Brave New World Chapter 3 Summary

Chapter three begins with the students watching children engaging in games and erotic play. The Director starts to tell the students about their history. He informs them that erotic play was, in the time before Ford, considered abnormal, the students laugh at this notion. In the time before Ford, sex was not considered normal until a person was at least 20 years old. The students enquire what the result of this suppressed behavior was. Instead of the Director answering them, the Resident Controller for Western Europe, Mustapha Mond, answers, he tells them that it was terrible.

The Controller takes over the discussion on history. First he quotes Our Ford by saying "History is bunk." The Controller feels that all events which occurred before the World State was established should be wiped away. That being said, he has decided to speak to them about human history. He talks to the students about the small, stifling, and overpopulated homes in which people lived. The students are repulsed at the idea of living in such conditions. The Controller also emphasizes the emotional toll of living as a family took on each family member; such as the children feeling suffocated by the attentions of their mother. The Controller tells the students the Our Ford liked to be called Our Freud when he explained psychology. Mustapha Mond, the Controller, tells the students Our Freud felt that family life was full of pitfalls such as miserable fathers, mothers who conjure feelings ranging from sadism to chastity, and siblings and other relatives who promote feelings of madness and suicide. The Controller explains that in the islands off New Guinea, Trobriands felt that conception was from ancestral ghosts. They had no concept of a father. This is where the tradition of parents and no parents meet.

The Controller speaks to the students of husbands, wives, monogamy, and romance. All of these terms are foreign to the students because in the World State "everyone belongs to everyone else." He tells the students that with mothers, monogamy, and romance the pre-modern world population was an insane and miserable place. This is because the populace was not conditioned to obey, so they were condemned to loneliness, disease, poverty, and hopelessness. The Controller stresses social stability is what makes a civilization. He feels that social stability cannot be achieved without individual stability and that it is this stability that has built the World State.

The Nine Years' War which began in AF 141 and the great Economic Collapse started the destruction of the pre-modern era. After trying to annihilate those who were against them the Controllers decided to use ectogenesis, which is the ability to develop an embryo outside the body, conditioning, and hypnopaedia to change things. The Controllers also tried to eradicate the past by destroying the historical monuments and censoring all books published before AF 150 and ending Christianity. They chose the introduction date of Our Ford's first T-model as the first date of the new era. To give the people the same feeling of well-being they received through worship of God, they produced in AF 184 a drug that gave a sense of euphoria and happy hallucinations, called soma. This not only replaced Christianity, but also alcohol.

The Controller also extolled the virtues of getting rid of old age. All the stigmas of old age have been abolished. Now old men work, copulate, have pleasure, and are constantly active. If they do have problems they take soma to make them feel better.

After work Lenina Crowne goes to the Girls' Dressing-Room to get ready for an evening out with Henry Foster. She sees her friend Fanny Crowne and they discuss their plans for the evening. Fanny is surprised that Lenina has been exclusively dating Henry Foster for four months. Fanny reminds Lenina that the D.H.C. does not like the workers to have long or exclusive relationships. Fanny suggests that Lenina be a bit more promiscuous. But Lenina just does not want that. Fanny convinces her to try, as it is for her own good, because "everyone belongs to everyone else."

Lenina tells Fanny that Bernard Marx has asked her to go to a Savage Reservation with him. Fanny does not like Bernard because he has a reputation for not liking outdoor sports, he spends most of his time alone, and he is unusually small. Being alone is aberrant behavior in the Community. But Lenina thinks he is sweet.

Meanwhile Bernard Marx is in the Alpha Changing Room listening to Henry Foster and the Assistant Predestinator talk about Lenina Crowne. Henry is telling the Assistant Predestinator that he should date Lenina because she is fun to be with. This makes Bernard very angry. He feels that they are talking about Lenina as if she were a piece of meat. He is also anxious to hear Lenina's answer as to whether she will go to the Savage Reservation with him. While Bernard is thinking about Lenina, Henry and the Assistant Predestinator decide to tease him by telling him that he needs a gramme of soma. Bernard is incensed but he calmly replies "No thank you." They insist to the point that Bernard yells at Henry and the Assistant Predestinator.

This chapter introduces the reader to an overview of the history of the World State. It explains the State's views on families. That they are emotionally and physically unhealthy for the individuals and society in general. We are also enlightened to the Communities views on sex. That it is a casual activity with no real attachments and is just for fun, and that the idea of having any sort of long-term relationship is against the best interests of the society. Lastly, we are brought into Bernard's inner personality. He is a little man who does not fit in with the Community. He is interested in Lenina but he is put off by the casual way others speak about her.

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