Brave New World

Brave New World Summary and Analysis of Chapters 13-15

Chapter 13

Summary:

Lenina's crush on John the Savage becomes increasingly uncontrollable for her. At one point Henry Foster tells Lenina that she appears sick and asks what is the matter. While he talks, Lenina becomes irritated and finally tells him to shut up. Later, Lenina discusses her sole desire for John and no other man with Fanny. Fanny, ever practical, tells Lenina she must either forget about John and sleep with other men or take the initiative and go directly to John's room.

Lenina agrees with Fanny, so she takes some soma to bolster her courage and goes to visit John. After she arrives, she tells him that she likes him. John, with images from Shakespeare in his head, tells her that he feels unworthy of her and begs her to make him worthy of her. John’s constant discussion of his feelings and quoting of Shakespeare confuses Lenina, and she only understands him after he tells her that he loves her.

Lenina responds by stripping off her clothes and trying to kiss him, a natural reaction given her cultural upbringing. John, however, reacts first with shock and then with rage. He screams, "Whore, impudent strumpet," and he flings her away. While John tries to slap her, Lenina runs into the bathroom and shuts the door. She begs him to return her clothes and belongings. The phone rings and John answers. Learning that Linda is sick, John rushes out of the room, leaving the terrified Lenina in his room.

Analysis:

Lenina's desire for John shows that she has fallen in love with him. Her new emotional monogamy goes against her conditioning. The fact that s experiences new emotions throughout this experience makes her actions and thoughts more like those of an individual, creating a sense of inner conflict. Thus, she constantly requires soma in order to interact with John, taking it during their first date and again before going to his house.

Since Lenina has no conception of other cultures and traditions, let alone the Indian traditions, having sex is her conception of love. When John tells her he loves her, she logically assumes that he must want to have sex with her. The entire scene of Lenina going to John is an assertion of individuality, but after her stripping naked causes John to erupt in violence, she immediately reverts to the security of her sociological ideals. Consequently, Lenina quotes her hypnopaedic learning to John while she is in the bathroom. His reaction and their subsequent struggle destroy Lenina's move towards individuality.

John's actions are enigmatic at first but logical in light of his pat. John tells how he used to become furious at his mother because she would have sex with so many men. Since he shares monogamous ideals with the Indian tribe, John has a great deal of suppressed anger towards his mother. Thus, when Lenina strips for him, she becomes everything he hates about Linda. At that moment, she loses the power of being desirable to him. In the baseness of nudity, Lenina becomes an object that embodies his mother's base attributes. As a result, John takes all of his rage out on Lenina and drives her away from him.

Lenina's nakedness may also reflect the unveiling of her society’s true nature. Like Lenina, the society seemingly promotes beauty, happiness, and perfection. However, when stripped of its garments, the society appears just as base and human as the Indian society that John left. Lenina's nakedness causes John to realize the gross imperfections of the dystopian society. He realizes that he cannot survive in this society any more than he could survive in the Indian village. Ironically, whereas John struggled to belong to the Indian social structure, he now struggles to avoid his new society.

Chapter 14

Summary:

John goes to the Park Lane Hospital for the Dying to see Linda. He encounters the head nurse, who seems astonished that anyone would want to see the dying or dead. Since society has abandoned individuality, they consider dying as beneficial to the population.

John finds Linda in an unconscious state and tries to rouse her. Meanwhile, the head nurse leads an entire Bokanovsky group (a large group of identical twins) into the room for their death conditioning. The boys act as if they are in a game room, and the head nurse encourages them to have fun. The idea is that if death and fun intermingle, then people will lose their natural fear of dying. When the boys notice Linda, they make fun of her ugliness and fatness. John angrily picks one of the boys up and tosses him away from her. The head nurse is upset that John interfered in the death conditioning and warns him to behave.

When Linda returns to a state of semi-consciousness, she asks for Pope. Until this point, John had been remembering the positive memories with her at the Indian village Malpais. Her mention of Pope, though, converts his memories to bad ones. Out of frustration, he shakes her in an effort to get her to recognize him.

Linda suddenly notices John's presence, but before she can speak, she begins choking and soon stops breathing. John realizes that he shook her too hard, and he runs to get the head nurse. When she arrives, they see that Linda has already passed away in her bed. The head nurse, more concerned about the death conditioning of the young boys, returns to them with an offer of chocolate éclairs. John sits by the bed and cries over Linda's death until the boys again interrupt him. He silently strides from the room, knocking down one of the boys.

Analysis:

The two concepts of individual death presented in these chapters are starkly different. In John's idea of death, each individual represents a whole unto itself and deserves to be mourned upon death. On the other hand, the bokanovskified children learn to view death in a societal context, where the individual has no meaning. Because death does not harm society, the people do not need to fear it.

The transition between John's good and bad memories foreshadows upcoming events. John initially remembers the good times he had with Linda, but when she mentions Pope's name, he can only recall the bad memories, as when he tried to kill Pope. This parallels John's vision of English society, which had seemed unsullied until he actually experiences London, after which he can only see its negatives.

With Linda’s death, John realizes that he is now alone. All of society’s supposed benefits have turned out to be things that morally repulse John. Because of his quest to maintain his individuality, John soon realizes that he cannot live as a sane member of this society.

Chapter 15

Summary:

After stepping out of the elevator on the hospital’s ground floor, John confronts one hundred and sixty-two Deltas divided into two Bokanovsky groups, who comprise the menial staff of the hospital and are waiting to receive their daily soma. The Savage watches them line up to receive their ration and starts repeating the phrase "Oh brave new world" to himself. He decides that the phrase is a call to arms and a challenge to make the world a new place.

John pushes his way to the front of the group and preaches to the Deltas, saying that the soma is poison and that he has come to bring them freedom. The Deltas are by definition mentally stunted and begin to get upset at not receiving their soma. They press closer to John, who manages to seize the box filled with soma rations.

Bernard and Helmholtz get a call from the hospital telling them the Savage is there. They rush over to find John dumping the soma out the window with one hand while using the other to punch the attacking Deltas. Helmholtz laughs at this and joins in, yelling, "Men at last!" Bernard hesitates about joining in the fray, becomes scared, and decides to wait. The police arrive and spray the air with soma to subdue the mob. Bernard tries to sneak out but the police catch him and place him in a car with John and Helmholtz so that they can see Mustapha Mond.

Analysis:

Society has compromised John's struggle to maintain his individuality and destroy society’s "sameness." For John, "sameness" becomes visually embodied in the bokanovskified twins. The physical appearance of multitudes of twins, all replicated and doing the same job, represents the total eradication of individual personality.

John logically blames soma for this elimination of individuality. Soma suppresses emotions, which are the defining characteristics of individuals. By trying to force the Deltas to act as individuals, John attacks society’s roots. He sees the difference between the social order and individuality as one of freedom. Helmholtz realizes this and joins the Savage with the significant cry, "Men at last!"

John the Savage develops more clearly as a Christ figure. Like the character of Christ in the New Testament, Christ figures come to teach some great truth or revelation to an ignorant or unenlightened people. The Christ figure speaks truth, but the people often do not hear the message. The Christ figure thus becomes a sacrifice for his ideals.

Ironically, although John and Helmholtz seek to force the Deltas to act as individuals, they obtain the opposite result. The Deltas instead act as a unified mob, a classic example of people who have lost their ability to make personal choices. Huxley shows that not only does a mob rob its members of their individuality, but that the society in Brave New World is in reality a carefully orchestrated mob.

Bernard is a pathetic individual for whom the reader can only feel sympathy. Bernard so fears acting as an individual that he still seeks societal acceptance. Thus, he does not join his friends because he fears permanent rejection. However, he does not realizes that he already faces it, as shown when he fails to sneak out of the hospital with the multitude. The police usher him into the car with the Savage and Helmholtz, firmly implicating him as an individual.