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The real irony of the chapter lies in the fact that the total control
and conditioning of this brave new world is not as perfect as it appears;
Linda and John are the living proof that not everything is scientifically
controlled and that things still go awry. Additionally, the chapter points
out that in this totalitarian culture of the new world, it seems perfectly
acceptable to sacrifice the individual on the altar of society. The chapter
ends on a note of tension; the reader is made to wonder what will happen
to John and Linda.
Linda is either completely ignored, almost as if common, or totally rejected by those in the new world. The Alphas and Betas cannot stomach her ill-kept appearance and flabbiness. She exists on increasingly larger doses of soma, as John helplessly stands by and watches her destroy herself. Although her life will be shortened by her overdosing, she is relieved by her drugged existence, knowing that rejuvenation is not possible for her. The doctors who attend her welcome the opportunity to observe human aging and senility.
In contrast to his mother, John the "Savage" becomes an immediate sensation in London for his differences. Bernard, serving as his guardian, basks in the limelight. He changes from a clumsy, self-conscious, alienated Alpha-plus into a man with clout, as he controls John's schedule and his visitors. In a patronizing manner, Bernard regularly reports to the Controller on John's reactions and adds his own comments. Gaining greater confidence (almost a sense of superiority), Bernard begins to openly criticize certain aspects of the totalitarian society. It is hinted that Bernard will be disgraced and ostracized in the future for over-reaching himself.
John is disgusted with life in the brave, new world. He is horrified at the things that he finds in the factories and repulsed by the reliance on soma. When he visits Eton, the upper-caste school, he is bewildered by the lessons taught there, especially when he hears the Savage Reservation being ridiculed and watches the process of hypnop'dia. As a result of his negative experiences, he is driven towards his mother and develops an almost "unnatural" affection for her, despite her ugliness.
When Bernard has a date with someone else, he assigns to Lenina the
care of John. She is thrilled at the opportunity, for she has been puzzled
by the fact that John has not attempted to make love to her even though
she senses his attraction. She takes him to the "feelies," where
John experiences the "virtual reality" of a romance. He still,
however, resists the sensation of arousal and refuses to spend the entire
evening with Lenina. He drops her off early at her place and returns to
his room, confused by the "base" feelings he is experiencing.
He seeks solace in his copy of Shakespeare. Lenina tries to overcome her
disappointment with a dose of soma.
In this chapter, the Savage is both observer and observed. The new world looks on with amusement at his strange ways, and people fight to have a visit with him. John is disappointed with what he discovers in the new world. Puzzlement, aversion, disgust, even anger is aroused in him. He cannot accept the lack of individuality and the concept of sex without finer feelings. Although he is attracted to Lenina, he will not participate in a non-committal sexual relationship with her, a fact that Lenina cannot understand and resents. In his discomfort in his new existence, he turns to his mother, but his attachment to Linda is held up as another example of his freakishness.
Linda is totally dismissed by the new world. The Alphas and Betas laugh at her ugliness, especially since she is overweight and unkempt. She finds her solace in soma, staying in a drugged stupor most of the time. Only the doctors find her interesting. They welcome the opportunity to see aging and senility, traits that have been eliminated in the new world order.
The shallow Bernard basks in the attention that he receives as John's guardian.
He arranges the Savage's schedule and monitors his visitors. Overly confident
about his newly found power, he begins to openly voice his criticism of
the totalitarian society, indicating his earlier rebellion was merely
to hide his inferiority complex. It is now obvious that he will be quieted
by the new world sometime in the future.
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