Brave New World Chapter 11 Summary

As chapter 11 begins, Bernard becomes suddenly important because he is John's guardian. Meanwhile Linda has chosen to live her life in a soma holiday. The doctor, Dr. Shaw, finally gives into her pleadings and allows her to have as much soma as she wants. Dr. Shaw knows that it will eventually kill her by paralyzing her respiratory system. John is upset by this decision, but he is given very little choice in the matter.

Because Linda is on a permanent soma holiday, Bernard is in control of who has access to John. He uses this power to his advantage. He has a great deal of success with women who want to meet John. At one point he even brags to Helmholtz that he had sex with six girls in one week. He goes so far as to brag to Helmholtz that he could have had at least a dozen more girls if he had wanted to. This revelation just makes Helmholtz sad. Bernard interprets Helmholtz's reaction as pure jealousy. He vows never to talk to Helmholtz again.

Bernard is allowing his sudden popularity go to his head. He is trying to outdo everyone who is ranked above him. John and Bernard are taken on a tour of the top of Charing-T tower by the Station Master and Resident Meteorologist. They are trying to tell John about what he is seeing below him. Instead Bernard feels that he should be the one to tell John about the sights. Bernard feels on top of the world with his new found power. He even goes so far as to give advice to the Controller by telling him he agrees with the Savage in "finding civilized infantility too easy...." This piece of advice angers and amuses the Controller at the same time. The thought of such a little man giving the Controller advice is ludicrous to him.

John and Bernard also take a tour of the Electrical Equipment Corporation. The Chief Electrician and Human Element Manager show them how the Bokanovsky Groups are used to make and assemble dynamos. They are very proud of how these groups worked together so efficiently. How these identical groupings of Delta, Gammas, and Epsilons work so well that they presented very little problems. John is put off by seeing the Deltas, Gammas, and Epsilons at work. He keeps repeating to himself "O brave new world that has such people in it." Seeing how the people are being used literally makes him sick to the point of vomiting.

During a visit to Eaton, which is a school for only the Alpha Double Plus, John watches as the students laugh at a video of the people of the Reservation. He is confused as to why they would find it funny. No one can give him a good answer. He is told by the Provost that it is just very funny to the students. John asks the Provost if the students are allowed to read Shakespeare. He is told that the students are only allowed to read books that are reference materials. The reading of Shakespeare would be a solidary activity, these types of activities are greatly discouraged.

On the way back to London, Bernard makes a stop at the Television Corporation factory in Brentford. Bernard wants to make a phone call. While waiting for him, John observes the Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons being given their daily ration of soma. This makes an impression on John.

That evening Lenina takes John to the feelies. These are films that are made in such a way that through an apparatus in the viewer's seat allows the viewers to experience all five senses. In this particular film the later part of the movie has the young Beta-Plus female encounter a young man. The young man is in a helicopter accident in which he hits his head. As a result of this, all his conditioning is lost. Because of this the man takes the Beta-Plus female hostage on the helicopter. The two of them spend three weeks hovering in the air. She is finally rescued by three Alphas who take her as their mistress. John is offended by the feelie. He tells Lenina that she should not attend such films.

Lenina likes John and wants to be with him, but she does not tell him this directly. John reciprocates Lenina's feelings, but he feels that if he pursues a relationship with her, his fantasy of her will come unraveled. He is afraid that she will not be the perfect woman he has imagined her to be. To prevent this from happening John turns away from Lenina. Lenina is crushed as John drops her off at her apartment building and leaves. She goes into her apartment and takes some soma to help her cope with her feelings of disappointment.

This chapter shows how a little power can go to the head of a person not used to having it. This is illustrated by Bernard's behavior with women, others in position of importance, and even his advice to the Controller. This chapter also shows us how John is having trouble adapting to this strange world he has been thrust into. This is evidenced in his reaction to the workers at the Electrical Equipment Corporation, his not understanding the students' reactions to the film at Eaton, and his revulsion to the feelie. Huxley is showing just how hard it is for John to assimilate to this alien culture.

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