Brave New World Chapter 1 Summary

The year is 632 AF and a group of students are being shown through the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Center by the Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning for Central London. The students are in awe of being shown the facility by the D.H.C., as he is called. The first room he shows them is the Fertilization Room where the ova are being fertilized by the gametes. After fertilization he tells them how the Alphas and Betas are kept in incubation until they are bottled. The Gammas, Deltas and Epsilons are brought out of the incubators and put through the Bokanovsky Process.

The D.H.C. explains the Bokanovsky Process to the students as a process in which an egg will bud, then multiply, and finally divide until they form anywhere between eight to 96 buds. These in turn will become embryos and from those embryos will eventually grow up to 96 adults. Each of these people made from one egg will be identical to each other. A student asks the D.H.C. what was advantageous about this procedure. The D.H.C. tells him that this method promotes the stability of the society. By having 96 identical twins doing the identical job this allows the twins to have a sense of purpose and that they are exemplifying the World State motto of "Community, Identity, Stability." The problems of individuality are solved by having a set version of Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons. The students are told the flaw in the Bokanovsky Process is its limits. The Bokanovsky Process cannot be implemented forever. Only 96 embryos can be processed from each egg. The D.H.C. would like to see this number improved.

The students meet Mr. Foster who works in the Fertilization Room. He seems to be an Alpha who has a supervisory position. We know this because the D.H.C. knows his name and he is involved with developing the process in which to increase the number of buds produced by each egg. Mr. Foster accompanies the D.H.C. and the students on the tour.

Next, the students are taken to the Bottling Room where the eggs are taken from test tubes and put into bottles. The bottles contain the information about each egg, such as its heredity, date of fertilization, and which Bokanovsky Group it belongs to. From the Bottling Room the bottled eggs are conveyed to the Social Predestination Room. The work done in this room allows the workers to determine the best decanting time for each embryo.

After the Social Predestination Room the students enter the Embryo Store which is illuminated with red light. The red light is explained by the fact that the embryos can only tolerate red light. Each bottle is put on a conveyer belt which takes 267 days for the bottles to progress through the three tiers in the subterranean room. There at the end of their journey the embryos' sex is determined. They are marked with a T for males, circle for the females and a question mark for freemartins. Freemartins are males who are unable to grow beards and are sterile. In the Embryo Store, the embryos are also given or deprived of the nutrients and oxygen needed to develop them into which ever caste they belong to. For instance an Epsilon embryo is deprived of oxygen to lower its physical and intellectual growth, whereas Alphas are given the optimum amount of oxygen to allow it to develop to its full potential. The embryos are also conditioned for the jobs that they will eventually be performing. One example is bottles of embryos being put into a heat tunnel and then a cold tunnel, the difference being the cold tunnels also had hard x-rays in them which produced an aversion to cold. These particular embryos are marked to work in tropical climates so this process makes them predisposed to hot climates. Another group of embryos are constantly being turned around, this is an effort to give them enhanced balance. The job assigned to these embryos is to work outside of rockets doing repairs. So they need to feel happy while being upside down.

All of this conditioning is in an attempt to make the resultant person amiable to the job assigned to him. This, according to the D.H.C., is the key to happiness.

We, the reader, are introduced to Lenina in chapter 1. She is working with the embryos giving shots against typhoid fever and sleeping sickness. Mr. Foster makes a comment to Lenina as he is leaving her work area. He confirms a date with her for after work, stating he will meet her on the roof.

Mr. Foster would like to show the students the intellectual embryos and how they are conditioned. Unfortunately the Director (D.H.C.) tells him there is no time for that if they are to see the children in the nursery before they have finished their nap. Mr. Foster pouts about this and the Director allows Mr. Foster to take the children for a quick look at the intellectual embryos.

This chapter is an introduction to the way life is run in the World State. It shows that everything about a person's life is predetermined while still in the embryo state and it is the true belief of the Director and all those who work for him that this produces a more stable society and a happier populace. It also emphasizes the assembly line process and puts focus on the caste system in society and the belief that certain people are more suited to different kinds of work than others.

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