Brave New World Chapter 7 Summary

Lenina and Bernard travel with their Indian guide to the pueblo. Lenina doesn't like the mesa, the dust, the walking, or their guide. As they approach Malpais they hear drums beating. A path takes them to the bottom of a cliff, which looking up is the mesa. They climb up a steep path to the top of the mesa. Soon they hear people coming, they see two Indians who are bare to the waist and have white lines painted on their necks and torsos. They run by Lenina and Bernard, one Indian carrying a feather brush and the other four snakes. This is distressing to Lenina.

At the pueblo entrance, their guide leaves them to go inside and receive instructions. Here Lenina and Bernard encounter the dirt, garbage, dust, and flies that make up the living areas of the Indians. Lenina cannot comprehend how anyone can live like this. Bernard tells her that since they have been doing it for five or six thousand years, they are probably used to it. Lenina repeats one of the phrases ingrained in her mind, "cleanliness is next to fordliness." He points out that the Indians had not heard of Our Ford and are not civilized. Lenina wishes she had brought her soma. Because now she has to deal with her feelings about being among the Indians on her own. She is repulsed at seeing two women nursing their babies because it seems indecent to her.

At this point the guide returns. He has them follow him to a ladder which they climb up to a terrace where the drums are being played. Below them in the village square are two platforms which are circles, one is masonry and one tamped down clay. These are the roofs of the underground chambers. The sounds of flutes below the terrace floor is heard and the drums beat. There is also singing by the men and women. The whole scene is foreign to Lenina and Bernard, not only the place and music, but also how the people look with their native clothing.

From below up come Indians with frightening masks or painted bodies. All the time there is a great deal of singing and circle dancing. Suddenly a woman screams and the leader of the dance line opens a large wood chest and takes out two black snakes, dancers rush to take the snakes. The dance line leader throws more and more snakes. At a signal he commands the dancers to throw the snakes down into the middle of the square. An old man comes up from the underground chambers and throws cornmeal on the snakes, then a woman throws water on the snakes. From the hatches, a painted image of an eagle and the painted image of a man, nude and nailed to a cross are brought up. A young man comes out of the crowd and walks around the pile of snakes, as he does this he is being whipped. When at last he staggers and falls the old man puts a feather into the young man's blood and shakes it over the snakes. With drums beating the snakes are removed and the young man is taken away. Lenina is at this point crying uncontrollably.

She and Bernard are confronted by a blonde, blue-eyed white man. He is dressed as an Indian, but speaks perfect English. He is anxious to find out if they are from outside the Reservation. He tells Bernard and Lenina that although he has lived on the Reservation his whole life, he has never been accepted because he looks different. He wanted to be the one to go through the ceremony, the purpose of which is to ensure rain for the coming crops, to please Pookong and Jesus, and prove manhood. But because of the color of his skin he was not chosen. He is taken with Lenina because she is the first white female he has seen besides his mother. The young man explains that he lives there with his mother, Linda. She came to the Reservation from the Other Place years ago. She went for a walk in the mountains and fell, hitting her head. Hunters found her and took her to their village to get well. The man, who the boy called Tomakin, was his father. He left Linda behind and was never heard from again. Bernard knows that the Director's first name is Thomas. The young man takes Lenina and Bernard to a squalid home outside the pueblo. That is where he and Linda live. He has Linda come out and meet Bernard and Lenina. Linda, who is a Beta, is now smelly, wrinkly, fat, and dirty . She is thrilled to see Bernard and Lenina. Lenina is repulsed by her. Linda runs to them, hugs and kisses them. She thought she would never see a civilized face again. They learn the boy's name is John. She tells them that despite taking all the contraceptive precautions she still became pregnant. Since there was no abortion clinic she was forced to endure the humiliation of giving birth without even soma to help her cope. As a Beta this new place was strange and foreign to her. She tried to keep up the practice of promiscuity, but here they practiced monogamy. The wives hated and despised her and John did not understand. He tried to kill a man just because she was with him. The Indians rejecting John made it a bit easier to condition him. But, she was only a Beta and was not equipped to answer all of John's questions.

Chapter seven introduces us to the people of the Savage Reservation. The major theme of this chapter is others not being accepted because they are different from what is considered the social norm. We learn about the Indians customs and culture. We are also introduced to Linda and John, who are alienated by the Indians.

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