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Brave New World opens in London, nearly six hundred years in the future (“After Ford”). Human life has been almost entirely industrialized—controlled by a few people at the top of a World State. The first scene, offering a tour of a lab where human beings are created and conditioned according to the society’s strict caste system, establishes the tone and the theme of dehumanized life. The natural processes of birth, aging, and death represent horrors in this world.
Bernard Marx, an Alpha-Plus psychologist, emerges as the single discontented person in a world where material comfort and physical pleasure—provided by the drug soma and recreational sex—are the only concerns. Scorned by women, Bernard nevertheless manages to engage the attention of Lenina Crowne, a “pneumatic” beauty who agrees to spend a week with him at the remote Savage Reservation in New Mexico, a place far from the controlled, technological world of London.
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In the Savage Reservation with Lenina, Bernard meets a woman from London who gave birth to a son about 20 years before. Seeing his opportunity to gain power over the D.H.C, Bernard brings Linda and John back to London and presents them publicly to the D.H.C., who is about to banish Bernard.
Shocked and humiliated by the proof of his horrifying connection with natural birth, the D.H.C. flees in terror. Once a social outcast, Bernard now enjoys great success, because of his association with the new celebrity—John, called “the Savage.”
Educated on the traditional ways of the Reservation and an old volume of the poetry of Shakespeare, John finds London strange, confusing, and finally repellent. His quotation of Miranda’s line from The Tempest—“O brave new world / that has such people in it”—at first expresses his awe of the “Other Place” his mother told him of as a child. But the quotation becomes ironic as the recreational sex, soma, and identical human beings of London more and more disgust John.
Lenina’s attempted seduction provokes John’s anger and violence, and, later, the death of Linda further arouses his fury. At last, John’s attempt to keep a crowd of Deltas from their ration of soma results in a riot and his arrest, along with Bernard and Helmholtz Watson, an “emotional engineer” who wishes to be a poet.
The three face the judgment of World Controller Mustapha Mond, who acknowledges the flaws of this brave new world, but sates that the loss of freedom and individuality is a small price to pay for stability. Mond banishes Bernard and Helmholtz to the Falkland Islands and rules that John must stay in London.
When his two friends leave for their exile, John determines to make a retreat for himself in a remote, secluded lighthouse outside the city. There he tries to purify himself of civilization with ritual whippings and vomiting.
Drawn by the spectacle of his wild penances, reporters and crowds, press in on John, who becomes a public curiosity. When Lenina appears in the crowd, John furiously attacks her with the whip. John’s frenzy inflames the crowd, and, in accordance with their social training, the violence turns into a sexual orgy, with John drawn in more or less unwillingly.
The next day, when John awakes from the effects of the soma, he realizes in horror what he has done. The novel closes on an image of John’s body, hanging lifeless from a wooden beam in his lighthouse retreat.
With Brave New World, Huxley offers an entertaining but realistic escape from the conditions of American life in the post-depression period. The ideals and images of technological advancement were a welcome diversion for both the poor people of the hoovervilles and the members of the upper class who went, for the most part, unaffected by the depression. Through Huxley’s use of satire he conveys his purpose to mock the ideas, customs, and manners of a developing American society in comparison to mid-evil England.
The themes of the novel also reflect these satirical ideals: The use of technology to control society, the incompatibility of happiness and truth, and the dangers of an all- powerful state. They serve as the framework from which the narrative spirals outward.
Seeing as though the story begins some 632 after the date’s prefix refers, it can be clearly deduced that the pattern of structure in which Huxley implements is none other than in medias res. Through the first few chapters, several references to past events are made such as the ever so popular quote, ”In the year of our Ford.” which clearly represents a past event that would warrant this time period to be called such. Other references to the past include the symbolic nature of the letter T, hinting at, well at least to any automobile enthusiast, some relationship to the Ford T-Model car.
As the story the conflict is quite blurry and seemingly centered around society as a whole, then as the narrative develops, the central conflict is realized as a battle of man vs. society. This conflict is characterized by John’s struggle to understand this dystopian society, while trying to maintain his traditional values and appreciation of such values as human emotion, individuality, and family. Bernard Marx and Lenina Crowne return from the Savage Reservation with Linda and the “savage” John, which incites all of the action that follows. Upon his return Bernard Marx gains immense popularity and manages to do the exact opposite of what was expected to happen to himself. John also becomes popular among the people of the “Other Place”. As the people of London find themselves fascinated by the strange life that John has led, John begins to develop some sexual attraction for Lenina. He manages to subdue his feelings however, again showing his strong favor of traditional values.
Things take a turn, as John receives new of his mother ‘s admittance to he Hospital for the Dying. This can be considered the technical climax because, John’s emotions change from confusion and disbelief to anger and contempt. These emotions lead up to the dramatic climax, in which John looses control and incites a riot as he tries to prevent some people from receiving their rations of soma:
“Listen, I beg of you,” cried the Savage earnestly…” Lend me your ears…”” Don’t take that horrible stuff. It’s poison, it’s poison.” "Poison to body as well as soul.”
Through his actions and the actions of Marx and Watson, they are all detained and brought to the office of Mustapha Mond.