Brave New World

Brave New World Summary and Analysis of Chapters 7-9

Chapter 7


The Indian guide leads Bernard and Lenina into the reservation, where the smells and the sight of poverty, disease, and old age immediately assault them. Since there is no live birth in the outside society, Lenina finds the scene of a woman nursing a child to be disgusting. She then discovers that both she and Bernard forgot their soma, so she has to see the village consciously rather than through the veil of the narcotic. However, Bernard feels a strange fascination with the scene. Bernard and Lenina watch a ritual dance of sacrifice to the gods Pookong and Jesus, where a young man slowly proceeds around a pile of snakes in the center of the Pueblo square. While walking, the young man receives a whipping until he falls and dies. The other Indians worship a statue of a man on a cross and an eagle.

After the ritual, they meet a blond-haired man with blue eyes. The Savage, whose name is John, tells them that he is upset that the other Indians will not let him participate in the ritual because of his skin color. He explains that his mother was like Lenina, a woman from civilized society, who some hunters had saved. Bernard concludes that John's mother was the woman the Director had taken to the reservation twenty-five years ago.

Bernard and Lenina meet Linda, John's mother, who rejoices at seeing civilized people again. She complains that there is too much dirt and that she has to drink mescal (alcohol) and use peyote, a hallucinatory drug, in place of soma. She describes how she ended up on the reservation and pregnant with John even though she took all precautions with the Director. Although Lenina feels disgusted by Linda, she feels forced to listen. Linda explains that she used to let all the men come to her for sex, as civilized people should, but that all the other women got mad. She also struggled to condition John to the ways of civilized society but apparently failed. She concludes that John spends too much time with the Indians to become truly civilized. She describes the Indian way of life as madness and longs for the comforts and cleanliness of civilization.


This scene challenges Bernard and Lenina to release their emotions. Since both of them forget to bring any soma, they cannot hide behind the narcotic’s pleasures. For the first time, Lenina cannot completely hold back her emotions. The way the Indians live induces an intense amount of revulsion in her. Bernard tells Lenina that men have lived this way for thousands of years, but she simply cannot believe it.

The tribal dance shows that although their culture differs entirely from Bernard and Lenina’s, it is also imperfect because it too enforces the suppression of emotion. The tribe worships a hybrid of Pookong and Jesus as their deity, which shows how the Indian culture fuses religion and superstition. Whereas the Indians unemotionally take part in the ritual dance, Lenina begins crying when she sees the blood of the sacrificed young man. Huxley has characters view the madness of Indian ritual directly, without the veil of soma, but the tribal ritual successfully eradicates emotions and sentiment from the Indians even without soma. Huxley juxtaposes Lenina’s uncharacteristic tears with the uncaring of the very people that supposedly suffer from unwanted emotions.

The chapter also highlights the natural desire to sequester those who are different as human nature rather than only as a function of governmental power. Society has outcast the Indians for their differences, yet the Indians also make outcasts of others, as exemplified by John the Savage. He is a hybrid, a man who has partial conditioning but who has also learned Indian ways. He does not belong to either culture and can thus evaluate the relative merits of both. He is an entirely sane individual caught in an insane environment with a half-insane mother. Interestingly, although he is of the sanest characters, his mother describes him as being mad. John also alludes to Shakespeare, whose literature will play a role in later chapters. In Chapter 7, John laments "that damned spot" on the ground, which is the blood of the sacrificed Indian but which refers to Shakespeare's Macbeth. This reference may symbolize the complicity of "civilized" society in the destruction of Indian culture.

Notably, the reservation is not just a symbol of human nature or of societal differences, but also of a representation of events that have occurred in the past. Huxley lived in New Mexico for part of his life and saw firsthand how others sequestered and maligned Native Americans and indigenous populations. Huxley saw the tragedy in such situations, and Brave New World meditates extensively on humanity's propensity to separate those that are different.

Chapter 8


Bernard asks John to tell him about growing up in the Indian village. John recalls how his mother Linda used to have sex with many men. Pope became her steady lover because he brought her mescal (alcohol). At one point, the women of the village beat Linda because they did not want her to continue sleeping with their husbands. Following the beating, Linda slapped John because she blamed him for her predicament.

Linda taught John to read while he was a child, and reading allowed him to superior to the other boys who beat and taunted him for being different. On his twelfth birthday, John received a volume of The Complete Works of Shakespeare. He learned to read the entire volume and received an odd sort of inspiration from many of the passages. Once, he found his mother in bed with Pope and fell into a rage. Remembering a particular verse from Shakespeare ("When he is drunk asleep, or in his rage / Or in the incestuous pleasure of his bed..."), he attempted to kill Pope with a knife, though he failed and suffered a beating.

At fifteen, John learned how to make clay pots from one of the older Indians. Later the same man taught him how to construct bows and arrows. However, John did not receive permission to enter the kiva, a ritual initiation to turn the young boys into men. Instead, the other village boys drove him away into the desert with a barrage of stones. This incident highlighted his status as an outsider and made him lonely.

John and Bernard share a sense of alienation from their respective cultures. John tells Bernard that he once sneaked off to have the sacred animal dreams that the Indian boys must have, even though the tribe had not let him go with the other boys. John clearly experiences everything emotionally even though neither society considers deep emotions to be "normal" behavior.

Bernard invites John to return to England with him, realizing that John could be useful in ensuring that Bernard does not go to Iceland. He plans to use John to blackmail the Director. John in turn delights in the chance to go to England and exclaims, "Oh brave new world," when he hears that Linda will also come.


Because the Indian world does not accept him, John agrees to leave in the hopes that the Utopian world can accept him. John represents the opposing values of native civilizations and civilized society. Although Huxley uses the future dystopian society as a point of contrast, the novel makes a larger point about the way all societies treat unfamiliar cultures. John symbolizes this difference, as he is too civilized and emotional for the savage lands but too savage for the civilized world.

John also parallels Bernard in that he has struggled to join society but has received only rejection. He now has only two choices, the insanity of Bernard’s world or the lunacy of the Indian village. This dilemma will remain a central conflict for John, who cannot fit into either society because of his hybrid nature. However, by agreeing to Bernard's invitation to go to England, John offers the other world a chance to accept him.

John's history conveys further information about the life of the Indians and about his own isolation. He affirms his individuality through the retelling of his unique life story. John is a passionate human who uses Shakespeare as his emotional guide. Unfortunately, John’s taste for Shakespeare suggests that John will not fit into normal society either. His emotional nature will forever alienate him from all existing cultures.

The narrative continues to allude to Shakespeare, especially Macbeth and The Tempest, from which the title “Brave New World” comes. Shakespeare's plays represent all of the originality that this dystopian world has lost. His works signify both the height of civilized culture and the vast array of human emotions. Shakespeare’s oeuvre is the pinnacle of human achievement, something that the savage world cannot achieve because of oppression and something that the civilized world no longer has.

The allusions to Macbeth also deal with the tension between knowledge and power. Just as Macbeth received enough foresight to lead him to destruction, so too has Huxley's civilized world suffered because it strove for knowledge and the power that comes with it. Just as in Macbeth, this quest for power must ultimately lead to a downfall.

Chapter 9


The strange events have overwhelmed Lenina, so she consumes a large amount of soma and falls asleep for nearly eighteen hours. Bernard waits until she is asleep and sneaks off to call His Fordship Mustapha Mond in London to arrange to bring John and Linda back to London. He receives permission and returns to the Reservation to pick them up. When he meets the Warden of the Reservation, Bernard acts boastful and self-confident, as if he "was in the habit of talking to his fordship every day of the week."

John goes to the house where Bernard and Lenina are staying on the Reservation. Since it is silent, he fears that they have already left. He peeks in the window, sees Lenina's suitcase, and realizes they are still home, so he breaks a window and enters the house. He looks around, opens Lenina's suitcase, plays with her perfume powder and clothing, and finally finds Lenina lying asleep on her bed. He breathes in her scent and feels stunned by her beauty. Lines from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, extolling Juliet's beauty, enter his head, but he refrains from his urge to unzip her jacket and see her naked body. When he hears Bernard's helicopter, he leaps out of the window just in time to meet Bernard returning from his visit with the warden.


The reader sees several new aspects of John's personality. John convinces himself that he loves Lenina, and the chapter expresses his love by the way he looks at her and inhales her perfume. John retains extreme modesty, for when he imagines undressing Lenina, he immediately feels ashamed for his impure thoughts.

John's modesty towards Lenina represents a central conflict between the Indian society and the civilized world. John relates all of his emotions to Shakespeare’s depiction of love, as Romeo and Juliet is his only point of reference. He identifies Lenina in the role of Juliet, indicating his reliance on Shakespeare for his emotional education since Linda was unable to provide him with emotional lessons.

The play also parallels John and Lenina’s romantic situation, since the two are from different worlds. Lenina inhabits the civilized world, a world that looks down upon reservation people who live savage and incomprehensible lives. The reservation people, on the other hand, cannot understand the scientific society that now lacks emotion, religion, and natural life. The passion that John feels for Lenina mirrors the love that Romeo and Juliet, two lovers from feuding families, have for each other.