|name||Brave New World|
|image caption||First edition cover|
|genre(s)||Dystopia, Science Fiction, Social Issues|
|publisher||Chatto and Windus|
|media type||Hardback and Paperback|
There are five genetically-defined classes that live in this future: Alphas, Betas, Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons. The higher-level classes are bred for intelligence and management while the lower classes are intended to perform the tedious tasks. The conditioning process involves a long and painful series of electric shock and sleep conditioning therapies that are designed to train babies not to want to read or enjoy beauty, but to seek out entertainment and sex. They are equally conditioned to be happy in their class and to only enjoy the company of others within that class.
The story itself begins in the hatchery with Lenina Crowne and Fanny Crowne, two Beta workers discussing men. They discuss Bernard Marx, an Alpha with a height defect making him abnormally short. Marx is withdrawn and melancholy, even though he is given a drug, “soma”, to keep him happy, and encouraged to have sex often. Lenina has been with Henry Foster already for four months (a long time in this promiscuous society) and is interested in a change. She describes the feelies they go to, which are like films but with touch.
With Bernard she visits the New Mexico Savage Reservation, where human beings still live as they once did, birthing children and worshiping religions. They are kept captive by an electric fence. Lenina sees mothers nursing children and the elderly who actually look old and is sickened by the sights. She also witnesses a boy whipped, his blood dribbled on snakes afterwards, comparing the three. She meets John in the reservation, a naturally-born human being, the offspring of Linda, who used to live in the "regular" society. It turns out that John’s father, the man who disappeared and left John and Linda at the reservation to return to society, is in fact the Director of Hatching and Conditioning, Bernard’s nemesis, who has consistently tried to exile Bernard because of his oddities.
Linda has always wanted to leave the reservation. However, John enjoys it there and wishes to remain, even though he is not accepted because of his race and his enjoyment of books. John and Bernard soon become friends as they are both outcasts and John begins to find Lenina more and more attractive. Eventually Bernard is able to convince John and Linda to return to civilization in London.
In London, Bernard holds Linda and John as evidence against the Director and has him disgraced for his horrible deeds. He introduces John as Mr. Savage to the Alpha society and Linda slowly falls into the trap of overusing soma, dying a slow death.
Because of his mother’s death, John is no longer excited about his “brave new world” and its open sexuality and contempt for marriage. He eventually reveals his feelings for Lenina but when she tries to push sex on him, he is sickened and instead asks her to marry him. He is unwilling to have sex before marriage, but she is equally appalled at the idea of marriage.
Afterwards, he must rush to the hospital as his mother is approaching death. Shortly after she dies, a group of children enters for death conditioning, appalling John even further and pushing him over the edge. He throws the soma rations out the window and angrily yells at the hospital staff, bringing the rage of the hospital’s staff of Deltas down upon him.
Bernard watches quietly while his friend Helmholtz rushes to help. Eventually the police arrive and arrest all three of them and bring them to Mustapha Mond, the Controller. He declares that Bernard and Helmholtz will be exiled for thinking on their own but that John will remain in society as an experiment.
John rejects the Controller’s decision though and flees to the countryside where he lives without anything artificial. He takes up the ritual whipping of himself from his childhood though and is overwhelmed by media inquiries and attention. He eventually succumbs to the crowd’s urge to engage in sex, drugs, and violence. However, the next day, in his shame, he hangs himself, unable to handle the world from his perspective.
A 19-year-old Beta, Fanny is genetically related to Lenina (as emphasized by their names) although this has no meaning or value in society. She acts as a foil to Lenina by accepting the values of society so readily.
A young 19-year old Beta, Lenina is beautiful despite her genetic disorder Lupus and the associated skin lesions. She works in the Embryo Room of the Hatchery and accepts the values of society openly. However, a small part of her seeks and desires a long-term relationship, something society rejects and denies. She is attracted to and is with Henry Foster but ends up dating Bernard Marx as well due to his odd behavior. She is attracted to Marx's oddness despite Fanny’s rebukes to stay away from him. She is eventually attracted to John as well, but her conditioning to fear and look down on love and commitment keeps her from getting close to him.
Often giving guided tours of the Hatchery, the Director is an intelligent Alpha who has occasionally pondered on life outside of society. He apparently at one point took a trip to the New Mexico Indian Reserve with Linda to observe “primitive” life. Linda while pregnant with his child, disappeared and believing her dead, he returned to society without her. John eventually returns to London and meets the Director, calling him father. However, everyone sees this as a joke, causing public shame and humiliation of the Director for having fathered a child like the primitives.
As a scientist at the Hatchery, Henry is the perfect citizen. He works at his job with relish and spends the rest of his time engaged in mindless acts of sex, entertainment and sport. For four months he has been with Lenina Crowne, something that many people find too long as it resembles a commitment of sorts. If Henry had found out that Lenina was being faithful to him he would likely become upset. Henry is Huxley’s portrait of a perfect citizen.
Named after the Italian Fascist Dictator Mussolini and US President Hoover of the same names, Benito is a friend and coworker of Henry and one of many wanting to sleep with Lenina. He dislikes Bernard until Bernard brings John back with him. Then, Benito begins to offer numerous gifts to Bernard in his adoration.
John the Savage
As the main character and catalyst of the novel, John is used to compare the primitive ways of humanity with those of society. He is the son of Linda and the Director, born and raised in the New Mexico Indian Reservation. He is twenty years old, tall and handsome and grew up with Native American culture as a base rather than the conditioning of society. He reads constantly from Shakespeare and is influenced by the Bard’s views of the world and the definition of humanity.
He returns to society with Bernard and Lenina only to find that he cannot bear the differences between his childhood and civilization, eventually running away from it all together. He succumbs to the twisted values of society eventually and cannot live with himself for it. He does not understand why people are so promiscuous, do not value life or marriage, and so readily take drugs and have sex so rampantly.
Linda worked for many years happily as a Beta in the Fertilizing room until she is injured and left pregnant with the Director’s child in the New Mexico Indian Reservation. She never quite fits in with their way of life because of her conditioning, having sex with all of the married men in the society because that was how she was taught to properly behave.
Linda tries to teach John that life in society is more important than on the reservation though she has no reasons for saying so. She cannot lose those values, but cannot explain their superiority either. When Bernard and Lenina arrive, she is eager to return to civilization. The return is too much for her though and along with the pain of having had a child and of being so old and overweight she begins drugging herself with soma, eventually dying from an overdose. She is unable to handle the contrast between the two worlds, a fate her son soon encounters as well.
Named for Karl Marx, Bernard is an Alpha male, very intelligent and a specialist in the sleep conditioning used on children. He is not quite happy with society though and does not accept its values, disliking the attitudes of the masses towards sex, drugs, and entertainment. It is believed that he might have been improperly conditioned, that the chemicals in his artificial womb were altered or compromised. He is much shorter and thinner than normal Alphas, making him self-conscious, especially around the lower-class.
Bernard constantly tries to change the rules to suit him and boost his place in the world. He boasts and pities himself almost equally. When he finds John the Savage, he finds an opportunity to embarrass the Director, a man who threatened to exile him before. He uses John as a tool to gain acceptance to society and ruin the Director. He becomes a focal point of everyone’s attentions and though he thinks he is going to be fully accepted by his fellow citizens, they gossip about his oddness now instead of openly disdaining him. The popularity only lasts a short while though as he is eventually exiled to Iceland by the Controller anyways.
Known as a World Controller, Mond is in charge of society and is interested in knowledge, literature and culture, that which is denied his citizens. He is of medium height, with unattractive features of standard quality and his name is believed to be a pun meaning “must staff a world” (Monde is French for world). He is friendly and happy and constantly working towards his utopian world. He enjoys John and his fervor for Shakespeare and as a youth was given the choice of being the Controller or an exile. He chose the former and is given the right of free will. He understands the problems Bernard and Helmholtz have then but is too loyal to the society he created and exiles them.
Linda forms a close bond with this Native American man, sleeping with him regularly, despite her desire to be promiscuous. John is intensely jealous of him.
Named after the founder of Behavioral Psychology, Watson is an Alpha-Plus and highly intelligent. He is large and powerful but still a little different from his fellow citizens. He is a bit too smart and for that reason questions the world around him. He works as an emotional engineer, in charge of writing slogans and rhymes to pacify society. He is frustrated that he cannot write more complicated things though and believes there must be more purpose to writing than his job. He is friends with Bernard and feels equally like he doesn’t belong, though does not appreciate Bernard’s self pity. He is a brilliant man, but his conditioning still keeps him from fully understanding Shakespeare. Eventually he is exiled to the Falklands for his dissidence, though he is excited to be given the chance to write.
The Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning is giving a tour to young students of the Hatchery and Conditioning Center. The first place he shows them is the Fertilizing Room, where the eggs are extracted from ovas, then incubated and fertilized to produced one of five classes: Alphas, Betas, Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons.
He describes Bokanovsky’s process of budding lower-class eggs to create seventy-two embryos of identical qualities. The egg’s normal growth is stopped and measured with the use of cold, alcohol, and X-rays. This process causes the egg to divide and grow, and then again until a single egg can produce upwards of 96 embryos. This process allows them to produce upwards of 150 mature eggs in two years time, creating eleven thousand new lives in that time. They mention the presence of other Hatcheries in tropical centers.
The goal is to create a stable world population. It is the year A.F. 632 (After Ford, as in Henry Ford) and there is a careful process in place that allows them to keep track of when they need more lives and when to slow production, taking natural disaster in to account. Embryos are stored in the basement, away from light while purple-eyed, Lupus-suffering people test them for sex, sterilize them, and condition them for their lives.
They make an example of future rocket-plane engineers being kept and rotated upside down to force them to pursue the career. They alternate the cold and heat of the embryos intended to become miners and steel workers in extreme amounts.
The lowest class of embryo, the Epsilon, is not given enough oxygen in order to lower their intelligence. The mind of an Epsilon is fully matured at the age of ten. The tour stops at one point for Mr. Foster to speak with Lenina, one of the purple-eyed nurses in the basement. He tells her to meet him on the roof later that evening and offers to guide the students further, but the Director takes them himself.
The Director continues his tour, taking the students to the Neo-Pavlovian Conditioning Room where they witness babies of about eight months being electrically shocked and conditioned to fear and dislike books and flowers. The goal is to develop an instinctive hatred of books and flowers by causing pain when they approach them.
A student asks about the conditioning against flowers and the Director replies that once the Deltas were conditioned to enjoy nature. The conditioning kept work from being done though, offsetting the money spent by them on transport. They are now conditioned to hate nature but love sports played in the country, prompting the consumption of both transport and sporting goods.
The Director tells a story of Reuben Rabinovich, a little boy who lived while Henry Ford was still alive. The students balk at the use of the words “parents”, “mother” and “father. He describes how the parents left the radio on one night and the next morning Reuben awoke able to remember all of the words of radio program. The parents assumed their son had gone mad and called for a doctor who then sent a letter to the medical press with his concept of sleep conditioning or hypnopaedia. This occurred only twenty-three years after Ford’s first Model-T was produced, however the process wasn’t used though for another 200 years until A.F. 214, as early attempts did not work. The problem was that early research focused on facts that the children did not understand. However, using the process for moral learning was much more effective.
In another room, the Director demonstrates the manner in which little boys and girls are sleep-taught the differences between theirs and every other class. He describes the style of sleep conditioning as the key to all moralizing in society.
Outside a few hundred naked children are playing in the sun. They watch as twenty or so children stand around a chrome tower that throws a ball through one of its holes. He comments on how games used to be more complicated and wasted valuable time with no consumption attached. A nurse appears with a crying boy and describes him as unwilling to engage in the erotic play that the others are enjoying. She says it has happened before and will take him to see the Superintendent of Psychology to see if something is wrong.
Inside, the four o’clock shift change is announced. Henry Foster and the Assistant Director of Predestination go to change their clothing, ignoring Bernard Marx along the way. Lenina Crowne, back in the basement with the embryos, prepares to leave.
The students are joined outside by Mustapha Mond, the Europe Controller, one of ten in ten in the world. Reiterating the importance of Henry Ford, he quotes him, stating “history is bunk” to the Director. Mond goes on to describe how horrible it was to live with one’s family in a smelly, stuffy home full of disease and filth. He fabricates stories of unwanted and obscene relationships between family members. He cites Ford as having pointed out for the first time the problems with family life, claiming each member of the family as full of “misery”, “perversion from sadism to chastity” and “madness and suicide”.
Lenina asks Fanny whom she's going out with tonight, astonished when Fanny says no one. Fanny tells her she has been feeling out of sorts lately, and the doctor has advised a Pregnancy Substitute. Although the first is not required until the age of twenty-one, Fanny is doing it two years early. She shows Lenina the boxes and phials in her locker, which include ovarin, mammary gland extract and placentin.
Fanny is shocked by Lenina’s revelation that she and Henry have been together for four months and that Lenina hasn’t seen anyone else in that time. She warns her against staying with a single man too long and the possible consequences. She doesn’t need to give up Henry, but should see someone else occasionally to remain proper. Lenina complains that promiscuity hasn’t felt right of late, but Fanny insists.
Henry Foster, still changing his clothes, describes how splendid Lenina is, and that the Assistant Predestinator should try her. He says he will try as soon as he can, to which Bernard turns pale while listening in.
Lenina admits she is becoming bored and asks Fanny if she knows Bernard Marx. Fanny is appalled again though as Bernard has something of a horrible reputation for spending too much time with himself, regardless of being an Alpha Plus. Bernard has requested Lenina to go along with him to the Savage Reservation and she is intrigued by going. Fanny describes Bernard as small and ugly and that she overheard his bottle was contaminated to make him malformed.
Bernard becomes angrier and angrier at the two men near him as they discuss Lenina, reminding himself of how many times something must be repeated to someone to make it true. As he grows angrier, Lenina reveals she will go out with Bernard.
The Controller continues his speech, describing the Class system as it was introduced after Democracy finally collapsed in A.F. 141, after the Nine Years’ War. The choice was Destruction or World Control, so World Control was chosen. People were required to consume a certain amount every year to keep the government and industry running and eventually force was replaced with sleep conditioning and genetics. The past was disallowed from being studied and museums were closed while books were destroyed or locked up. Christianity was considered a crime and the word God was replaced with State or Ford. He describes the development of soma, a drug that replaced alcohol and religion in one fell swoop without any of the negative effects the former offered.
Henry Foster and the Assistant Predestinator prod Bernard by calling him glum and offering him soma. He calls them idiots though and ponders his hatred of them.
Lenina meets Bernard in the elevator and asks him about the New Mexico trip. He is embarrassed though and wants to talk about it elsewhere. She is shocked but also pleased by her effect. She leaves him to go and see Henry but requests that he contact her about the date.
On the roof, Henry waits in a helicopter cockpit for Lenina and they soon take off, viewing the tennis courts, chrome towers and stadiums of the city.
Bernard calls for Deltas to bring his own transport, though he is uncomfortable in the presence of lower class members, with his shorter height and his conditioning to relate body mass to superiority. Because he feels like an outsider, he acts like one and only increases the negative treatment he receives.
He flies to the Bureau of Propaganda and meets up with Helmholtz Watson, a lecturer at the College of Emotional Engineering in the Department of Writing. Helmholtz is big and handsome and though he is a perfect Alpha, he is not happy with his life either, isolated by his massive intelligence. The two fly to Bernard’s apartment where they relax and discuss their lives. Helmholtz has been cutting back on his activities and sexual promiscuity as he feels like he has something more important to say as a writer and doesn’t know how to get to where he can write it.
By eight that evening Lenina and Henry finish up with their Obstacle Golf game and take to the sky again, observing the workings of the Slough Crematorium. Lenina comments on how odd it is that everyone, regardless of their social standing, has the same effect once they’ve been cremated and used for growing plants.
The two eventually arrive at Henry’s apartment building and go to the dining room where everyone eats a large crowded meal, finished with soma and Coffee. They visit the Cabaret after dinner and dance under the influence of their soma-enhanced evening.
Bernard is late for Solidarity Service and quickly takes his seat in the Fordson Community Singery. There are alternating chairs of men and women and the service begins with a Solidarity Hymn and soma tablets and soma ice cream are passed around the table, with each person requesting the Greater Being to annihilate them and let their larger life begin.
He feels the effects of the soma, but Bernard does not quite fall into the “group” solidarity that the others enjoy. He follows the motions and does the ritual and when everyone reaches the point of ecstatic joy, he pretends to join them, screaming “Ford!” The group repeats phrases like “the coming of the Twelve-in-one, the incarnation of the Greater Being” and sings lyrics about orgies before falling back into couches. Bernard is miserable and alone afterward while the rest are happy and consummated, having rested everything within. The entire experience has only made Bernard lonelier than ever.
Lenina decides that Bernard is an odd person after he is disinterested in going swimming or golfing for their first date. He claims they are all wastes of time, which she does not understand. Eventually they go to the women’s weightlifting championship where Bernard is gloomier than ever. When Lenina tries to give him a soma sundae, he refuses again, unwilling to become someone else on the effects of soma.
The two end their evening by floating above the Channel in Bernard’s helicopter. However, Lenina cannot handle the emptiness of not doing anything, despite Bernard’s desire to enjoy the peace of the sea. Lenina repeats that everyone can have a good time and that everyone is happy, to which Bernard remarks that everyone hears that very same thing starting at age five.
They finally return though and Lenina convinces Bernard to take some soma, after which they retire to his rooms and they go about their impulses. Bernard is upset though as he had wished to see what would happen if he went against those impulses. She continues to recite the phrases taught to her as a child though and he questions them. Regardless of her opinion of him. Lenina wants to go to New Mexico and Bernard is one of the very few who can make the trip happen.
When Bernard takes the permit to the Director to be signed, the Director relates a story of his own trip there twenty years ago when a Beta he had brought with him was lost in the woods, presumably killed from a fall. He pulls himself together quickly though and adds that there was nothing unseemly or wrong in their relationship. He angrily rebukes Bernard and though he signs the permit, he tells Bernard that he has heard bad rumors of his outside behavior. Alphas are capable of living above the infant-like response to emotion but are expected to conform nonetheless. He threatens him against embarrassing the Director again with exile to Iceland. Bernard isn’t worried though but excited that his individual person has had any kind of effect on the Director or society as a whole.
When the two arrive in Santa Fe, they meet with the Warden of the reservation and learn of the electric fencing surrounding it, designed to cause instant death. While the warden relates information on the reservation, Lenina takes soma and ignores him and Bernard worries about an open tap in his apartment. He describes the savages as primitive people who still marry, practice Christianity and worship their ancestors. They speak long-dead languages and don’t talk with the outside world.
The two finally leave the Warden and Bernard calls Helmholtz to have him turn off the tap in his room. He finds out that the Director has repeated the threat in public and will likely send Bernard to Iceland, angering and upsetting him. He takes four soma tabs though and falls asleep until they reach the Reservation.
Lenina doesn’t find the Reservation to her liking. Their guide is smelly and the surroundings ill-maintained. She sees an old man more withered than anyone she’s ever seen before and she thinks something must be wrong with her. Bernard tells her it’s just because of their old age and that people are not artificially kept young as in civilization.
Bernard doesn’t react well to Lenina’s dismay, pointing to a woman’s breast occupied by an infant. She has forgotten her soma tablets and is unable to handle the ways of these people. Next they witness a ritual in which an eighteen-year old boy is brought out and lashed. The blood from the lashing is sprinkled along with food and water over snakes spread out in the midst of an open space. Lenina can no longer handle the sight, begging Bernard to stop it. The boy eventually collapses on the ground and an old man with a coyote mask uses a feather to spread the blood. Eventually dancers arrive to carry off the snakes and three elderly women take away the boy.
Wishing she had her soma, Lenina sobs until another young man steps out, dressed like a Native American, but blond-haired and blue-eyed. He speaks perfect English and greets them as being from the Other Place. He surprises both Lenina and Bernard and is immediately taken with Lenina and her beauty.
Bernard is curious of his situation though and harangues him with questions. He describes Linda, his mother, and her trip to the Reservation to visit and how she was left there with a son by his father. She was found by Reservation hunters unconscious in the wild and brought back to the Reservation where she was left to raise the boy. Bernard recognizes the story as that of the Director.
The boy, John, takes them to his mother who is flabby and wrinkled, smelling of alcohol. Despite Lenina’s horror though, Linda is ecstatic and eagerly kisses and hugs Lenina, happy to see a civilized face. She describes the horrors of the Reservation without any soma and how it’s like living with the insane. They are loyal to a single mate and you are considered wicked to sleep with numerous men. The children are born in the traditional manner as well.
She describes the shame of her pregnancy, even after following the rules to the letter. There was no abortion center in the Reservation so she was forced to give birth and in doing so finds that she worries more about John’s own sanity while growing up with the Savages. When John tried to kill a man that Linda slept with, she could not describe that that was how civilized people behaved.
In the meantime, John gives the details of his own life to Bernard, of how many men came to see his mother and the alcohol they brought with them. At one point a group of women held down and whipped Linda for taking their men and when John stepped in, they whipped him as well. Later when Linda started to beat John, she stopped short, taking him into her arms to comfort. Linda was often very reticent to get up and act and at times would not even feed John.
Linda also told John stories of the Other Place and how you could fly anywhere in a helicopter or listen to music from a box or play games and eat wonderful foods whenever you wanted. Everyone belonged to everyone else and everyone was happy. Cleanliness ruled and no-one was lonely.
John has always been lonely though, derided by the Native Americans along with his mother. He took a book that Pope brought containing the Complete Works of Shakespeare and he took great enjoyment in reading those stories that he didn’t understand. He hated Pope for sleeping with his mother though and saw him as evil, as outlined by Shakespeare’s stories. John's hatred was deep, even if he only half-knew what was going on in those stories. The stories led him to find a knife and attempt to kill Pope, stabbing him in the shoulder.
Throughout his life, John was stoned and mistreated for trying to join in standard ceremonies of his neighbors, never allowed to date or join in growing up. Bernard reveals that he as well is lonely and that he understands. He invites John to join him back in the Other Place, which John jumps at the chance to do.
When they return, Lenina takes six tabs of soma and sleeps while Bernard ponders the details of his plan to bring back John with him. He manages to convince the World Controller’s Office to contact the Controller who he convinces that John is sufficiently interesting to bring back with him. The orders are sent and Bernard returns to retrieve John and Linda.
John arrives at the rest house with Lenina asleep and Bernard gone, causing him to break a window with a rock and sneak in. He finds her sleeping and ponders her beauty as well as digging through her luggage to find perfume. When he hears Bernard’s helicopter return, he runs outside to meet him.
The Director describes to Henry Foster his plan to make an example of Bernard in front of the higher class workers. He states that Bernard’s offense is the equivalent to murder on a social level and is therefore much worse. He cannot permit anyone with such talent to lead others astray.
Bernard enters and the Director gathers his workers to call their attention. He lays his claims against Bernard including his betrayal of trust, views that go against sports and soma, and his chaste sex-life. Bernard is a subversive entity and an enemy of the state and therefore must be transferred to center as far away from population as possible to keep his influence minimized.
He asks Bernard if there is a reason his judgment should be wrong, to which Bernard responds by bringing in Linda. She sees the Director and asks if she remembers her, causing the workers to break out into laughter at the Director’s disgust. She announces how he made her have a baby by leaving her in the Reservation and calls in John for them to see. John enters and calls the Director “father”, pushing the workers to laugh once more and sending the Director running from the room again.
Everyone is eager to see John, but no one is eager to see Linda, and so the entire city of London is in a frenzy. Linda though, because of her rejection upon return, spends her days in bed taking soma end on end. Because of the excess, doctors expect her to die within a month or two. John is unhappy but the doctor is happy to have the chance to study such a mental deterioration.
Bernard is given much more attention as everyone is eager to see the Savage. He is given the opportunity to have any woman he wants whenever he wants and suddenly feels as though he has a place in the world. Helmholtz, however, does not approve of Bernard’s change. Bernard begins to find an audience to hear his problems with society now though, even if they meet behind his back to mock him. He is happy though and sends his thoughts to the Controller with ideas on why infantility is not ideal because it is too simple. The Controller is appalled and decides to teach Bernard a lesson.
Bernard shows John around town in the meantime, introducing him to a helicopter factory where Gammas and Deltas work and the Eton School where students watch and mock films of Savages observing their faith. John is confused as to why they’re laughing though, to which the Provost replies that it is extraordinarily funny how the Savages act.
Lenina becomes famous in her own way, mainly because everyone assumes she’s slept with the Savage. She has not however, and feels as though her fame is falsely earned, wondering why she has not slept with John. He looks at her with interest and she likes him, but he will not touch her and she cannot figure out why. Bernard asks her to take John to the feelies one night when he is busy and she takes it as an opportunity to make her move.
At the feelies, Lenina shows John how to operate the touch and sensation knobs. John is appalled by the sensation though and the spectacle of the other members of the audience kissing in unison. He finds the entire experience horrible and worries that he will find Lenina less desirable because of it. John leaves quickly after they return and Lenina is left to unhappily take her soma and go to sleep.
Bernard has important guests to visit with John, but John refuses to leave his room. He curses them and refuses to leave until Bernard informs his guests that John will not be coming out. They are angry and claim Bernard is playing games with him and speak ill of him to his face. As quickly as he was famous, Bernard is the little man whom everyone disdains once more. Henry Foster makes a point of telling someone that Bernard was almost transferred to Iceland.
Lenina assumes John’s hiding is because of her and begins to feel empty and sick. She eventually leaves with one of Bernard’s visitors but is still upset, needing soma to accept the evening she has with her new courtier later that night.
Bernard turns to soma as well, taking enough to cover his disappointment. John finds him to be similar to the person he first met, but Bernard remits that it is because he is unhappy. John however claims that unhappiness is better than any fake happiness could ever be.
Bernard takes to blaming John for his rejection by the powerful people around him and starts thinking of ways to get vengeance on both John and Helmhotlz. For his own part, Helmholtz has recently drawn attention by reciting lyrics on loneliness and was promptly turned in by his students.
Helmholtz spends a great deal of time with John though, reading from Shakespeare. Bernard listens in, passive-aggressively instilling his revenge of being rude while they read. Helmholtz appreciates the work but does not necessarily understand it, laughing at Romeo and Juliet at one point because of its description of family life. Helmholtz cannot understand why a girl would not sleep with the man she wants and why the dead bodies would be left to waste in the streets instead of being cremated. John angrily closes his book and stops reading.
Helmholtz does apologize, though he misses the point of John’s anger. He angrily points out the problems of Shakespeare’s prose and the madness of it, though he wishes he knew where he could write such madness of his own.
Lenina is greatly upset and begins to receive advice from her coworkers. Henry suggests a Pregnancy Substitute or Violent Passion Surrogate and Fanny suggests that Lenina merely take matters into her own hands and not take John’s "no" for an answer.
Following Fanny’s advice, Lenina takes a tab of soma and visits John, asking him whether he likes her or not. John states that he loves her and wants to prove his worth. She is confused though and grows upset as he lists how men traditionally show their love for a woman. John mentions marriage and Lenina becomes horrified, telling him to respond to her original question. He replies that he likes her and she kisses him. The kiss reminds him of the feelie they visited though and he is disgusted. When she takes off her clothing John is horrified and backs away, but she persists. He calls her a whore and grabs her, shaking her violently and telling her to leave.
He continues calling her horrible names as she runs into the bathroom and redresses. The phone rings eventually and John leaves as someone is sick. Lenina quickly leaves as soon as John exits the apartment.
In the final bed of the Park Lane Hospital for the Dying John finds his mother staring emptily at a television, sometimes awake and often asleep. The nurse does not understand why John would care so much for a single person and leaves him with her as John remembers all of the memories from childhood in which Linda sings to him and tells stories of the Other Place.
As he sits and remembers his mother’s life, a group of identical eight-year-olds enters the room and surround Linda’s bed and point and make fun of her body, fat and old as it is. John angrily grabs one of the children and hits him on the ear for his jabs at his mother, prompting the nurse to return and ask John why he did such a thing. He does not understand why the children are there and she informs him that it is Death Conditioning. If John cannot behave properly he will be forced to leave.
John is confused and cannot comprehend the situation. When Linda opens her eyes and doesn’t recognize him, instead calling Pope’s mind over and over again, he becomes increasingly angry. He grabs her and even as she finally recognizes him, she places him within the midst of her soma fantasy and tells him the same lines that "everyone belongs to everyone else" before turning blue and suffocating.
John runs for a nurse but when they return she is dead. John cries for his deceased mother, to which the nurse and the students are appalled. She hurries to distract the children from John's display as he cries on in grief. One of the children walks to him with his chocolate and asks what Linda is and whether she is dead or not. John immediately turns and runs from the room.
Shoving through the hospital and the crowd of Deltas waiting for their daily soma rations, he notices how all of the 160 people around him are exactly the same, in male and female variations. The Deltas line up for their soma, and John thinks to himself that they are slaves to it. He thinks to himself that they should enjoy freedom and so he begs them not to take their soma, calling it poison. He is beyond containment though and Helmholtz is called down.
Finally Helmholtz and Bernard arrive to find John shouting at Deltas, calling them babies for their stupidity and inability to think for themselves. He grabs the chest of soma tablets and begins throwing them out the window. Bernard declares him mad, but Helmholtz merely pushes into the crowd to help him, punching back the Deltas as they surround them. They continue to throw soma pills out the window while Bernard merely stands and stares, unable to do anything, afraid for his life.
When the police finally arrive, Bernard throws himself at their feet crying for help. They push him aside though and spray the crowd with soma vapor and anesthetic. Bernard continues bellowing and earns a shot from one of the water pistols they’re using himself, collapsing to the floor.
A music box begins to play a speech designed to quell riots, the Anti-Riot Speech Number Two. The voice continues to extol peace and happiness and in a few minutes the soma kicks in and the Deltas begin hugging and kissing before they are brought new pills and move on.
The policemen take John, Helmholtz, and Bernard into custody. John and Helmholtz go readily but Bernard must be convinced.
From the hospital, the three are taken to see Mustapha Mond. He greets them all, but only talks to John. He says he understands why John dislikes civilization and John agrees that he does not. He admits that he likes some of the nicer things from civilization and is dolefully surprised when Mond quotes Shakespeare, revealing that he is a huge fan of literature and as the maker of the rules, he can freely break them.
John in turn asks why books are not allowed and Mond replies with a speech on how society no longer has use for old things. Because people are taught to be attracted to beautiful things, society needs them to be attracted to new things so as to keep up their consumption. John asks why new stories could not be written that do just that to which Helmholtz agrees, intrigued by the concept of writing new stories. Alas, new stories would not be as good as the old ones and would make no sense to those that read them.
The world as everyone knows it is stable and happy while Shakespeare’s world was turbulent. They’re so conditioned that they do not understand the pain of love, death, or family. They do as they’re told because they don’t know how to do anything else. If anyone gets out of line, there is soma to bring them back and ensure compliance.
He declares that Deltas could not possibly understand liberty or Othello to which John declares Othello is a great work of literature. Mond agrees, but declares it as a price for that kind of stability. Art and science were sacrificed for their utopian world and universal happiness.
He describes the worker classes as being perfectly happy in being the same as everyone else, working eight hours and taking soma on a regular basis. They tried to lessen their work days and the workers didn’t notice the difference, only taking more soma.
John suggest that they populate the entire world with Alphas, to which the Controller relates a particular experiment they conducted in A.F. 473 on the island of Cypress. The entire island was populated with Alphas, given the tasks that needed to be completed and left alone, fully socialized. However, Alphas slowly go mad at the prospect of having to take Epsilon-level jobs. Soon enough the island was consumed by civil war as the Alphas doing lower jobs conspired to take higher jobs and those in the higher jobs conspired to keep them. When enough of them had died, they asked for the World Controller to take back control and return everything to normal. He compares civilization to an iceberg with eight ninths below water, referring to their intelligence.
Mond admits that he was once on the same course that Helmholtz took, a good scientist with big ideas that got him in trouble. He infers that both Bernard and Helmholtz will be sent to islands. Bernard angrily rejects and must be removed from the room because of it. He reveals how living on an island is something of a reward as you’re given a chance to be more of an individual than with the majority of civilization.
Mond was given a choice himself between going to an island and becoming a Controller. He chose the latter and the strict duty of his role in society over personal contentment. He chose to serve happiness rather than continuing to fight it. He asks Helmholtz which island he wishes to go to. Helmholtz requests somewhere stormy and unpredictable to inspire his writing and though the Controller approves, he "officially" does not. He agrees though and sends Helmholtz to the Falklands.
John asks what else is left if art and science have been sacrificed completely for happiness. Mond pulls some books from his safe and describes how religion is the final piece of the puzzle. It is meaningless as long as you are young and happy, but as soon as old age and adulthood take over, it becomes important in compensating for those things that are lost with age. Because everyone is healthy and young for the entirety of their lives now though, religion has lost all value, God replaced by soma.
They debate the nature of religious belief further with John musing on nature and the world itself and Mond declaring that religion itself is a conditioned belief. He says it is natural to think of god when alone and dying but that society has even taken away loneliness and death so now God is completely unnecessary. Heroism and nobility is useless as well, as conditions are never unstable enough to need anyone to display any kind of heroism. Everyone is equal and factions are meaningless. Everyone is happy with their role in life and if they are not, they are given soma to fix the problem.
Beyond John’s ability to understand, this society is too horrible for him. He declares that the world needs tears and that everyone needs a little danger. Mond quotes their use of compulsory Violent Passion Surrogate treatments every month in which they artificially create fear and rage in people. John however does not want comfort. He wants real danger and God, poetry and freedom. He declares his rights to be unhappy, old, sick, hungry, and in pain. Mond doesn’t disagree with him.
Later John is found in a bathroom vomiting. He feels poisoned and defiled by civilization and is trying to purify himself as he tells Bernard and Helmholtz. They visit to wish him farewell as they prepare to leave the next morning. Bernard is ashamed of what has happened and the three sit silently in their sadness, happy to experience it. John has been disallowed from leaving with the two of them because the Controller wants to continue the experiment of allowing him to live in society. He plans to leave the next day though, to escape civilization.
John eventually finds a home in an old lighthouse near Puttenham above a small village of poultry farmers and a vitamin factory. There are woods just beyond them and John feels like he’s found some measure of divinity finally. He whips himself daily, prays to Jesus, Pookong, and all the other gods he learned of in New Mexico. He has determined to live life in isolation, as rough as possible. He buys supplies and seeds with the small bit of money given him and crafts a bow and arrow for hunting on his own.
John finds too much joy in the crafting of his bow and arrows though and immediately whips himself again to remind himself of how he acted toward Linda and the children there and how he must remember everyone by living in discomfort and unhappiness. While whipping himself, Delta workers walk by and see him, confused by his actions.
Reporters soon arrive and request his comments on civilization, to which John responds violently, cursing in other languages. A filmmaker named Darwin Bonaparte manages to get enough footage of him though to craft a film and only two weeks later John is surrounded by people falling upon him in curiosity. They bring him almonds and sex-hormone gum, treating him like an animal in the zoo and cry for him to whip himself.
When Lenina and Henry arrive John is so angry that he attacks Lenina with his whip, beating her and himself in turn. The crowd is excited and takes up the chance to follow his example and whip each other, fascinated by the horror that is pain. They take up a song and beat each other in time, comparing the violent act to an orgy with their singing of “orgy-porgy”.
By midnight John has succumbed to soma and sensuality and is completely disaffected. He wakes the next day and remembers everything he did during the night, so ashamed and angry with himself that he cries to God in despair. The next night when the crowds arrive again, they find his body hanging at the lighthouse.