Brave New World Chapter 2 Summary

In this chapter the tour for the students continues with the D.H.C. taking the students to the Neo-Pavlovian Conditioning Rooms. There nurses place books and bowls of roses out on the floor. The books have pictures of animals and fish which are designed to entice the infants. Then the nurses bring in the Delta infants. They are placed on the floor and allowed to touch the roses and books. After the infants are busy touching and playing with the roses and books, the Director has the Head Nurse press a lever. It starts a siren that increases in intensity the longer it is left on. Then alarm bells start to ring, this induces terror in the children. They start to scream, the Director yells out to the Head Nurse to start the electric shock. He tells the students that it is only a mild electric shock, but the babies go into spasmodic yelps and are desperate to have it stop. Their bodies jerk and twitch from the effects of the electricity going through them. He then has the nurse stop the process. The nurse once again offers the babies the books and bowls of roses. The infants are terrified of the objects and will not go near them. The Director is very proud of this accomplishment. The infants will have the same process repeated 200 times in order to make sure they develop a hatred of the outdoors and countryside. The Director tells the students this process will make the Delta infants safe from books and botany all their lives.

One of the students states he understands that they cannot have the Deltas reading, because they might read something which may undo the conditioning they have already been exposed to, but he does not understand why the Community does not want the Deltas to like flowers. The Director tells the students how about 100 years ago Gammas, Deltas and Epsilons were allowed and even conditioned to like flowers and also the country. It was thought that they would have to consume transport to get to the country. Which they did, but they did not consume anything else. Because they did not consume anything else the production rate at the factories went down. Therefore, for the economy, the decision was made to give these lower forms an aversion to the country. Instead, because it was still necessary for them to go out to the country; they were programmed to like country sports. This required them to consume the equipment necessary to play the sports. Then the factories were kept busy making the equipment and the Deltas still consumed the transportation to the country.

The Director then tells the students the story of Reuben Rabinovich. He was a boy who lived at the same time as "Our Ford". He is referring to the god that the people of the World State worship and follow his teachings. Reuben had Polish speaking parents. Which is now, like French and German, a dead language. The Director asks the students if they know what a parent is. The boys are embarrassed by the term, to them it is a dirty word. Eventually one of the boys tells the Director that it means the female gave birth to a living child. When the Director uses the terms father and mother, the students are scandalized. They must understand and are told by the Director that these scientific terms are part of their history. He tells them of how Reuben was put to bed but, his parents had left the radio on all night. As the boy slept he heard a radio program from London. The speaker, George Bernard Shaw, spoke in English. When Reuben woke up he repeated what he heard in English word for word. His parents were confused and worried, to them it was gibberish. They called a doctor who happened to speak English, he translated what Reuben was saying. The doctor wrote about what happened and a new way of teaching was discovered. It was called sleep-teaching or hypnopaedia. This happened 23 years after the model T was first put on sale. As he says this the Director and the students make the sign of the T on their stomachs. The students write down that hypnopaedia is first used in 214 AF. The Director explains that while experiments were done with this type of teaching, the results were not encouraging. This is because the subject could only recite what he had heard but could not use the knowledge when asked questions about it. The use for hypnopaedia was found in the teaching of morals. Then it was quite successful.

The Director takes the students into a room filled with 80 cots on which Beta children are asleep. Under each pillow is a speaker. The nurse is asked what the children are being taught. She tell him the lesson earlier had been Elementary Sex but, now it is Elementary Class Consciousness. The Director switches on a speaker so the students can hear what is being said. The children are being taught who they can play with. Basically they are not allowed to play with Gammas and Deltas because Betas are superior to them. They do not play with Epsilons because they are dumb. They are also told that they should be happy to be Betas because Alphas have to work too hard. The students are told the Beta children will hear this 120 times, three times a week for 30 months. Hypnopaedia can teach the children what cannot be learned by physical conditioning. The Director calls hypnopaedia "The greatest moralizing and socializing force of all time." He lets the students know that all of this conditioning is from the State.

The theme of this chapter is conformity. Whether it is getting people to conform using physical pain, by using electric shock, or using a person's subconscious through hypnopaedia. The State feels that conformity leads to happiness.

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