Study Guide

Brave New World Chapter 15

By Aldous Huxley

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.

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  • 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."