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BRAVE NEW WORLD: STUDY NOTES / FREE BOOK NOTES
John's relationship with Linda, especially in this chapter set at her deathbed, is highly reminiscent of Hamlet's relationship with his mother; it is a mixture of love and jealousy, pain and resentment. Grief-stricken over the thought of losing her (and his one tie to the old order), John desperately attempts to restore their relationship to a loving and pure one, like he imagined from his childhood. His dream is doomed to failure, for Linda is not capable of truly loving her son; she is too much a product of the new world. In fact, she mistakes John for Pope, her past lover. The Savage truly becomes savage in his grief over his mother's non-recognition. He grabs her and shakes her violently, causing her to choke. Regaining his senses, he goes for help, but it is too late. When he returns, Linda is dead. John is uncontrollable in his sorrow.
In contrast to John's grief, characteristic of the old world, is the
matter of fact approach and disbelief of the nurse and the reactions of
the children who are more curious than disturbed by death.
On his way out of Park Lane Hospital, John is caught in a crowd of Deltas waiting for their day's ration of soma. He is suddenly struck by the gap between the real and the ideal. He had believed that his mother's civilized new world would by like Miranda's "brave new world" in The Tempest. The reality, however, is a far cry from it. Suddenly, he can no longer tolerate the gap; he decides he must convert the Deltas and convince them of the dangers of their menial situation. Believing himself to be their Messiah, he grabs their ration of soma and throws it out the window. When the Alpha in charge hurries away to get help, the Deltas surround John ominously.
Bernard and Helmholtz have been wondering about John's whereabouts.
When they learn of Linda's serious condition, they rush to the hospital.
They arrive in time to see John's efforts to help the Deltas. Helmholtz,
stimulated by the general air of revolt, joins the effort of the Savage.
Bernard, however, remains a distant onlooker. In the end, the police are
called; the Deltas are reconditioned to be their docile selves. John and
Helmholtz are taken away, along with a reluctant Bernard.
The Savage, obviously reaching the end of his tether, tries to seize control of the pitiful Deltas. He sees himself as a Messiah, trying to save this brave new world. The hopelessness of the task is evident, for John is powerless against the state. But his act of aggression frightens the authorities and proves that even in this utopian society, rebellion is possible, and law and order have to be vigilantly kept. Helmholtz is excited by John's rebellion and courageously joins his cause. In contrast, Bernard stands aside, again revealing his basic cowardice.
In portraying John's rebellion and its quick control, Huxley is obviously
referencing the situation in the totalitarian countries of the 1930s.
Years of dictatorship were being resisted with rebellion; but any threat
to the dictatorial leadership was quickly controlled by the government
before it crumbled into chaos.
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