he has the power to say something important, if only he knew what that important thing was. He knows the hypnopaedic rhymes he makes are good, but he thinks that "what you make with them ought to be good too."
    • This is followed by one of the most intense and stunning passages in the book. Helmholtz says that words can be like X-rays—they can pierce anything. But not when you're writing about nothing. He thinks he can do something "more intense, more violent" if only he knew what that was.
    • Bernard tells him to hush and, paranoid, goes to the door to see if anyone is standing there listening.
    • No one is there, but Bernard remarks that "when people are suspicious with you, you start being suspicious with them."
    • Then Bernard laments about how Helmholtz doesn't know what he's had to put up with lately.
    • Helmholtz feels sorry for the guy, but he secretly thinks Bernard ought to show a little more pride.
  • Chapter 5: Part 1

    • Darkness falls around 8pm, so Lenina and Henry finish their game of golf and get back into the helicopter. Below them we see the "Internal and External Secretions Factory," the "Lower Caste barracks," and the "Slough Crematorium."
    • Apparently, adult corpses are burned without ritual, and phosphorus is recovered from burnt remains to help make plants grow.
    • Foster reminds Lenina that all men are equal physio-chemically, so even Epsilons are useful.
    • This triggers a strange memory of Lenina's. Once, when she was young, she woke up in the middle of the night and heard a strange voice whispering the hypnopaedic lessons over and over in the darkness. She was scared by it at first, but the soothing noise quickly put her back to sleep.
    • She concludes that she's glad she's not an Epsilon, but Henry reminds her that, if she were, she'd be happy about it.
    • They pass over the crematorium and are shot up into the air by a rush of fumes coming from a smokestack. Marvelous, Lenina thinks, which is cute, until you remember that the rush of fumes was caused by the remains of a dead person.
    • At Henry's apartment building, he and Lenina eat dinner, drink coffee, and take several soma tablets. They then walk through Westminster Abbey to partake in such lively nighttime entertainments as "Calvin Stopes and His Sixteen Sexophonists."
    • The music is, of course, sexually charged, as the musicians play as though experiencing "the little death" (an orgasm). Their song is (ostensibly) called "Little Bottle of Mine," and expressed a desire to have, we guess, never left the bottle of sterile, pre-natal growth.
    • Henry and Lenina are having a grand old time, which very likely has something to do with the fact that they're very high on the soma they just took. They might as well be two twin embryos stuck in a bottle, the text says. (What a disturbing image.)
    • They take some more soma, which the text claims renders them "bottled" (meaning they are just as good as inside a bottle when they're high).
    • Still, although she's high, Lenina remembers to use contraception when she and Henry have sex. She only does so because she's been conditioned this way since youth, so it isn't so much a decision as a forced habit.
    • We end the chapter with Lenina asking Henry, on Fanny's behalf, where he bought the lovely belt of contraceptives he gave her.
  • Chapter 5: Part 2

    • On Thursday, Bernard heads dutifully for his biweekly "Solidarity Service day" at the Fordon Community Singery, adorned with lighted "T" signs and emanating synthetic music.
    • He looks up at the clock—"Big Henry." (London's famous clock is actually called "Big Ben," but they clearly changed the name to honor Henry Ford.)
    • As the clock strikes nine, it bellows out "Ford, Ford, Ford" nine times.
    • Apparently this building has seven thousand rooms used for whatever it is Bernard is about to take part in.
    • Bernard arrives late, and takes his seat (one of twelve) around a circular table next to a woman named Morgana Rothschild, who has a unibrow and is apparently no fun to sit next to.
    • When the last member arrives, he is reprimanded by the President of the Group for being late.
    • The circle around the table alternates male-female. What follows is a disturbing, ritualistic ceremony with lots of pounding music, soma, signs of the T, and the creepy words, "I drink to my annihilation." They chant a song (twelve times, that seems to be the magic number) that negates individuality and declares allegiance to greater society.
    • A Voice from above repeats "Oh, Ford, Ford" and everyone is convinced Ford is coming.
    • Everything's rather sexual, so the repetition of the word "coming" isn't accidental.
    • Bernard can't get into it—even though he's taken the soma with everyone else. But he pretends; he jumps up and shouts with the rest of the sheep. Er, people.
    • The group sings a song called "Orgy-porgy."
    • Next thing you know they're all post-coital-esque on the roof.
    • One of the women present, Fifi Bradlaugh, is described as in "the calm ecstasy of achieved consummation." She is full, happy, perfect.
    • Bernard agrees with her that "it was wonderful," but he's even more miserable now than he was before, even more isolated. It's quite possible he ended up having sex with Morgana (and others?) during the "orgy-porgy," but all he can think about now is her unibrow.
  • Chapter 6: Part 1

    • Lenina has decided Bernard is definitely odd; she wonders if she should go on vacation with him after all.
    • But she concludes that she'd rather go to America with him than the North Pole with Benito Hoover. So that's that.
    • Bernard, we discover, is an Alpha-Plus psychologist, which is why he has permission to visit the Savage Reservation in New Mexico.
    • Apparently Lenina discussed Bernard while in bed with Henry. (Messed up.) Henry said Bernard was like a rhinoceros, which is to say that he couldn't be conditioned very well at all.
    • Then we get to see their first date. Bernard vetoes all her suggestions as being "a waste of time." He wants to go for walks, to be alone, to talk.
    • He also refuses to take soma, on the grounds that he'd rather be miserable as himself than jolly as somebody else.
    • On the way home from watching some wrestling (Lenina clearly won out in deciding to waste time), Bernard hovers their helicopter in the air by the open ocean, forcing them to look out over the grayness and vastness of the waves.
    • Lenina finds the panorama to be horrible, empty, and dark. She turns on the radio, which sings about (what else) blue skies and happiness.
    • But Bernard switches it off again. He likes looking at the ocean because it reminds him that he is more than "just a cell in a social body." He wishes he were free from the enslavement of his social conditioning.
    • Lenina cries, shocked at his blasphemy. She doesn't know what he means by "free."
    • On the way home, Bernard starts to laugh and then feels up Lenina (in the "breasts" sense of the term "feels up").
    • She's glad to see he's feeling better.
    • When they get back to Bernard's rooms, he has to take four soma tablets in order to have sex with her.
    • The next day, they meet again on the roof. Lenina congratulates herself on being pneumatic. (As we say elsewhere, we take this to mean curvy, busty, and possibly also full of empty air.)
    • Bernard inwardly berates her for being "like meat." He then tells her that, as much fun as it was last night, he wishes they hadn't gone to bed together. He would rather have waited, seen what it was like to delay the impulse.
    • This is all new to Lenina.
    • He says he wants to know what passion is. He wants to feel something strongly. He wishes he could be an adult all the time, whereas immediately giving in to desires makes him like an infant.
    • Lenina tells this all to Fanny, concluding that she wishes he weren't so odd, since she really likes his hands and "the way he moves his shoulders."

    (Click the summary infographic to download.)

  • Chapter 6: Part 2

    • Chapter 6 opens with Bernard at the door of the Director's room. Like a student sent to the principal's office, he's afraid of being reprimanded.
    • In this particular case, he's afraid of being reprimanded for requesting a permit to visit the New Mexico Reservation.
    • The Director signs his initials on the permit and then reminisces about the time, some twenty-five years ago, when he visited the Reservation himself.
    • This, of course, is a big mistake, since in this world you're not supposed to talk about the past. Ever.
    • But Bernard, curious, says nothing about the error and allows the Director to continue.
    • Continue he does: the Director visited the Reservation with a young Beta girl. Then she got lost, and he had to return home to England without her.
    • Now, the Director sounds pretty upset about this whole thing, but when Bernard expresses his sympathy, he sternly responds that he had no sort of emotional attachment to the lost girl whatsoever.
    • Sounds suspicious.
    • Now that he's all crabby, he goes on to reprimand Bernard. Alphas, he says, don't have to be infantile (because they have the intelligence not to), but it is their duty to choose to be infantile.
    • He adds that if he ever hears another report of Bernard not acting like an infant, he'll send him to Iceland. SO THERE.
    • Except this little threat doesn't exactly have the intended effect. Bernard leaves absolutely elated because he has established his individuality, become a rebel, fought authority.
    • Anyway, Bernard is all "I can fight giants!" and, besides, he knows Iceland was just an empty threat.
    • That night, he narrates the whole encounter to his BFF Helmholtz, embellishing a little bit with his claim that he told the Director to "Go to the Bottomless Past."
    • Helmholtz is less than enthusiastic. He likes that Bernard is someone he can talk to, but he hates that the man is prone to such boasting and such self-pity. So he just stares at the floor and doesn't say anything.

    (Click the summary infographic to download.)

  • Chapter 6: Part 3

    • Lenina and Bernard fly to Santa Fe, New Mexico. The hotel room is awesome, since it has television, liquid air (?), and "hot contraceptives." (We don't even want to know.)
    • Lenina says that "progress is lovely." Bernard responds that this is a phrase repeated five hundred times a week between the ages of thirteen and seventeen. All in all, a typical exchange between the two.
    • Bernard warns her that there aren't going to be any luxuries on the Reservation, so she'd better prepare herself for it.
    • The next morning the pair presents their permit card to the Reservation Warden, an Alpha-Minus. He proceeds to pelt them with useless facts about the Reservation.
    • Meanwhile, Bernard remembers that he left the tap in the bathroom running; not the water tap, but the Eau de Cologne tap. Shoot, he thinks, this will cost a fortune.
    • Lenina, who has taken half a gram of soma, has no idea what the Warden is talking about as he describes the voltage of the electric fence. But she "oohs" and "ahhs" anyway.
    • The Warden makes it clear that, with this electric fence, no one can "escape" from the Reservation. Hmm.
    • Bernard tries to hurry everything up (so he can go shut the tap off), but the Warden holds him back while lecturing about the Reservation's horrors (people are born here! Eww).
    • Basically, the world of the Reservation that the Warden describes is much like ours.
    • Bernard finally gets to a phone and calls Helmholtz to have him turn off the tap. Helmholtz then reveals that the Director is looking for someone to take Bernard's place. In other words, Iceland is waiting for Bernard.
    • Bernard is stunned. He had once hoped for some great pain to afflict him so that he could feel what it was like to face it without soma. But now that such a persecution has come to him, he sees that he has no courage to face it after all. He desperately regrets angering the Director.
    • Lenina finally convinces him to take four tablets of soma, which is a lot. (Half a gram, or one tablet, will get you high.)
    • Then she and Bernard get into a plane and cross over the border, into the Reservation. They pass by the aforementioned electric fence, surrounded by the bones of animals that "never learn" from seeing others electrocuted.

    (Click the summary infographic to download.)

    • Bernard laughs at this. Because it's funny? No, because he's taken four soma tablets. Then he promptly falls asleep again, not because he's tired, but because, well, you get the point. He sleeps through most of the air tour and wakes up when they land.
    • Bernard and Lenina are dropped at the "rest-house" inside the Reservation and assured that the savages won't do them any harm (because they're used to getting GAS BOMBED if they do).
  • Chapter 7

    • Lenina and Bernard are left at Malpais. Lenina is being whiny— she doesn't like it here, and she doesn't like their Indian guide (mostly because he doesn't smell good).
    • The guide leads them, amid the sound of beating drums, to the bottom of a three-hundred-foot precipice.
    • Lenina doesn't like this, either, because it makes her feel small.
    • Following behind the guide, she and Bernard proceed to climb upwards, finally emerging on a flat deck of stone at the top. Two little Indians come running along, naked and painted, which totally freaks out Lenina. They're also carrying snakes, which doesn't help her comfort level.
    • When they get to the pueblo, the guide leaves to go in and ask for directions. She can't deal with the general dirtiness, since "cleanliness is next to fordliness."
    • Bernard reminds her that these people haven't heard of Our Ford, and that they are used to living this way.
    • The two of them observe an old man climbing down a ladder. Lenina is horrified: she's never seen such an old man before. Bernard explains that they (in the controlled world) have learned to keep people "young" until they're about sixty, at which point they die. So, they don't have such thing as old age.
    • Lenina has had enough. She goes for her soma, only to realize she left it behind.
    • But Bernard has no difficulty at all. In fact, he makes a point of commenting on all the savage goings-on, like breast-feeding and combing for lice. Basically, it's his way of proving that he's a big tough man.
    • Lenina finds a substitute for drugs: pounding drums. She tries to lose herself in the music with a good ol' round of "orgy-porgy."
    • Alas, this doesn't last for long—the drumming quickly turns into a ritualistic, ceremonial dance.
    • The "savages" are dancing and screaming "as though they were being killed," which we think (not-coincidentally) reminds us of the earlier orgy-porgy scene from the other world.
    • The leader of the dancers starts tossing the snakes about the room. Great.
    • A crucifix is brought out along with a boy of eighteen, naked except for a white cloth (strategically placed, we expect). He makes the sign of the cross and begins to circle around a pile of snakes. As he walks, a man with a coyote mask whips him. He just keeps walking.
    • Lenina can't take it—she's all tears and "Oh, no, stop!"
    • Finally, the boy collapses. An old man touches a white feather to the boy's bloody body, which not surprisingly turns red. He shakes it over the pile of snakes, dropping the blood onto the writhing creatures.
    • The dancers all pick up the snakes and run away, leaving behind the collapsed, bloody boy on the floor. Three women pick him up and carry him away, hopefully for some sort of medical treatment and not more lashings.
    • Bernard and Lenina are left alone (Lenina: sob "it's so terrible!" sob) until a young man, white but wearing Indian dress, joins them. He asks them if they're civilized, that is, they come from outside the Reservation.
    • Bernard is shocked; the savages don't generally know about the outside world.
    • The young man points to the blood on the floor and says, "Do you see that damned spot?" (Shakespeare, anyone?)
    • Lenina responds with a useless hypnopaedic rhyme. Thanks.
    • The young man says he himself should have been the sacrifice (that is, the boy that got ritualistically whipped). He would have put up with more whipping. He would have been more of a man. But he says they never give him the chance to do fun stuff like that because he's white (not dark-skinned like the other Indians).
    • Meanwhile, the young man hasn't yet looked at Lenina. When he does, little animated hearts go flying through the air. (You know, essentially.)
    • He averts his eyes again from the beauty that is Lenina. Meanwhile, he explains to them both that his mother, Linda, came from the Other Place (meaning off the Reservation) before he was born.
    • Bernard starts paying close attention—as you should. The savage reveals that his father's name is Tomakin. The text tells you parenthetically that the Director's name is Tomas, in case you had trouble putting two and two together. That is, the Director is this guy's father; Linda is the woman who "got lost" in the savage Reservation. Got it?

    (Click the summary infographic to download.)

    • OK, so then he takes them to his home and tells Linda to come out.
    • Linda is old and "very stout" and wearing tattered clothes, which disgusts Lenina, our favorite material girl.
    • Linda practically throws herself on Lenina. Apparently she, too, is a material girl (it's tough to get rid of years and years of brainwashing hypnopaedia). She's all about Lenina's clothes, appearance, etc. Living in the Savage world has done nothing to ground her in reality or add any depth to her character. Sad.
    • Then we get some of Linda's background, which is also sad. She came into the Reservation operating under the rules of the "civilized" world, chief among them, "Everybody belongs to every one else." She then became, essentially, the village prostitute.
    • Naturally, all the wives of the men sleeping with Linda got upset, went over to Linda's, and gave her a stern talking-to.
    • Her son, John the savage, used to get upset at the fact that his Mom was sleeping around so much. She didn't understand his anger.
    • She said she tried to condition her son a little, but she hadn't been able to do much.
    • Thank Ford.
  • Chapter 8

    • While Lenina and Linda bond with each other inside, Bernard and John are outside talking.
    • Bernard is having a hard time dealing with the reality of the Reservation. It baffles him that there could be two such worlds in coexistence.
    • He asks John to tell him his whole story, from the very beginning.
    • John launches into his life story:
    • Little John is lying down in bed with his mom, and she's singing him to sleep. When he wakes up, a man is trying to sleep with his mom. Linda says, "Not with John here," so the man forcibly removes John, locking him in a different room of the house while he has sex with Linda.
    • He also remembers a dark room with women making blankets. He remembers Linda telling him to play with the other children and her being angry at the people for being such savages.
    • There's also a man named Popé who brings mescal (it's like tequila) over to the house and has lots of sex with Linda.
    • Shortly thereafter, Linda is whipped (literally whipped) by the women in the town because she is sleeping with all their men.
    • When John tries to stop them, he is whipped, too. When he tries to comfort his mother later, she hits him because she resents being his mother. In other words, his life sucks completely, it isn't his fault, and there's nothing he can do about it.
    • Fortunately, Linda's maternal instinct kicks in and she starts doing mothering things, like actually comforting her son. (Until he gets lice.)
    • Mostly, John remembers her telling him all about the "Other Place" (i.e., the world outside of the Reservation), where everything is clean and you can fly whenever you want and you basically have happiness on tap, along with synthetic music, perfumes, and of course narcotics (soma).
    • But when he isn't hearing these stories from Linda, John is hearing other, very different stories from the children of the Reservation. They talk about their legends and their mythology of Jesus and Heaven. Of course, the two worlds get all mixed up in his mind.
    • Linda continues to be a harlot by the standards of the Reservation, and everyone continues to taunt her for it.
    • Yet she somehow finds the time to teach John to read. Unfortunately, the only book she has for him to read is The Chemical and Bacteriological Conditioning of the Embryo. Practical Instructions for Beta Embryo-Store Workers.
    • The boys always make fun of him because Linda doesn't know how to mend clothes; but John has one thing above them: he can read. He doesn't really know what the book is talking about, but still.
    • Linda isn't a great help, since she can't tell him about chemicals (the topic of the book) as she only worked with embryos.
    • But the men of the Pueblo have answers to everything concerning the sky and earth and seeds and a God named Awonawilona.
    • And then, when he is about twelve, John gets a book from Popé: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. (And our Shmoop Lit hearts go pitter-pat.)
    • He opens it and read a passage (which we know to be from Hamlet, though the title isn't mentioned) about lying in the rank sweat of a bed in which dirty things are happening.
    • Despite the subject matter, John sees that the words are beautiful, so much so "that you cried." (Pitter-pat. Pitter-pat.)
    • He compares it to the magic chants of the men in the Reservation, but this is even better because it speaks to him. He even recognizes that, somehow, these words are about Linda and Popé.
    • So of course over the years John comes to hate Popé more and more. He compares him to Iago, the terrible villain of Othello. He then makes himself into Prince Hamlet and Popé into the murderous King Claudius, declaring he will kill him while he lies in bed.
    • And then, one day, he indeed tries to kill Popé, stabbing him with a knife while Popé is sleeping in bed with Linda.
    • Of course, Linda flips out, more because of the blood than anything else. But Popé, despite suffering a stab wound or two, seems to be just fine, calls John "brave," and sends him on his way without so much as a whack.
    • Then (we're still in John's story to Bernard, by the way) one day when John is fifteen, an old man named Mitsima teaches him how to make things out of clay. He forms a fast friendship with this man, who teaches him more valuable, life-saving skills.
    • Next, John recalls a local wedding, which Linda finds to be unnecessary. John, on the other hand, finds it to be upsetting, since he was evidently in love with the bride.
    • When he is sixteen, John tries to take part in a coming-of-age ritual with the rest of the young men of the village. But the leaders won't let him, partly because he's white, partly because he's an outsider, partly because his mother is a loose woman.
    • After being refused, John heads outside and ruminates on his three new discoveries: Time, Death, and God. He also quotes Macbeth ("To-morrow and to-morrow and to-morrow"), which is awesome.
    • OK, enough storytelling. John ends his tale by saying that he is "alone, always alone," and Bernard basically says, " OMG! Me too!"
    • Both men agree that it doesn't matter which world you're in (the "civilized" or the "savage"): if you're different, you're going to be alone.
    • John says that when he wasn't allowed to take part in rituals, he would go through the motions by himself. Once he stood against a rock with his arms outstretched—"like Jesus on the cross"—to suffer in the hot sun. Why? Because he thought he should. If he was unhappy for having done something wrong, this was his way of dealing with it.
    • Bernard recognizes that, in his world, the way of dealing with it is to take soma, but he thinks John's way is better.
    • John shows him a scar on his forehead that he received when, particularly exhausted from pretending to be Jesus, he fell over.
    • Bernard doesn't feel pity but rather disgust with the visceral physicality of John's wound. Basically, the text says, conditioning has made him squeamish.
    • He then asks John to come back to London with him. (We're guessing that's not allowed.)
    • John is giddy as a puppy, and wants Linda to come, too. Bernard is less comfortable with this, since Linda is old and overweight and repulsive to him, but he decides he can actually use all that to his advantage.
    • John, calmed down a bit, asks Bernard if he remembers "what Miranda says." Bernard doesn't know who Miranda is, so John proceeds to quote from Shakespeare's The Tempest: "O wonder […]. How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! […] O brave new world that has such people in it!"
    • Before he can get really excited, John wants to know if Bernard is married to Lenina. When he hears "no," he goes back to being happy.
  • Chapter 9

    • When they return to their hotel room, Lenina takes three grams of soma and peaces out for about eighteen hours.
    • Bernard, on the other hand, stays up to hatch a plot to get John and Linda back to London. The next morning, he leaves Lenina (still on her "soma holiday") and flies back to Malpais.
    • Once there, he gets on the phone and goes through secretary after secretary before getting hold of Mustapha Mond, World Controller. Bernard convinces him that this is a matter of "scientific interest," so Mustapha agrees to let him bring John and Linda back to London.
    • Next, Bernard talks to the Warden and makes a big deal out of pretending he's a pal of Mustapha, that they talk all the time because he (Bernard) is so important.
    • Meanwhile, while Bernard is running around, John is standing outside the rest house and wondering why no one is there. He thinks he's been let down by Bernard.
    • So John breaks in. He rummages through Lenina's luggage, gets all crazy at the smell of her perfume, is endlessly fascinated by the zippers on her clothing, and finally sees the woman herself, asleep on the bed in a pink onesey. (Yes, a pink onesey. See our "Tools of Characterization.")
    • John kneels beside her and murmurs over her beauty. He quotes first from Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida and then from Romeo and Juliet.
    • He briefly contemplates unzipping her onesey but then chides himself for such an immodest thought. Then, before he knows it, he hears the sound (BUZZ—important) of a helicopter outside, which means Bernard is back. John hightails it out of there.
  • Chapter 10

    • Back in London, the lively sound (BUZZ!) of the busy worker bees (metaphor) fills the hive (more metaphor) of the Hatchery and Conditioning Centre.
    • We also feel obligated to bring you the following detail: children are busy at their erotic play, such as "hunt the zipper."
    • The Director, looking quite grumpy, meets with Henry Foster. They are discussing Bernard Marx.
    • Foster ventures that Bernard does his job well, but the Director says that, because of his intelligence, Bernard has a greater social responsibility. It is better for one individualin this case, Bernardto suffer than for many men to be corrupted by his ideas. All in the name of Society.
    • Speak of the devil; here comes Bernard.
    • The Director stops everyone within shouting distance from their work. They all listen to a public announcement proclaiming, essentially, that Bernard is a jerk. He has betrayed his social responsibilities. He concludes by asking Bernard if there's any good reason that he not be banished to Iceland, ASAP.
    • Bernard says, "Actually, yes," and he brings Linda in from the hallway. Of course, she's old and overweight, so everyone is disgusted, but none so much as the Director, whom she immediately embraces as her old flame.
    • The Director tries to deny everything ("That ain't my baby!") when Linda tells him that she had a child.
    • As if that were not bad enough, John comes in from the hallway and is all, "Daddy!" The workers are in an uproar because they think this is all some hilarious joke.
    • The Director, not quite the calm, tactful gentlemen, runs away.
  • Chapter 11

    • Of course the big spectacle that just went down becomes all the rage.
    • So what happens? Well, the Director resigns immediately. Linda is ostracized, because no one wants to see an overweight older woman. Not that it bothers her at all. She settles down to a solitary life of nothing but soma, 24/7.

    (Click the summary infographic to download.)

    • The doctor realizes that with her taking as much as twenty grams of soma a day, she's going to die in about a month or two. Again, that doesn't seem to bother anyone.
    • Except John. Fortunately, the Doctor is able to convince him that he's actually lengthening Linda's life, since an hour or two on soma holiday feels like a whole eternity. John responds by quoting a line from Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra: "Eternity was in our lips and eyes."
    • So that's pretty much it for Linda.
    • But John is a different story. He's still young and really good-looking, and everyone is interested in him. This makes Bernard all chipper, since now everyone goes out of their way to be nice to him, too.
    • Even Fanny admits that Bernard is a good guy.
    • With his newfound popularity, Bernard's been sleeping with a lot of women lately. Like, one or two girls a day, as he joyfully tells Helmholtz Watson.
    • Helmholtz is gloomy. Bernard thinks he's jealous, but Helmholtz responds that he's "rather sad." Bernard leaves in a huff and tells himself he'll never speak to his friend again. (Are you starting to like this guy less and less or what?)
    • So Bernard, who finally has respect and all the sex he can handle, starts to really love this world he once despised. But he still likes to criticize it all the time, because 1) he can, and 2) it makes him feel even more important.
    • Needless to say, this starts frustrating people. They just pretend to like Bernard because of his connection to the savage, John.
    • Cut to Bernard himself, up high in the Charing-T Tower with some weathermen (weird, yes) and John. He tries to impress John with the fact that a flying machine called the Bombay Green Rocket can travel at 1,250 kilometers an hour (about 800 mph), but John simply responds that Ariel (the magic fairy thing from Shakespeare's The Tempest) could go round the earth in forty minutes. SO THERE.
    • In his written report to Mustapha Mond, Bernard describes how John really isn't that awed by the new world. He adds that John seems to be preoccupied with this thing called "the soul."
    • But what Bernard writes isn't as important as how he writes ithe's condescending and quite insulting to Mustapha in his presumptions. Mustapha is all, "I'll teach that arrogant little jerk a lesson, but maybe later because I'm kind of busy right now."
    • Now we jump to a small factory, part of the Electrical Equipment Corporation. There, the Human Element Manager takes John on a tour, pointing out the assembly-line-style work that's being done.
    • John sees dozens of identical (bokanovskified) workers laboring in endless repetition. Because they are of the lower castes (Deltas, Gammas, and Epsilons), many of them are deformed (noseless, dwarfish, etc.). Unable to stand the sight, John runs off to be violently sick, but not before repeating Miranda's words from The Tempest: "O brave new world, that has such people in it."
    • Bernard writes more in his reports. He thinks it odd that the Savage goes to see his mother so often. It seems that John has overcome the "natural impulse" to "recoil from an unpleasant object."
    • Next, John visits Eton, a school in London. Accompanied, as always, by Bernard, he meets his tour guides, Dr. Gaffney (the Provost) and Miss Keate (the Headmistress).
    • While John makes sure there won't be dozens of identical drones here, Bernard hits on Miss Keate.
    • John is baffled by the Alpha-Double-Plus students, who are learning about elementary relativity. He later learns that "Savage Reservations" are places that weren't worth the expense to civilize. He is also horrified to see that a class watching scenes of devout Christians beating themselves while asking for Jesus's forgiveness can do nothing but laugh at the scenes before them.
    • Meanwhile, in the darkness of the classroom, Bernard is flirting with Miss Keate.
    • John asks the kids if they read Shakespeare. The answer is no, because if they're only looking for entertainment, they'd rather go to the feelies. They don't condone "solitary amusements."
    • Next, several busloads of children arrive, fresh in from the CREMATORIUM (!!!). There, they received toys and ice cream, so as to be conditioned into the attitude that death is nothing to get upset about.
    • While John holds back his disgust, Bernard makes a date for that evening with the Headmistress.
    • On the way back home, Bernard and John stop at the Television Corporation factory. While Bernard runs inside, John watches the lower caste men on their way home from work, each with a little cardboard box.
    • Bernard returns; John, thinking of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, asks him about the contents of those little "caskets." (For details on this and other Shakespeare references, see our "Allusions" page.)
    • Bernard explains that the boxes all have two grams of soma— their daily ration.
    • Meanwhile, back at the Changing Room, Lenina dresses excitedly, revealing to Fanny that Bernard is busy so she gets to take "the Savage" to the feelies for the night.
    • Fanny thinks to herself that Lenina is lucky to share so much of Bernard's spotlight in regards to the Savage. More to the point, all the big important men have been having sex with her.
    • But, Lenina says, most of these men just want to hear about what it's like to have sex with the Savage. Basically, no one believes her when she says she never slept with him.
    • That transitions the girls nicely into the conversation of whether or not John likes Lenina. He avoids her, she says, but he also seems to stare at her a lot, which is confusing. (Of course, those of us who experienced pigtail-pulling on the playground don't find this confusing at all, but if you've been brought up playing erotic games of "hunt the zipper," subtlety isn't exactly your forte.)
    • John's feelings aside, one thing is certain: Lenina has the hots for him. And she thinks tonight's as good a chance as any for them to finally hook up.
    • At the feelies that night, she and John relax to the smells and sounds of the scent organ (just… read your book. We can't explain this one to you). There's a big deal made out of the fact that the musical notes can range as low as the lowest note ever sung and as high as, well, the highest note ever sung (by humans, anyway).
    • Two senses down, two more on the way when the feely starts.
    • The feely playing tonight is Three Weeks in a Helicopter.
    • We start off with… a sex scene. John, because he's holding onto the amazing technological breakthrough that is the feely armrest, can feel the tingling on his lips. And other places. There's also the aforementioned bearskin rug. No joke.
    • So the sex in question is between a black man (unknown caste) and a Beta-Plus blonde. Everything is going fine (in the film) until the man bumps his head, gets a concussion, and becomes madly in love with the blonde, which is not allowed in a world where everyone belongs to everyone else.
    • The black man kidnaps the blonde women and takes her up in his helicopter for… you got it, three weeks. But not to worry; all ends well. The helicopter is apprehended, the man is sent to Adult Re-conditioning, and the blonde has sex with all three of the men who rescued her.
    • Sometime during this sex-fest, the bearskin rug is brought out for a second appearance, and everyone stops to have a symphony of sexophones.
    • Needless to say, Lenina is unbelievably turned on by the time the feely is over. Anyway, she's pretty much ready to go. She takes John's arm and brings it toward her, but he's all bashful with downcast eyes and such. Feeling unworthy, he tells Lenina she shouldn't see things like that (meaning the sex scenes like those in the feely).
    • This makes Lenina feel bad, but it doesn't kill her interest in him at all. When their taxicopter lands on the roof of her apartment building, she fully expects John to follow her inside.
    • Of course, being the gentleman "savage" and all, John simply says "good night" and gets into the helicopter. Looking below him as his helicopter zooms off, he can see Lenina standing on the roof calling after him.
    • After arriving safely at home, John sits down to read Othello. He remembers that Othello, much like the man in the feely, is a black man.
    • Cut to Lenina, who is horribly upset and, predictably, takes some soma to deal with it.
  • Chapter 12

    • Chapter 12 starts with Bernard yelling through a locked door to John, begging him to come out because "everyone is waiting" for him.
    • John has a cow. He yells something in Zuñi, the language of the Indians on the Reservation.
    • All the people who came to see the Savage, in turn, have a cow themselves. And they take it out on Bernard by making fun of his less-than-perfect physique.
    • Meanwhile, Lenina sits alone, planning her attack. Her sex attack, that is. (Actually, what she has in mind is more of a "I have the biggest crush ever on you!" sort of thing.)
    • Then she hears that John isn't coming out to play, and she feels like she's just been hit with a Violent Passion Surrogate (again, don't ask us).
    • Bernard's ego, meanwhile, is deflating like a balloon as everyone talks about what a loser he is.
    • The whole thing is particularly mortifying, since at this "Meet the Savage" dinner party the Arch-Community-Songster of Canterbury was in attendance. (He's a big deal. People know him.)
    • Very angry, the Arch-Community-Songster leaves. Adding insult to injury, he takes Lenina with him. For some sex. Ouch.
    • Bernard is devastated. He takes some soma to deal with it. (What ever happened to "wanting to feel anger"?)
    • In the meantime, John is holed up in his room reading Romeo and Juliet.
    • Next we jump to Mustapha Mond, who is reading a paper called "The New Theory of Biology." He decides it is novel, genius, and all-around awesome, but that it can't be published because it's subversive. Also, he suspects the author may need to be moved to a remote location devoid of all human contact.
    • The problem with the paper is that it discusses a notion of "purpose." This is dangerous: if the upper castes start thinking about purpose, they may come to believe that conditioning serves some purpose other than everyone's immediate happiness. And that spells trouble. It spells it with the letters u-p-r-i-s-i-n-g.
    • Back to John, who is enmeshed in the ecstasy that is Romeo and Juliet, or, more specifically, Romeo's description of his gorgeous new flame.
    • We jump momentarily to Lenina, who finds that she has to take soma just to bring herself to sleep with the Arch-Community-Song-whatever guy.
    • Bernard is himself in the middle of a lovely soma-induced sleep, but by the time he wakes up, he's sober.
    • John confronts him and says that, this morning, with Bernard being all grumpy, he's much more like the guy he was at Malpais when they first met. John adds that he would "rather be unhappy than have the sort of false, lying happiness" that Bernard was having.
    • Bernard responds to this nugget of enlightenment gold by complaining about how John ditched the dinner party and cost him (Bernard) his reputation.
    • Finally, Bernard comes around to admitting that he's being a twerp. But inwardly he continues to harbor a "secret grievance" against John, which means that revenge is likely coming soon.
    • Now the text gets all philosophical about how Bernard really just needs to take his revenge out on one victim, any victim, and since the Arch-Singer guy is out of the question, the Savage is the easiest target. It's the job of friends, Huxley tells us, to suffer for us when our enemies are too inaccessible.
    • Which brings us to Bernard's other "friend-victim": Helmholtz Watson. Now that he's been burned, Bernard goes to his buddy, the popular, sexy Alpha male, for help.
    • Helmholtz, a true champ and a good friend, forgets that Bernard was a total jerk earlier and offers his services.
    • Unfortunately, this offer backfires, as Bernard realizes that, if Helmholtz can act like this, he is not only better looking, physically stronger, and more well-liked than Bernard, but he is also more magnanimous. He realizes that Helmholtz's general awesome nature stems from true character, not from the false products of soma.
    • Because of this, Helmholtz becomes another guy on whom Bernard would like to take some revenge.
    • Although, as it turns out, Helmholtz is also having some trouble with Authority. The trouble goes a little something like this:
    • Helmholtz was giving a lecture on Advanced Emotional Engineering, more specifically, the use of rhyming propaganda. He then presented some… er… questionable rhymes as an example, and to see what their reactions would be. The Principal then threatened to fire him, and now he's a "marked man."
    • Bernard quite reasonably wants to know what the rhymes were.
    • The rhymes are a poem about being alone, about being melancholy and reflective in one's solitude. In his poem, Helmholtz becomes aware of the "presence" of some "absurd essence," but something more solid and more real than all the girls he has sex with. (For those of you actually looking at the poem in your text, when he lists the names "Susan" and "Egeria," those are his examples of vapid (dull or lifeless) women he at one time or another passed the time with.) The "presence," whatever it is, makes him realize that his copulations (i.e., sex) with women are actually "squalid" (dirty).
    • Bernard reminds Helmholtz that solitude is against the law; Helmholtz is all, "Yeah, I know, thanks."
    • Helmholtz then delivers the second of his two beautiful passages in Brave New World: "I feel as though I were just beginning to have something to write about. As though I were beginning to be able to use that power I feel I've got inside me—that extra, latent power. Something seems to be coming to me." We suggest you go compare this to his passage in Chapter 4: Part 2.
    • When Helmholtz and John get together, it's clear that they are kindred spirits. And that Bernard is jealous. So to deal with it, he takes some more soma.
    • During their third time together, Helmholtz reads his lines to John. But John responds with, "Listen to this" and brings out his old, tattered Shakespeare book.
    • Fortunately, Helmholtz isn't easily discouraged. He's way into the poetry John reads, which happens to be "The Phoenix and the Turtle," one of Shakespeare's poems.
    • While Helmholtz and John are sharing a moment, Bernard, quite high, interrupts with: "Orgy-porgy!" This becomes a running gag: every time Helmholtz and John get together to read Shakespeare, Bernard sits around and interjects "Orgy-porgy!" to irritate them. Finally, Helmholtz tells him if he does it again he'll kick him out.
    • So one day they're hanging out and reading Romeo and Juliet. John secretly imagines himself as Romeo and Lenina as Juliet. Helmholtz, meanwhile, is enticed by the language but doesn't understand the subject matter—how can someone get so worked up over a girl?
    • Things are going great until John reads aloud the lines in which Juliet refuses, at her parent's command, to marry Paris. She's busy grieving over her cousin's death and, secretly, pining for Romeo.
    • At this tragic moment, Helmholtz busts out laughing. First of all, the words "mother" and "father" are obscene. Second of all, the idea of then forcing their daughter to sleep with someone, and of her making such a fuss, is "smutty" and "absurd." Also, the idea of Tybalt being dead but not being burned up to be used for his phosphorous is laughable.
    • The Savage is so offended that he locks the book away and, in all likelihood, puts on his pouty face.
    • Helmholtz is still guffawing, but he composes himself enough to declare that Shakespeare could write so well, could write "such X-ray phrases" because he had something really juicy to write about. And what does he (Helmholtz) have to write about? Nothing. He needs "some other kind of violence and madness," something other than lust or marriage or family issues, but he doesn't know what that might be.
  • Chapter 13

    • At work, Henry Foster invites Lenina to a feely.
    • When she refuses the invitation, he's eager to know who she's having sex with instead of him (he puts it a little more delicately than that). Not because he's jealous, but because it's fun to know who is sleeping with whom.
    • Lenina responds that she's not going out with anyone else that night. Foster hopes she's not ill and suggests that perhaps she needs a Violent Passion Surrogate.
    • Lenina tells him to shut up. She gets so flustered that she blunders her lab work. She isn't sure whether or not she's given one particular bottle its vaccination for sleeping sickness. She decides not to risk dosing it a second time and moves to the next.
    • "Twenty-two years, eight months, and four days" later, a young Alpha-Minus in Tanzania will die of sleeping sickness—the first case in fifty years.
    • Later, in the Changing Room, Fanny can't believe that Lenina would be so worked up over one man (that would be John).
    • Lenina responds that she's tried "dozens" of other men to get over him, but it's not working. The girl needs some John-love now.
    • Fanny suggests that she just go over there and rape John.
    • We're not kidding. She says to "take him" "whether he wants it or no."
    • They finally conclude that Lenina should throw herself brazenly at the man, although she has to take half a gram of soma to give herself the courage.
    • So John is sitting around, the picture of innocent virginity, waiting for Helmholtz to come over so they can talk about his burning (and also very virginal) love for Lenina, when the woman in question shows up.
    • Lenina marches right in. John mumbles around about how he's trying to do something worthy of her. On the Reservation, he explains, they used to kill mountain lions with their bare hands, and other stuff in that vein, but since there aren't any mountain lions around London, he thought that maybe he could do something else, like clean her carpet.
    • Lenina explains that there are vacuum cleaners for such purposes. Besides, she wants sex with him now, worthy or not.
    • Finally he just tells her that he loves her and then starts talking about marriage, which totally freaks out Lenina. Even worse, he quotes some Shakespeare (The Tempest) about how you shouldn't go breaking any virgin knots before marriage. The idea of "knots" further confuses Lenina, who isn't one for metaphors.
    • She grabs John's wrist and asks if he loves her. When he says yes, Lenina, in a frenzy of S&M and religious symbolism, "[drives] her sharp nails into the skin of his wrist." She says if she didn't like John so much, she'd be furious with him (presumably for getting her all hot and bothered like this).
    • Then she throws herself at him. While they are making out, John can't help but remember the feely Three Weeks in a Helicopter.
    • John protests, and Lenina un-plasters herself from his body. He thinks she got the message, that is, until she starts stripping.
    • John awkwardly stands around and quotes some more Shakespeare while Lenina takes off her panties.
    • Anyway, they're not called panties in the civilized world; they're "zippicamiknicks." All of her clothing, we note, has zippers (all the easier for taking off).
    • John is just about paralyzed by the time Lenina gets her (naked) arms around him while singing a sexy, hypnotizing ditty.
    • He resorts to the only action left to him: grabbing her by the wrist, forcibly tearing her off him, and calling her an "impudent strumpet" (a Shakespearean term for "whore," although he also calls her that directly, lest there be any ambiguity).
    • Lenina runs to the bathroom, but not before taking a slap from John. She quickly locks herself in behind the closed door.
    • Outside the bathroom door, John spews some more Shakespeare —this time, lines from King Lear about how birds and insects have sex shamelessly in front of man's eyes.
    • But then he just goes back to calling her a whore, via Othello.
    • Lenina calls out that it would be kind of nice if maybe he could hand over her clothes. John tries to open the door to do so, but she refuses. Instead, she tells him to push them through the ventilator.
    • While Lenina dresses in the bathroom and wonders how long this ridiculous scene is going to continue, John paces up and down the room, still calling her a whore, until the phone rings.
    • We only hear one side of the conversation, but it becomes clear that "she" is ill (we're thinking John's mother), so he rushes out.
    • Lenina realizes that it's now safe to leave the bathroom, but she's still flustered.
  • Chapter 14

    • The scene opens at the Park Lane Hospital for the Dying. John arrives to see that the hospital is a haven of technology, with scents and televisions running at open tap all the time.
    • But he's had enough of that: he wants to see his mother. She's dying.
    • Linda is propped up in bed watching some futuristic version of tennis. She has been darting in and out of her soma-induced sleep.
    • The nurse hurries off to greet some children (remember that the young'ins are brought to the hospital to get desensitized to death), leaving John alone with his mom.
    • Looking at her now, John tries to recall the lively woman she once was by humming the songs she used to sing.
    • And then he remembers this world—the civilized worldas Linda used to describe it to him, as a "beautiful, beautiful Other Place […], a paradise of goodness and loveliness." He actually keeps these memories separate from the reality of what he has seen in London. It remains a place "whole and intact, undefiled."
    • John, crying, opens his eyes to find the "children" whom the nurse went to greet streaming into the room, one identical eight-year-old male after another, all dressed in khaki (so they're Deltas).
    • Of course, the kids are all in shock because they've never seen anyone like Linda before. She's overweight and old. John grabs one particularly disgusted child and gives him a good sock. The nurse rushes in.
    • She orders John to 1) stop hitting the children and 2) stop being such a bother, and then she leaves with the children and gets them playing hunt-the-zipper.
    • Linda starts to wake, and John tries to return to his pleasant memories. But all he can think of now is the not-so-pleasant stuff: Popé bleeding after he stabbed him and the boys calling Linda names. He tries to block these thoughts out by humming one of Linda's songs ("Vitamin D, vitamin D, vitamin D," not terribly captivating, but we're talking about a kid's song here).
    • The programmed scent in the room changes and Linda wakes. Um, sort of. She's still in her soma-stupor, so she just murmurs something about Popé.
    • Needless to say, this makes John upset, not because of the Freudian implications, but rather for the "Argh, my nice memories are destroyed because now all I can think about is the rank, vile sweat of my mom's lecherous bed."
    • So, in a rage, John shakes Linda awake, yelling at her, "I'm John! I'm John!"
    • Linda recognizes her son, but she's still tripped out on soma. In her mind, she's on vacation with her hunk of man meat (Popé, the mescal-man), and John is "intruding."
    • She starts to insist that "everyone belongs to every one else," but she basically dies right around the second "every."
    • John yells for help, so the nurse and all the identical eight-year-olds come into the room, but it's too late. John breaks down crying, which the Nurse worries will "decondition" the children into thinking death is actually something terrible.
    • John can do nothing now except repeat the word "God" over and overof course, no one knows what that is. When one of the children asks himcasually, while eating a chocolate éclairif Linda is dead, John knocks him over and walks away.
  • Chapter 15

    • Fortunately for John, he's leaving the hospital. Unfortunately for John, all 162 Delta workers from the hospitalcomposed of only two Bokanovsky groupsare leaving at the same time. This is a not-so-pleasant experience for our young hero. He describes them as maggots crawling over the site of Linda's death.
    • The "maggots" are lining up for their daily ration of soma. John again repeats Miranda's words from The Tempest: "O brave new world, O brave new world," but this time, he says, the words mock him with cynicism. They reveal the "nauseous ugliness" of this world.
    • But then the words seem to him like a challenge, a declaration of the possibility that, maybe, this horror can be transformed into something "fine and noble."
    • Watching the Deltas in line for their drug, John realizes that Linda had been made a slave and that the thing to do is to embrace freedom. He says as much to the khaki-wearing Deltas. He tells them soma is poison for their bodies and their souls.
    • The Deltas, collectively, are all: "Huh?" and the Deputy Sub-Bursar just wants John to go away so he can continue doing his job of distributing everyone's favorite narcotic. (He obviously didn't take the whole "poison to your soul" thing to heart.)
    • When John declares that he is bringing them all freedom, the Deputy quickly makes a phone call.
    • We jump to Bernard, who realizes that he has lost the Savage. Helmholtz doesn't know where John is either until he gets a phone call from his frantic friend at the hospital.
    • John is still yelling at all Deltas for being babies, for being slaves, for puking everywhere (symbolically).
    • Of course, the Deltas are too stupid to understand himuntil he starts throwing their soma out of the window. That they understand.
    • Bernard and Helmholtz, having just arrived, discover the scene. Bernard stands around like a ninny, saying, "Ford help him!," while Helmholtz counters with, "Ford helps those who help themselves," laughs maniacally, and pushes his way through the crowd toward John.
    • John rejoices to have another Helmholtz join him. He continues to yell "Free!" at the Deltas, which has even more of an effect when he shows them the empty soma box.
    • The Deltas flip out to see their drugs gone and start charging at Helmholtz and John. Bernard wonders if he should help, starts to, thinks better of it, and generally wastes time being indecisive over whether he values his own hide more than the lives of his friends until the police arrive.
    • Now, these aren't your friendly, neighborhood police. These are gas-masked, vapor-soma-spraying brutes. Armed with the gas and other horrifying futuristic tools of oppression (water guns filled with anesthetic), they quickly attack everything that's moving.
    • Bernard, who does nothing but yell because it makes him feel important, gets shot with anesthetic, which renders him unconscious.
    • Now, the police also have a Synthetic Music Box, out of which comes a Voice of Reason to calm everyone down with a lovely rendition of Synthetic Anti-Riot Speech Number Two. All the voice really does is tell everyone to be "happy and good." Over and over and over.
    • So all the Deltas calm down and go home. And… that's pretty much it, as far as the riot act goes.

    (Click the summary infographic to download.)

    • John and Helmholtz, who are not without injuries from the whole fiasco, agree to "come quietly" with the police so as to avoid getting put under with anesthetic.
    • Bernard has woken up and is trying to sneak out the back door stealthily when one of the police apprehends him and says that he had better come along too, since he's a friend of "the prisoner's."
  • Chapter 16

    • The three men are brought into the Controller's study and told to wait for his fordship.
    • Helmholtz, amazingly, seems to be in good spirits. He tries joking around with Bernard, but Bernard is having none of it. Bernard goes to pout in the corner.
    • John, on the other hand, wanders around the office examining Mustapha's various relics. He finds a book by Our Ford—My Life and Workbut he judges it to be rather dull.
    • Finally, Mustapha enters. He shakes hands with all three men and then addresses John: "So you don't much like civilization."
    • John admits this is true, which terrifies Bernard (only because he's afraid of it reflecting on poorly on him as John's friend).
    • When John says he at least likes the nice trinkets, like Synthetic Music Boxes, Mustapha responds by… quoting Shakespeare! In this case, a line from The Tempest about "a thousand twangling instruments."
    • John is in awe; Mustapha admits that Shakespeare is banned and that few here have read his works. But, since he gets to make the rules, he gets to break them. Seriously the man who controls the world is operating on playground logic.
    • At John's questioning, Mustapha explains that things that are old (like Shakespeare) are prohibited, especially when they're beautiful (like Shakespeare) because then they might be enticing.
    • John thinks this world is stupid. And all the new things are stupid, especially the feelies. They're the most stupid of all. Actually, he uses more Othello quotes to say this, so it's a little more eloquent.
    • John would rather the citizens watch Othello, come to think of it, but Mustapha reminds him that they wouldn't understand it anyway.
    • Well, John responds, why not something new? Something with the passion and intensity of Shakespeare, but about subject matter that these people could understand.
    • Helmholtz chimes in —that's exactly what he has been wanting to write.
    • But Mustapha is adamant that this just isn't possible. If writing were passionate, the people wouldn't understand it. They don't understand anger, sadness, tragedythey're just "blissfully ignorant." Just look at the reaction to John's little rebellion of the day: chucking soma out of the window in the name of liberty. The Deltas didn't even understand that. How are they ever going to understand Othello?
    • Mustapha admits that, sure, Othello is better than the feelies, but "high art" is the "price you have to pay for stability" and for "happiness." So they have the feelies instead.
    • John thinks the feelies are, in the words of Macbeth, "told by an idiot." Helmholtz agrees, even though he writes that sort of dribble.
    • The Controller agrees that happiness is a poor substitute for passion. "Happiness is never grand," he says.
    • John then moves on to the subject of Bokanovsky twins, which disgust him. Mustapha just counters that they're useful.
    • John wants to know why they don't make everyone an Alpha-Double-Plus. Mustapha explains that there is a lot of mindless work to be done (like factory button-pushing), and if Alphas had to do it they would go mad and rebel. Of course, Alphas are conditioned in their own waythey're still metaphorically stuck inside a bottle, it's just that their bottle is bigger, their degree of freedom higher.
    • Mustapha then launches into a story in order to explain himself further. In A.F. 473 (161 years earlier), the World Controllers cleared the island of Cyprus and then populated it with twenty-two thousand Alphas. They were given all the necessary equipment but then left largely to their own devices to run the island.
    • The result? Chaos. The Alpha in low-grade jobs were unhappy, wanted better lives, and seemed to be forever on strike. Six years into the experiment, there was a civil war, killing all but three thousand people. The survivors asked the World Controllers to take over again.
    • He continues with a rather chilling (pun intended!) metaphor: the ideal population is like an iceberg, with one-ninth above the water, the other eight-ninths below.
    • John is shocked. Could the people below the water line possibly be happy?
    • Yes, Mustapha says, much more happy than you. They don't find their jobs menial, they find them comforting. In fact, the Controllers have to create extra work to keep them happy: they once tried a four-hour work day in Ireland, and it was a disaster (everyone just sat around and took more soma).
    • So while they have the technology to minimize work, they don't use it. Leisure is cruelty to the lower castes.
    • He continues: even science is a possible enemy. Every new discovery is potentially subversive.
    • John has heard this word (science) mentioned before, but he doesn't really know what it means.
    • Helmholtz doesor at least he thinks he does. "Science is everything" is one of the hypnopaedic phrases from the conditioning process.
    • The Controller laughs. None of them, he says, knows what real science is. In fact, he himself used to be a physicist. A good one, actually, so good that he once came up with a new discovery (he doesn't say what) that was important enough to land him in trouble. In fact, he was almost sent to an island for it, which, by the way, is what's going to happen to everyone else in the room.
    • At hearing this, Bernard freaks out. "You can't send me to an island!" he says, followed by what is essentially an "It's all their fault!" indictment of his two friends.
    • He then starts crying and blubbering at Mustapha's feet until Mustapha orders three police to take him away and give him soma until he stops whining.
    • Once Bernard is out of the way, Mustapha can get to the good stuff. He declares that, actually, being sent to an island is an incredible gift. On an island, one meets the best people: those who are "not satisfied with orthodoxy" and are conscious of their individuality. In a way, Mustapha even envies Helmholtz.
    • The only reason he isn't on an island is that he was given a choice between the island or the job of World Controller. He gave up a scientific career for this, and he sometimes regrets it. "Happiness is a hard master," he says. And while science is a good way to gain control, it's also dangerous and must be curbed.
    • Back in the day of Our Ford, he continues, everyone thought science was the cat's meow: "Knowledge was the highest good, truth the supreme value; all the rest was secondary and subordinate."
    • The transition from truth and beauty to comfort and happiness started with mass production, he explains. But the big shift didn't happen until the Nine Years' War. With the advent of anthrax bombs, they started really trying to control science. And people didn't care that beauty and truth were being sacrificed.
    • But there is always a price to pay for happiness. Mustapha claims Helmholtz is paying for it because he's too interested in beauty. And Mustapha himself is paying for it because he is too interested in truth.
    • It's a good thing, he adds, that there are so many islands in the world. Otherwise they'd just have to kill all the unorthodox people. (Eeek!)
    • He asks Helmholtz where he wants to go—somewhere tropical?
    • Helmholtz says no, he wants a "thoroughly bad climate." After all, he thinks he could write better if the climate were thoroughly bad, with "lots of wind and storms."
    • They settle on the Falkland islands (off the coast of Southern Argentina, only 600 miles from Antarctica), and Helmholtz, satisfied, goes off to check on Bernard.
  • Chapter 17

    • Helmholtz's exit leaves the Controller alone with John, who thinks that beauty and truth are a big sacrifice to make for happiness.
    • Mustapha adds that they also sacrificed religion.
    • The Savage tries to say something about the moments of spiritual sublimity he experienced on the Reservation, but he finds "there were no words" to express this. "Not even in Shakespeare."
    • Mustapha says that the notion of God has always interested him. He removes from his safe a copy of the Bible, The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis, and a third text, William James's The Varieties of Religious Experience. Humorously, he calls them all "pornographic" (because in this world, any such outlawed material is considered smut.)
    • John wants to know why the Controllers don't let people read these books. According to Mustapha, it's the same problem as with Shakespeare's works—they're too old. People wouldn't understand it because God doesn't really exist anymore.
    • He compares the new position of Arch-Community-Songster to that of a Cardinal back in the day. He hands John a book that has something to do with Cardinal Newman (we aren't told which book it is, but see the "Allusions" page for some speculation and general fun) as well as a book by French philosopher Maine de Biran.
    • John responds with a variation of a quote from Hamlet about philosophers: they dream of fewer things than there are in heaven and earth.
    • Mustapha then reads aloud from the Cardinal's book, a passage that says man is not independent, but rather that he is God's property.
    • He then reads from Maine de Biran's work (again, the title isn't revealed, but check out "Allusions" for the fruits of our research). The passage in question observes that, as man finds himself getting old, he tries to pretend (foolishly) that it is a sickness from which he can recover. Many people think fear of death is what makes the elderly turn to God, but de Biran counters in this passage that, as we get older, our thoughts are less obscured by reason and passion. God emerges, "as if from behind a cloud." Therefore, we don't use God to comfort ourselves in death. It is only in approaching death that we can finally see God, a God who has been present our entire lives.
    • Mustapha closes the book and says that this very passage explains why there's no God today. When you never have old age, no one can ever get to the point where they can start turning to God. (Remember, in this brave new world, people maintain the health of a thirty-year-old until they suddenly die.)
    • People also turn to God for comfort in times of misery, but in this new world, there is no misery. There is no suffering. There is no reason to imagine a greater salvation because there's nothing from which to be saved.
    • John asks if this all means that Mustapha himself doesn't believe in God. The Controller responds that, actually, there probably is a God, in his opinion. It's just that God takes many different forms across time, and in this particular part of history, he happens to take an absent one.
    • Now John interrupts with a key question: isn't it natural to think there's a God?
    • A-ha, says Mustapha, but what is a "natural" state. Is it instinct? They've all created "instinctual feelings" through conditioning. The "instinct" to believe in God used to be just another form of conditioning.
    • John knows that solitude often brings on thoughts of God, but Mustapha reminds him that they have essentially outlawed solitude.
    • Mulling this over, John finally responds with a reference to King Lear. He quotes Edgar's lines that the gods are just, and that the vices plaguing us are merely their tools.
    • Mustapha responds that the justice of the gods is merely a reflection of man's laws. Providence is whatever we decide Providence ought to be.
    • John ventures that perhaps today's society is god's punishment; that is, men have been degraded by the society they live in.
    • OK, this part is a little bit tricky to wrap your head around.
    • So, basically, Mustapha responds that man hasn't been degraded at all: he's happy, he's perfect. He realizes that what John means is that, from the point-of-view of an unconditioned person (like those of us reading the text), the current state of things is pretty awful. By our standards, all the Deltas and Epsilons are degraded because they don't have free will, because they're controlled by soma, and because they're essentially brainwashed.
    • But, he says, you can't judge this world (the brave new world) by the rules of the old world. That just doesn't work.
    • John disagrees; he doesn't think you can judge a world by any set of values you want; he thinks that value is intrinsic. It just comes down to whether or not you can recognize an object's value. If these people all believed in God, John says, they wouldn't allow themselves to be degraded in this manner. That's how it works with the Indians on the Reservation. Through their belief in God, they are able to bear through the unpleasantness of life.
    • Mustapha replies that in this civilized world, people have technology. There's no need to combat anything unpleasant.
    • John then asks, "What about self-denial?" What he means is, what about intentionally refusing your desires, or intentionally putting yourself through pain?
    • Mustapha counters that his industrial world is only possible if people indulge their every desire. In his world, there is no such thing as self-denial. That's why they have no concept of chastity; if people had to withhold from sex, they would start to lust after things they weren't allowed to have.
    • John is getting upset. You need a God, he says. God is the reason for everything that is noble and heroic.
    • Mustapha answers that there is no need for the noble or the heroic. In fact, he and the other Controllers have taken away the opportunity for anyone to be noble or heroic. It's easy to prove yourself a hero during war or chaos, but they don't have stuff like that anymore. Try to be a hero when everyone is happy—there's no one to save!
    • He continues to outline the way in which they all control society. First, make sure no one really loves anyone else. Then make sure there are no temptations that people have to resist. And keep a healthy supply of soma in case anything unpleasant does crop up.
    • Then he says that soma lets you carry your morality around with you in a bottle. He says soma is "Christianity without the tears."
    • John replies that tears are necessary. He quotes Othello to explain that we all need suffering, that it is a part of life and getting through it is what makes us human, what we can be proud of. Life is in the suffering, and the calm after the storm is what makes the storm worth enduring. He then quotes a few lines from the famous "To be or not to be" speech in Hamlet, lines that ask the question: is it better to endure and suffer through the "arrows of outrageous fortune," or to end them once and for all? This world, he says, doesn't do either: it simply abolishes the arrows.
    • Suddenly, John thinks of his mother, and how she just escaped into the world of soma. He thinks of the Director Hatcheries and Conditioninghis fatherand how he now has escaped into the same world, in order to avoid the mockery of having had a naturally born child. He declares that what this world really needs is more tears. In other words, people should be forced to face suffering and endure it.
    • Then he asks, "Isn't there something in living dangerously?"
    • Mustapha agrees that, yes, there is. In fact, people have natural urges to live just this way.
    • But, to make up for that, they just give people their V.P.S. treatment ("Violent Passion Surrogate"). What's that, you ask? Well, once a month, every citizen has to go and get his system pumped full of adrenaline. Physically, it simulates what it's like to be full of fear and ragefull of the same kind of emotions you find in Othello, "with none of the inconveniences."
    • And John, competing for the greatest fictional character ever, replies: "But I like the inconveniences."
    • "We don't," says Mustapha. He adds that they simply want to be "comfortable."
    • And now for one the greatest speeches in all of Brave New World, in which John says that he wants God, poetry, danger, freedom, goodness, and sin. He claims the right to be unhappy.
    • Mustapha replies that John is welcome to have these things.
    • And that's that.
  • Chapter 18

    • Helmholtz and Bernard (who has calmed down) find John in the bathroom, throwing up. John explains that he was sick because he ate civilization and it poisoned him. He then ate his own wickedness, he says, along with some mustard and water.
    • (Um…what? John's "mustard and warm water" is a simple treatment for poisoning. It makes the afflicted individual throw up; John is purging himself the way he saw the Indians do it on the Reservation. This is his way of getting "civilization" and "wickedness" out of his body.)
    • Bernard then apologizes for flipping out earlier, but John, ever-magnanimous, stops him.
    • And then… the three men are happy, perhaps because of their sadness, because sadness "was the symptom of their love for each other."
    • John tells Helmholtz that he asked Mustapha if he could go to the island, too, but Mustapha said that he wasn't allowed to because it was necessary to "go on with the experiment."
    • But John is having none of that, he says. He's going away tomorrow, to someplace where he can "be alone."
    • That someplace turns out to be an abandoned lighthouse "between Puttenham and Elstead," which means nothing to those of us who aren't intimately familiar with London's various locales. Suffice it to say, it's on a hill outside London.
    • Upon arrival, John regrets that the place isn't a little more abandoned and decrepit, but he figures it will make do for his self-purging.
    • The first night he spends on his knees, not so much sleeping as praying to God, to every sort of god, actually, from the Christian God in Hamlet to the gods of the Savage Reservation.
    • (For what it's worth: the text states that John prays to "Jesus and Pookong." We're thinking Pookong = Puukon, a war God in the mythology of Native Americans New Mexico. Here's an illustration of him (when you open the link, he's the image on right side). This is interesting because it looks like Puukon has a twin, but in Brave New World he's paired up with Jesus. This isn't the first time Huxley has mashed together different religious systems, figures, and icons.)
    • John also stretches his arms out "in mock crucifixion" until his whole body aches, the whole time begging, "Forgive me! Make me pure!"
    • The next morning, John is again unhappy with his surroundings; they're not miserable enough. AND he has a view. A view of lovely things. He doesn't think he deserves any of this.
    • Still, he climbs up to the top of the lighthouse tower and looks over at Hog's Back, a geographical formation that resembles, well, you can probably guess what it resembles. It's basically a long ridge. Unfortunately, the lovely scenic view is slightly marred by seven huge skyscrapers, a reminder of the civilized world.
    • So John settles into his new life of seclusion among the beauteous woods, groves, ponds, and flowers. And self-mutilation.
    • Now, on the subject of money: in John's days as a guinea pig for the Controller and Bernard's grand experiment, he was given some cash for personal expenses. Before coming to the lighthouse, he bought all the supplies he thought he needed: blankets, ropes, string, matches, pots and pans, and flour. He also brought along some tasty civilization food, but he decides he won't allow himself to eat such delicacies, even if he's starving.
    • But John does at least plant a garden. He also tries to make himself a bow and arrow for hunting rabbits. He takes great pleasure in the long-term project of carving these sorts of tools for himself.
    • That's great! ...until John realizes that he's happy. Of course, the reason he came here was to be miserable, to think about his dead mother and the horror of the civilized world. He immediately goes inside to purge himself (throw up).
    • It seems that things will go on in this strange, systematic routine of masochistic solitude, except that three Delta-Minuses wander by later that day and see John standing half-naked and whipping himself with a cord of knotted rope and stopping once and a while to throw up.
    • The Delta-Minuses, being not-so-bright, manage to say to each other: "Ford!" and in a bout of creative, independent thinking: "Fordey!"
    • But we're guessing they managed to say a little more than that once they got back to society, because three days later the place is swarming with reporters.
    • John is harmlessly fashioning himself some arrows when a reporter comes up behind him and is all, "Hey! I'm a reporter!"
    • John freaks out. The reporter, doing a really bad job of gauging John's reaction, pulls out a complicated radio contraption, identifies himself as Primo Mellon, and asks John to say a few words.
    • John is all, "Not a chance "; that is, he angrily spouts something in his native tongue, Zuñi (the same words he said to Bernard back in Chapter 12). Then he essentially dropkicks the reporter.
    • It seems the location of the dropkick was the reporter's "coccyx," which refers to the bone at the base of the spinal column. In layman's terms, the guy got his butt kicked.
    • Meanwhile more people have shown up at the lighthouse to harass the Savage. They keep telling him to take soma, since pain is really just a delusion that drugs can dissipate.
    • John responds by advancing menacingly. Everyone decides to keep their safe distances from the crazy man.
    • We soon see that "a safe distance" is achieved by hovering over the lighthouse in various helicopters.
    • John shoots at one of the helicopters and actually punctures the metal.
    • Guys in the helicopter: "Eek!"
    • John compares himself to a heroic figure from a Zuñi legend (see "Allusions" for more) as he continues to work despite the annoying buzzing of helicopter vermin in the sky above.
    • While chilling out one afternoon, John starts thinking about Lenina. A sexy, naked, "take me now!" Lenina. To stop himself from thinking sexual thoughts, John jumps into a thorny bush.
    • While thrashing about in the bush, John tries to turn his thoughts to his mother, and specifically to the way she died in the hospital.
    • When he still can't stop thinking about Lenina, John grabs his knotted chord and begins whipping himself again, yelling the word "Strumpet!" with every flogging.
    • Meantime, in another bush not too far away, a big game photographer named Darwin Bonaparte is stealthily observing, waiting for his chance at a scoop. We're told that this guy videotapes dangerous footage for feelies—like a gorilla wedding.
    • Now that he's been spying for three days, his efforts are finally paying off. Darwin carefully films the whole spectacle, but, sadly, he misses the whole point of John's self-mutilation. He thinks his footage will end up in a great, comic masterpiece that is even better than the classic A Sperm Whale's Love-Life.
    • Sure enough, twelve days later, the new feely The Savage of Surrey is released in theaters everywhere.
    • With the popularity of the movie, John has become rather famous. Oodles and oodles of helicopters descend from above to watch him as he digs in his garden, quotes from Shakespeare about how the gods play with men like toys, mulls over Linda's death, and quotes some more from Shakespeare about death being like sleep.
    • The men and women who pour out of these helicopters have brought cameras and things like peanuts to throw at John, as though he were "an ape." When he yells at them to go away, they all laugh and have a generally good time watching him rage.
    • When he goes for his whip, they all cheer, thinking they're going to get to see him whip himself.
    • John advances on the spectators with his whip, but though they waver, they don't back down. They ask him again to do "the whipping stunt," and begin an incredibly disturbing chant of "We—want—the whip."
    • Just then a helicopter lands.
    • Out steps Lenina, in her cute, super-sexy green shorts, accompanied by Henry Foster. (Note: the text doesn't actually use their names, but we're meant to understand that it is in fact Lenina and Foster. This is confirmed in a bit.)
    • She tries to say something to John, but he can't hear her over the ambient noise that is the bloodthirsty crowd. She starts crying, too, while she shouts to him with "yearning distress" and finally stretches her arms out, walking toward him.
    • John, in response to this demonstration of genuine love and concern, calls her a whore and starts beating her with his whip.
    • The crowd loves it and runs forward toward the center of the action. Lenina, a wise duck, instead opts to run away, back toward Henry and the helicopter.
    • John chases after her, yelling, "The flesh! Kill it!" This is officially the worst second date ever.
    • The crowd begins to imitate John. The text explains it by saying they are fascinated by pain, that they want to be unanimous in their actions, and that their conditioning makes them want to cooperate. So they all start thrashing each other wildly, all the time singing "orgy-porgy" and "beating one another in six-eight time."
    • So… this all continues for a quite a while. We cut to midnight, with the last of the helicopters leaving and John passed out, "stupefied by soma" and "exhausted by [the] frenzy of sexuality."
    • (WHOA there. Does this mean John… took soma? And had sex?? We've told you as much as the text does, but check out John's "Character Analysis" for our dish on the matter.)
    • John wakes up the next morning when the sun is high in the sky. And then "suddenly [he] remembered—everything." "Oh, my God!" he cries, "my God!" and he puts his hand over his eyes.
    • By that night the papers have all recorded the "orgy of atonement" that took place the day before. A swarm of helicopters arrives at the lighthouse, but when the visitors enter looking for "Mr. Savage," there is no response.
    • There is, however, a dangling pair of feet high in the air.
    • And those feet are attached to John's dead, hanging body, turning slowly and mechanically in the air "like two compass needles," clockwise, then counter-clockwise, "South-south-west, south, south-east, east…"

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