The pueblo, or community dwelling, known as Malpais is situated on a flat, open elevation, surrounded by precipices. Lenina's immediate reaction to the place and to their Indian guide is one of dislike. As they approach the pueblo, they hear the sound of distant drums, coming from the pueblo. After a steep climb, they reach the top of the Mesa. There they meet two Indians, who are half-naked and wearing silver bracelets and necklaces made of bones and turquoise beads. Their faces and bodies are painted, and their hair is braided with feathers. One of the Indians is carrying snakes. Both of them ignore the visitors.
Lenina is repelled by the dirt, dust, and foul smell of the pueblo. She cannot imagine living life in such circumstances. She is shocked when she sees an old Indian coming down from a first-floor terrace; it is the first time she has ever been exposed to old age. It is Bernard who explains to her that this is how age looks when not suppressed and controlled by artificial means. The next shocking sight for Lenina is when she sees women breast-feeding their babies. Bernard aggravates her embarrassment when he comments that such intimacy could have its positive aspects.
The guide takes them to a wide terrace from where they can observe the happenings in the village square. Some kind of a ritual is taking place. It starts with music being played, followed by a chorus of dancers. A young man comes in and walks around; soon he is whip-lashed until he collapses and his blood is spilled over the snakes. When the crowd quickly disperses, the boy is left alone until carried inside by some old women. Lenina is overwhelmed by the sight. She longs for the comfort of soma, but she has forgotten to bring any along on the trip.
Suddenly, another young man steps out. Although he is dressed like an Indian, he does not look like one, for he has light skin. He regrets that he has not been selected for the honor of the whiplash because he feels confident that he would have endured the thrashing. When he notices Lenina, he is at once attracted to her; she too openly admires his looks. Bernard questions the young man and learns his mother, Linda, had originally belonged to the "Other Place." She had come to the Reservation with a companion, who abandoned her there. The young man says that when his mother was deserted, she was already pregnant and carrying him; he knows that the man who is his father is called Tomakin. Bernard excitedly realizes that the boy is the son of the Director and Linda, his lost Beta-minus companion.
The boy takes them to his squalid little house on the outskirts of the
pueblo. There they meet Linda, who is shocked to see two figures from
"the other world." As memories of the past flood her mind, she
speaks with a mixture of the "civilized" world, which she had
left behind but never forgotten, and the present "savage" one,
where she is a misfit. The sense of rejection that she feels is understandable;
the Indians cannot accept her, and Linda cannot conform to their ways.
Deprived of the facilities and privileges of the "Other World,"
Linda has fallen into a rut and wallows in filth. Lenina is disgusted
when she meets Linda, for she is asked a barrage of questions. She is
also the unwilling recipient of Linda's confidences.
This is a swift-paced, eventful chapter. The description of the Reservation closely resembles the traditional American Indian settlement. The references to the filth, to the pagan rites, and to the strange, colorful dress reflect the stereotypical view about American Indians. Huxley is obviously satirizing the typical attitude toward the "natives."
The world of the reservation offers an exotic, though primitive, contrast to the antiseptic and organized civilization of the new world. Lenina's negative reaction to the pueblo and its people is predictable. It is also not surprising that Bernard seems somewhat fascinated by what he sees. Both of them, however, are attracted to John and his story. He is the son of Linda and Tomakin, the Director of the Hatcheries, and an interesting mix of both the "other world" and the reservation. Huxley obviously intends John to be compared to Rousseau's "noble savage."
When Linda is introduced, Huxley creates an immediate sympathy for her. Abandoned on the Reservation by Tomakin, she has raised their son alone and lived her life caught between two different worlds. On the reservation, she is not accepted by the others nor can she accept or conform to their strange ways. She has dreamed about going back to the "other world," but has no way to escape there. Because she is trapped in a miserable existence and has succumbed to the filth of the pueblo, Linda elicits both pity and horror from the reader. She is, however, a much more interesting character than her antiseptic counterparts in the new world. She also serves to point out the futility of making the two disparate worlds meet.
The chapter ends with suspense. It is obvious that Bernard is planning to
take advantage of his chance meeting with Linda and John; however, no
indication is given at this point as to how Bernard will use the information
for his own gain.
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