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BRAVE NEW WORLD: PLOT SUMMARY / CHAPTER NOTES
Again in this chapter, the impersonal, sophisticated high-technology nature of the brave, new world is revealed. Although Lenina approaches Bernard to tell him she wants to go to the Savage Reservation, he is incapable of responding to her emotions; in fact, his pained expression clearly reveals that he is uncomfortable about her straightforwardness. Lenina, on the other hand, has little depth of emotion. Totally unaware of Bernard's response to her, she rushes off to a date with Foster.
During the chapter, Huxley again emphasizes the automated advances that
color the brave new world. Lenina and Foster travel in a personal helicopter,
and the offices of the "Propaganda Bureau" and "Emotional
Engineering College" function with scientific efficiency. In spite
of the seeming precision of the new world, there are again definite undercurrents
of rebellion depicted. Bernard and Watson, for very different reasons,
are uncomfortable with the world of conformity that surrounds them. Bernard
suffers from a significant inferiority complex because of his small size;
in contrast, Watson is almost too perfect to fit in with the dull conformity
around him. At the end of the chapter, there is a sense of uneasiness
over the discontent that Bernard and Watson express.
The first part of this chapter centers on Lenina and Foster, who are returning from their game of golf. Once again a bird's eye-view of London is presented, this time at night. As they fly over the city, landmarks are singled out, one of which is the Slough Crematorium; the technology inside it is so advanced that they are able to recover phosphorus from the corpses. Lenina comments that in death all the castes become equal and useful. Foster reminds her that all people in the brave, new world are physically and chemically equal. The two of them then dutifully repeat the conditioned response, "Everybody's happy now." They land the helicopter on the roof of Foster's house and have dinner. Fortified by soma, Lenina and Foster dance all night in a warm haze.
In the same chapter, Bernard takes leave of Watson and heads toward
the Fordson Community Surgery, which has a huge auditorium meant for Ford's
Day celebrations and Community Sings. Bernard thinks about it being Solidarity
Service day for him; he will meet in a group of twelve people whose purpose
is to lose their separate identities and fuse together. The service is
preceded by a sign of the T, followed by synthetic music. Everyone present
has some soma and sings to become "one." On every twelfth strain
of the song, more soma is taken. Before long, they all seem to be on a
high. They drink to his imminence, "His Coming," almost like
the twelve apostles before the resurrection. Before long, they claim to
sense Ford's presence; imagining that they hear his feet, they dance in
a circular procession, as a version of Georgy-Porgie is sung in a litany.
Before long, they fall into spine poses in a state of calm ecstasy; they
believe that they have experienced rapture. Bernard pretends throughout
the entire ceremony, never entering into the spirit of it all. Feeling
totally alienated, he is self-conscious and miserable.
This chapter provides further glimpses into the lifestyles of the different castes, especially the Alphas. Life seems to be a programmed world of fun and frolic, where everything follows a set pattern with even the responses being rehearsed. The euphoric mood seems to be always soma-induced. Some of the descriptions ring frighteningly contemporary rather than futuristic; since the novel was published in 1932, the future depicted could really be the current past. In fact, the references to monorails, jet-hopping, drugged merriment, and community orgies are no longer fantasies.
Once again Bernard strikes a note of discord in this made-to-order world.
Although he attends the Solidarity Service, meant to bring people together
and to fuse them into oneness, Bernard only pretends to participate in
it. Never really involved, he feels self-conscious and apart.
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. 10 May 2008