Brave New World

How does John respond to Lenina’s presence? What do his actions incite the crowd to begin doing? Why do you think John participates?


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The deluge of people who come to watch John beat himself with the whip marks the last chance John has to rejoin society. Lenina's arrival spurs him into a rage because in his mind she epitomizes everything evil about her world. She is a sensual being who comes between John and his mother, she defiles his abstinence, and she makes him forget religion. Thus, when John sees Lenina, he attacks her.

The ending differs from what the reader would expect. The crowd transforms from demanding pain to demanding sexual gratification through dance and the cry of "Orgy-porgy." Huxley likens the cry to the beat of the Indian music and implies that the power of the crowd eventually overcomes John, who joins in. Though he could not participate at all in the ritual ceremonies of the Indian people, he becomes the central sacrifice of this ceremony. Huxley again blurs the distinctions between the savage society with no technology and the advanced modern society, leaving open the question of which society is superior. Joining the crowd marks the sacrifice of John’s individualism. He goes from being one man standing alone against a mob to becoming a member of that crowd. This sacrifice turns out to be too much for John, and he hangs himself.