Brave New World Chapter 5 Summary

Chapter five finds Henry and Lenina at the Stoke Poges Club House. They leave in Henry's helicopter and fly over the Slough Crematorium. Lenina notices the four chimneys rising out of the crematorium. She is curious about the balconies around the smoke stacks. Henry tells her they are for phosphorus recovery. A kilo and a half comes from each adult body and is used for agricultural production. Henry feels that in some way it is as if a person is still contributing to society even after they are dead. But Lenina feels that the Alphas and Betas are contributing more than the Gammas, Deltas and Epsilons. Henry explains that physico-chemically, all the people are equal. As they are discussing the fact that even Epsilons contribute to society they fly over the smoke stacks. They are suddenly lifted up higher in the air and just as suddenly plummeted back to the altitude they were originally at. Lenina thinks this is great fun until Henry explains the sudden lift is because someone has been cremated. The lift is due to the hot gas being expelled from the crematorium. Lenina and Henry do not feel any sadness at the loss of a human being. The programming which they receive as youngsters allows them to dispel any such thoughts or feelings. Instead they are reassured that the person who is cremated is happy now knowing that they are helping the Society's agricultural production.

They eat dinner in the dining-hall of Henry's apartment house in Westminster before going to the Westminster Abbey Cabaret. They, of course, have a bit of soma with the after dinner coffee. This enables them to attend the cabaret with a pleasant state of mind. Once at the cabaret, they dance to the music of "Calvin Stopes and His Sixteen Sexophonists". It is billed as "London's Finest Scent and Color Organ. All the Latest Synthetic Music." The color organ casts colors on the ceiling of the hall; this night is a tropical sunset. Lenina and Henry join the other dancers on the floor and do the five-step. As the night ends, loudspeakers tell the dancers to leave with a congenial "Good-night, dear friends." Since all the couples are conditioned to obey these commands everyone leaves quickly, but happily. Henry and Lenina take some more soma and return to Henry's apartment to complete their night. Before they are able to complete their evening, Lenina true to her conditioning takes all the contraceptive measures she has been taught.

Bernard, meanwhile, is attending his every other Thursday Solidarity Service meeting. Before the meeting Bernard has dinner at the Aphroditaeum with Helmholtz, who is a member. From the Aphroditaeum, Bernard takes a helicopter to the Fordson Community Singery. Unfortunately he is arriving just as the golden trumpets on the landing pad are playing music. The music signifies to Bernard that he is going to be late for his meeting. Bernard runs to the elevator and procedes up to the 33rd floor. Walking into the room he is happy to see that he is not the last person to arrive. He slips into one of the three open chairs in the room. With the arrival of the last person, Sarojini Engels, the circle of twelve starts its service. Six men and six women alternatingly sit in a circle. The purpose of the service is for the 12 individuals to become one larger being. After making the sign of the T, the President turns on the music. The music is not meant to be heard but rather felt in the midriff. In each participant, their bowels are left with a yearning for the music. The President again makes the sign of the T and sits down. Soma tablets are put in the center of the table along with a cup of soma strawberry ice-cream. As the soma ice-cream is passed around each participant takes a drink saying "I drink to my annihilation." The participants sing hymns in an effort to become as one. The soma makes each participant pliable to the suggestions of the song. The song suggests that each individual can become larger than themselves if they become as one.

Bernard is well aware that for himself, becoming as one with the group was not going to happen. He tries to let himself become one with the larger group but, always fails. He feels he is destined to be alone for the rest of his life. Meanwhile the others in the group are drinking to His Coming, the coming of the Greater Being. Soon the room is filled with tension of the Coming and the President turns off the music. A deep voice starts to speak. It is saying "Ford, Ford, Ford" over and over again in softer and softer tones. Some of the members of the group begin to hear the "feet of the Greater Being." As the group hears the footsteps on the stairs they get up and begin to dance around the room. They dance in a line holding onto the waist of the person in front of them. The lights start to go down and become crimson colored. The dancers stop dancing and recline on the couches that ring the room.

Afterward, Bernard is up on the roof with Fifi Bradlaugh, she is a member of the group, and she is extolling how wonderful the evening was. Bernard instead is left feeling alone and isolated. He is feeling more alone than he did before the service.

This chapter's theme is the need to feel a part of a larger community. This is exemplified by Lenina and Henry dining with others in a dining hall, instead of alone. Another example of this is Bernard's quest to become part of one larger being called the Greater Being. But Bernard fails to become part of the Greater Being. He is alone and more isolated than ever.

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