Brave New World

what is a "soma holiday" ? why does lenina go on one?

lenina says..

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A soma holiday is a drug induced form of relaxation.

Many people in the novel go on "soma holidays". In fact, the necessary oppressiveness of having utilitarian happiness is expressed by Huxley in Brave New World. A utilitarian society aims to produce the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people. In Huxley's society, this particular good is happiness, and government, industry, and all other social apparatuses exist in order to maximize the happiness of all members of society. John the Savage rebels against this notion of utilitarian happiness. He argues that humanity must also know how to be unhappy in order to create and appreciate beauty. The use of soma, however, is an example of the opposite. People take the drug in order to go on a "holiday" from any kind of unhappiness. Because they refuse to experience unhappiness, the drug keeps them from wonder and the appreciation of beauty such as in the scene when Lenina and Bernard fly over the churning waters of the English Channel. He sees a beautiful display of nature's power; she sees a horribly frightening scene that she wants to avoid. Ironically, Lenina along with the others that use soma are brainwashed into already thinking that their lives are beautiful and fail to realize what real beauty is.