Brave New World Summary

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley


The book starts out by introducing us to the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre. This is where human embryos are made, predestination is decided, and the Bokanovsky's Process takes place. It is here that the embryos are conditioned and programmed to function in society.

We meet some of the influential characters in the book. First, we meet the Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning for London (D.H.C.), then the Controller, Mustapha Mond, the Controller for Western Europe, and lastly is Lenina Crowne.

In this society, Ford is, in effect, their god. They follow the teachings of Ford. It is not expressed that it is Henry Ford they are revering but, they allude to it by making the sign of the T on their chests during ceremonies and the fact that everything is done by means of an assembly line.

Lenina has been asked to go to the Savage Reservation by Bernard Marx. Lenina's friend is not supportive of Lenina dating Bernard because he is not physically as tall or filled out as the other Alpha Plus males. This makes him different. Bernard is also unusual in that he enjoys privacy and does not act in an infantile manner when not at work. These are characteristics that are counter to what the people have been programmed to do.

Lenina tells Bernard yes. Bernard approaches the Director to receive his signature on the permits needed to enter the Reservation. The Director agrees to sign the permits, but he also tells Bernard a story of when he went to the same Reservation. He tells Bernard the story of how his female companion went missing and was never found. When he realizes what he has revealed to Bernard, he goes on the defense telling Bernard that he has had reports of his unusual behavior. He is thinking of sending Bernard to Iceland if he does not change his behavior.

Bernard and Lenina go to the reservation. There they meet a young man who was white (the Indians were dark skinned) and speaks fluent English. Bernard and Lenina are stunned to see him. They visit his home, which is a squalid house in which the young man, who is named John, lives with his mother, Linda. Linda tells the story of how she came to the reservation on a trip with a man named Tomakin and she became lost on a hike. She had fallen and was taken in by the Indians. There she gave birth to John. She is thrilled to see Lenina and Bernard. Bernard is all this time putting it together that this is the woman who the Director was speaking about. He also knows that the Director does not know about John. Just before coming to the reservation Bernard was told by his friend that the Director was telling people that he was going to send Bernard to Iceland. These two people were Bernard's salvation.

Bernard asks for and receives permission to bring John and Linda back to London. Bernard wants to use them to exact revenge against the Director. Once back in London, the Director has called Bernard to the Fertilization room. He tells Bernard in front of the other workers, that due to his lack of conformity he is being reassigned to Iceland. Bernard brings into the room Linda. She calls the Director "Tomakin" and throws her arms around his neck. The workers who at first are stunned, begin to laugh. Then Bernard brings in John. John calls the Director "father". The workers howl with laughter at this. To be called father is seen as a pornographic word. The Director runs from the room never to be heard from again. Bernard thinks he is safe.

Meanwhile John has fallen for Lenina. He sees her as a pure woman. When Lenina throws herself at John he is repulsed and calls her a whore.

John is also upset that his mother has become so dependent on the drug soma( which the people use to escape life and only feel happiness) that she will die. Eventually he is called to the hospital to watch her die. As he is leaving the hospital he sees the workers lining up to receive their daily soma ration. He cannot hold in his anger and disgust for these drugs and he decides to take action. First he tells them the soma is poison, then he begins throwing away the soma. That incites a riot among the workers. Bernard is called to come and control John. He and his friend, Helmholtz, arrive to find the workers attacking John. Bernard holds back while Helmholt joins in to help John. They all are taken to the Controller who sentences Bernard and Helmholtz to exile on separate islands. Whereas John Savage is kept for study.

John escapes to a lighthouse to live in solitude. Unfortunately he is spotted one day by two people. The press hound him and then the public comes to taunt him. Then John sees Lenina and is so upset that he comes at her with a whip and hits her. The next day John is found hanging in the lighthouse.

A Brave New world covers many themes, among them is too much control by the government in people's lives. This is evidenced in the assembly line process of creating people and the predestination process. Also is the theme of intolerance of any one who is different. Such as Bernard's need to act like an adult at all times and Lenina's friend's dislike of him. Isolationism is a theme for both Bernard and John Savage; they both desire nothing more than to be left alone, because of that they are seen as threats to the stability of the society. The use of soma to make sure happiness is the only feeling the people have is a commentary on the use of alcohol and drugs for the people in the post-war world that Huxley lived in.



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