Future is in the past?
John and Lenina's "thing" was pretty weird to me. Imagine that a girl kind of likes you, goes to see you, wants to make out, start to get naked and you hated this, you start saying shakespeare, you slap her (not in a good way), just can't get into my mind. This attitude made me remember what I've studied in Portuguese classes in 10th grade, during the 1600's, women were gods. Man would worship them, have them as the most perfect and beautiful and untouchable creatures. I'm not against respecting women, neither I'm am a barbarian who only sees women as a sexual object, I believe on a middle term, an equilibrium, and I believe that on a "evolved" society, that would be the most important thing. I believe that the "perfection" achieved on the quality of life is now affecting people's mind, I guess that what happened to John was kind of a mental breakdown, I strong believe on this at the moment when he felt on his knees and started quoting Shakespeare. He should have kept his “masculine attitude”, take the girl and kiss her, maybe even have sex, but not stated to wonder about a life with her. I see that the biological functions of human beings are getting affected gradually, and eventually it will affect all of them if it keeps this way
From interval to interval
“Oh brave new world, oh brave new world that has such people in it. Let´s start at once” (Huxley 139). At this moment the idea of going to the “new world” was spectacular, John couldn’t be more excited. He was finally going to see and understand what his mother always talked about. Neither John nor Bernard could imagine that the situation was going to change its mood completely. After seeing the reservation where everything seemed to perish, but emotions were more alive than ever and the civilization where everything looked brand new, but emotions were controlled and even fake there was a social, emotional, and cultural contrast. What seemed so perfect turned out to be nothing less than “false, lying happiness” (Huxley, 179).
Take Bernard, just when he thinks that it is the end of his reputation and life in London, John who was there almost for a social experiment ends up changing completely the direction of the novel. Bernard uses the savage to gain popularity and recognition, this new and different individual seems to strike everyone´s attention. They are all so used to seeing the same every day, no fights, no riots, no problems, that at least once everyone shows curiosity towards what is “different”. Eventually, as expected, there was an emotional crash between both of them.
Lenina has also gained popularity, but interestingly enough, for something she hasn’t done: slept with the savage. Even after denying the fact that she slept with, no one believed such given that sex is so common in their community. What seemed so easy turned out to be a fight between John and Lenina. A cultural collision was seen when John felt the need to prove Lenina that she deserved him.
Linda was completely rejected by society; she was literally put into a masked euthanasia. She returned to the “new world” simply to have soma, demonstrating how everyone in this civilization is addicted, or worst, controlled by the “heroic” tablet. Linda is a shock, a bad example, a reason for pity to the society. A character that had the opportunity to be “free”, to decide for herself, to open her mind at the situation, was incapable of doing such due to soma.
Peculiarly, Linda, John and Bernard are all running away from the intervals. For Bernard, the running away was from jealousy, for Lenina love and for Linda exclusion and death. Bernard was jealous at Helmholtz’s relation with John, “he was ashamed of his jealousy and alternately made efforts of will and took soma to keep himself from feeling it” (Huxley 182). But, the feeling kept returning every time he was in a soma interval. Lenina was in love with John, she desired him, and it was never so hard for her to sleep with a man. “But he is the one I want” (Huxley 187) was what Lenina said to Fanny in a debate of what should be done about the feeling. No one knows what love is, many have felt it, but have excluded such sentiment with soma and that is exactly what Fanny suggests Lenina to do. But what is the problem? The intervals. In the intervals Lenina still likes John and she will continue to like him. Linda after being deteriorated by nature wants to escape from the fact that she is old, not well preserved and is ready to die. Soma is the way she finds to keeps herself from thinking on the waste of time her life was. However, this time, her intervals aren´t as menacing as those from Bernard and Lenina, at the hospital they created a “thoroughly pleasant atmosphere” (Huxley 199) to deceive her from reality even after the use of soma.
Soma here, soma there, soma everywhere. This is what happens when you try to control humans without letting them know. Take a candidate running for presidential elections: they give away some money, show how “bright” and “intellectual” they are, say things the population wants to hear, and it’s over. Just like the pleasant atmosphere created in the hospital these candidates are all doing the same thing: faking perfection. Then, when the president is elected, everyone that was used, during the election, to receive money, and see good things happening realizes that they were doped with manipulation.
The thing is that, in Brave New World, the only one who sees such is John. He hasn’t been on a soma holiday, and hasn’t been conditioned by hypnopaedia, thus he is free from all of this manipulation. “But do you like being slaves?” (Huxley 212), “Don’t you want to be free and men?” (Huxley 213) were all rhetorical questions John was asking to the mob at the hospital. By throwing away all of the soma tablets, he was trying to “free” them, to show them a different way of living without soma. But, in this case, isn’t it ironic that John ends up doing the same thing to the people at the hospital
A Clockwork New World
Welly, welly, welly, welly, welly, welly, well! Things just got serious over here. The chapters now read approach an even more complex topic than the ones already discussed. When the previous chapters focuses its theme on the loss of men's humanity versus the frivolous conditioning of its being, now Huxley goes further and advances the discussion to a greater level: how this conditioning and lack of a humane persona influences on men's organizational systems, inter and intra-relationships. We can see this when the Director is about to accuse Bernard of betrayal, where he says that “It is better that one should suffer than many should be corrupted […] Unorthodoxy threatens more than the life of a mere individual; it strikes Society itself” (Huxley 148). It is quite simple to observe similarities between Brave New World and Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange due to its severe critique regarding the “sacrifice of free will for the sake of order”.
But the ethical question that stands out from this discussion is: Is conditioning oneself to behave appropriately in the eyes of the Government be considered something morally correct? Would it even be hypocritical since it defies the human righteous free will for the sake of “achieving an orderly peaceful reality” created by humans? Does society have the right to influence directly on one’s freedom?
In Brave New World the android-like conception of men, soma, hypnopaedia, castes, sex abuse, consumption draws a very thin line of what is will and what is imposed. Since the nature of these “men” are so immersed in this distinguished reality and are biologically differentiated from true humans, I would say that freedom in that specific case would be authoritarian. When John is desperately throwing soma tablets away at Park Lane Hospital, he says “I’ll teach you; I’ll make you be free whether you want to or not.” (Huxley 213). That freedom seems kind of contradictory. Who says, after all, that freedom is something free? When one decides to be ultimately free would he be imprisoned to freedom itself?
The shackles are even tighter. I say freedom is something men will never learn how to understand, particularly because it is the most natural feature of our existence; however the less exercised since existing itself is not freely at all. We will never understand it because we think excessively on the appearance; we expect from each other what we want from ourselves and deny everything that goes against that supreme procedure. How can nature be judged and discriminated? What guilt we have of being alive? Thus why bother pointing fingers and tagging something as wrong or profane? But still, we exist, hence our preoccupation: it’s natural to want our own well being, it’s acceptable to want peace and consensus instead of “ultra violence”, it is an instinct to be accepted and not excluded – and it is there that we get self-dependently imprisoned, stuck to a positive feedback loop.
In order to answer all these questions I proposed in this commentary, I believe men need to take as an example what John tells Lenina regarding his love proof, “No, of course it isn’t necessary. But some kinds of baseness are nobly undergone. I’d like to undergo something nobly.” (Huxley 190). Note that he doesn’t need to prove anything to Lenina, as she even denounces in the dialogue, however for John, this feeling he has for her needs to be proven humbly, by something that does not need a command, something altruistic, thus sincere. The answer for all these questions relies on the sincerity of men’s character, the virtue as Aristotle would indicate – being it a humbly built pillar of living, constructed from teachings and learning, the spontaneous desire of contributing to one’s life and the humble approval of external contribution. When men comprehend that we are nothing but random little creatures drawn together inside a random little space, and that we need one another for the sake of our own survival (truly, spontaneously, not in a forced manner of “everyone belongs to everyone else), we will live free. And then, learn how to love.
Is this real life? Or is this fantasy? As our beloved Freddie Mercury once sung, these lines illustrate a lot of what has happened to John. His mother Linda, drowned in her own fantasies induced by the excessive consumption of the miracle drug, Soma. Taken over by grief, John stumbles upon dozens of Deltas awaiting their soma medications. John's disturbed mind reflects on his mother's death and decides to act upon the reality of society: "Linda had been a slave, Linda had died; others should live in freedom, and the world be made beautiful. A reparation, a duty. And suddenly it was luminously clear to the savage what he must do; it was as though a shutter had been opened, a curtain drawn back" (Huxley 185).
Like Miranda, from Shakespeare's The Tempest, John attempted to understand and enjoy the new world that was presented, but from his constant reciting of the same play's "O brave new world" rose all of his contempt for this new society, one that condones disgusting blindness to heart and soul, which is not even forced into the people, but rather embraced by them.
This society has been become a murderer to him and as such, Soma has become the weapon. The Savage finally decided to directly confront this loathsome reality, was it worth the risk of being forced into assimilation?
The characters John from Brave New World and Caliban from The Tempest appear to go through the same struggle, which would be adapting to a new culture a new environment. John is considered a savage for not behaving like a person of the World State, and when the human Element Manager is explaining how the Bokanovski process works, John gets somewhat shocked and sick by the process, “By some malice of his memory the Savage found himself repeating Miranda’s words. ‘O brave new world that has such people in it’. (…) But the savage had suddenly broken away from his companions and was violently retching, behind a clump of laurels, as though the solid earth had been a helicopter in an air pocket” (Huxley 160). The fact that both of them need to learn how to live in a new environment is what makes them similar, but the way they react to this new experience is what makes them different. John is willing to learn about the World State and is able to restrain his impulses, but Caliban resents Prospero for trying to civilize him, “You taught me language, and my profit on’t / Is, I know how to curse. The red plague rid you/ For learning me your language!” (Tempest 21 1.2 363-364). Is Caliban right for resenting Prospero? Should John act like Caliban, and despise the World State for being the way it is? Maybe, who is to say? I guess it all comes down to one’s ability of adapting. John seems much more adaptable to a change in scenario than Caliban, for example when confronted with the opportunity of having sex with Lenina, John is able to restrain himself, whereas Caliban when presented with Miranda’s kindness and compassion, he tries to have sex with her at the moment the opportunity presented itself. Both characters have the same challenge of having to blend in a new environment, which makes them similar and different at the same time.
Can one feel happier during sad moments? As paradoxical as this phrase may sound, it actually becomes a very pertinent question during chapters 10-15 of the novel. With John’s arrival in the “civilized” world, Lenina starts to experience what actual love feels like. Her feelings constantly change from rejection to expectation to exhilaration in a roller coaster of emotions that exalts her humanity. In chapter 12, while she waits for John to come out she “suddenly felt all the sensations normally experienced at the beginning of a Violent Passion Surrogate treatment. A sense of dreadful emptiness, a breathless apprehension, a nausea. Her heart seemed to stop beating” (Huxley 174). It is at this moment in the novel when I became sure that Lenina feels in love with the savage. Later on she continues with more signs of humanity as she catches herself thinking about John throughout the day, becomes distracted at work and even admits to Fanny that she doesn’t want to be with any other man. Even though Lenina is suffering about whether or not John likes her, she has never seemed livelier.
Helmholtz is another example of how happiness does not have to necessarily come from somma grammes. Helmholtz was in trouble at work, but as Bernard noticed, “in spite of all his troubles, he seemed, profoundly happy” (Huxley 182). Although he feels lonely, he was able to transform it into rhymes that he is actually proud and content about. As he admitted, “I feel as though I were just beginning to have something to write about” (Huxley 182). This idea of releasing your feelings into writings is actually a very human-like act. We all have emotions and bottling them up or forgetting about them with somma holidays is not healthy. Humans must deal with their emotions and that is what Helmholtz is starting to do. Later on, he was extremely impressed with Shakespeare’s verses that John read to him. One moment, however, he bursted into laughter and said, “you’ve got to be hurt and upset; otherwise you can’t think of really good, penetrating, X-rayish phrases” (Huxley 185). Does one really need to suffer to be capable of writing well?
As I tried to answer this question I couldn’t help but noticing how truthful statement Helmholtz had said. Most songs ever composed are about broken hearts and missing or being angry with someone else (Taylor Swift being the perfect example!). Even books and movies, there is almost always a love story and at least at one moment, one feels sad and lonely. So going back to my initial question, sadness isn’t exactly a terrible feeling. I believe it is actually quite healthy for one to feel hurt every once in a while. It is a way of bringing out their humanity. There are even some who say that suffering for love is a great feeling. Who knows?
Hall of Fame
“‘I’m so glad,’ said Lenina. ‘And now you must admit that you were wrong about Bernard. Don’t you think he’s really rather sweet?’ Fanny nodded. ‘And I must say,’ she said, ‘I was quite agreeably surprised.’” (Huxley, 135)
Ok. It is really funny how the society in Brave New World can fool themselves into thinking Bernard has changed or revealed who he really is. Bringing the “savages” in, is just the kind of behavior I would expect from him. By chapter XI, we have already noticed that what is different about him, is his sensibility. Bernard appreciates nature and is open to talk about things such as family and children, which was considered “tabus” in this society.
The fact is, he has indeed revealed a BOMBASTIC information. Like McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, he was the first and only one to defy the system. The Big Nurse, or the DHC, is perhaps the greatest symbol of order in the book, but Bernard was able to hit the right spot. In this world, having a child would be inconceivable. Even the word “mother” is too vulgar to be pronounced, and of course, being a father meant the end of his career.
Still, I think it is quite odd that Bernard is living his moment of fame. At first, I thought people would react differently to what he did... No one had ever done that before, and since they absolutely rejected someone having a child, why would bringing a “sinner” to the town be a good thing? Considering this society’s beliefs and values, this should be an absurdity! Before arriving town, I thought this would only worsen Bernard’s reputation . But no. And why “rather sweet” Lenina? This situation was supposed to be horrible! I can’t understand why this is happening, but probably a little bit of compassion started to hit this world. People are confused, and so is Bernard. After Henholtz was really cold with him when he bragged about his sexual life and he quit talking to him, I began to doubt if he will be able to handle the fame (which will probably be short).
Brave New World or Social Condemnation?
During Chapter 10 the Director's plan of exiling Bernard for his unorthodox manners backfires instead he is the one to have his big secret revealed. Before exiling Bernard the Director wanted to make a spectacle out of it setting Bernard as an example of what not to do but his plan is put aside when Bernard exposes his past with Linda and John and when John innocently calls him father in front of the crowd. Social condemnation was key for control of the system and Bernard was willing to do everything to save his job, rise his social standard and leave the Director humiliated and used Linda's and John's innocence and story to do it. John instantly becomes a societal hit as the savage, the freak that never knew civilization and Bernard is known as his savior, the one that exposed him to the rightful world. If they only knew that Bernard's intention and thoughts at first were completely against the system they would even have embraced the cause. The greater problem is that Bernard the one that was initially the Outsider and rebel, the one that in the beginning I thought would play the hero and break the system was now enjoying it. Bernard had his popularity skyrocket and has an increase on his sexual relations he uses John as a social pedestal and socially condemns him for the rest of his life as being the freak who needs help.
These couple chapters reminded me a bit too much of “Mean Girls” in that the dialogue, the intrigues, and occurrences in all their most upper sophisticated eloquence are all but infantile, which may be Huxley’s intention given that he mentions in Chapter 6 that “Alphas are so conditioned that they do not have to be infantile in their emotional behavior. But that is all the more reason for their making a special effort to conform” (Huxley 37%) Then again, Bernard is “different” and John is a savage. Or are they?
In Chapter 15 as John is being confronted by officers in the Hospital for basically losing it over his mother’s death and the whole situation at hand he exclaims “Don’t you want to be free and men? Don’t you even understand what manhood and freedom are?” (Huxley 81%) This reminds me of the scene where Gretchen Weiners, daughter of the inventor of the Toaster Strudel, finally “cracks” after suffering from Regina George’s abuse for so long. And, coincidently uses Shakespeare allusions like Huxley to represent the situation at hand.
“Why should Caesar get to stomp around like a giant while the rest of us try not to get smashed under his big feet? What’s so great about Caesar? Brutus is just as cute as Caesar. Brutus is just as smart as Caesar. People totally like Brutus just as much as they like Caesar. And when did it become okay for one person to be the boss of everybody, huh? Because that's not what Rome is about. We should totally just stab Caesar!”
To Ms. Weiners, Regina George is Caesar and she is Brutus. In “Brave New World” Caesar is the dystopia and the controllers and Brutus is John since he wants to challenge the system for the “greater good” of the population. And John probably would agree that the regime at hand indeed has “big feet” and is “smashing” its population by forcing them into conditioning in ways that oppress them and ultimately control them in ways that they don’t even understand that they’re being controlled at all.
The only real question that I have is why did the officers at the hospital even let John go on such a rant? I’d expect him to be silenced immediately.
Also, I can totally imagine Lenina pulling a dumb blonde Karen move and literally the dialogue being rephrased from the film’s original script to the following:
Lenina to John: So, if you’re from the Reservation, why are you white?
Bernard: Oh my God, Lenina. You can’t just ask people why they’re white.
Perfect Destroys Humanity
Through the reading I simply got to a point where the savage or John became my hero, he simply understands that this is not life, and those aren’t people they are more like manipulated slaves or even zombies. The soma simply takes their lives away, and transforms them into drug addicts like the drugged hobos in Cracolândia, in Rio de Janeiro. The Epsilons and Deltas are simply being manipulated with drugs and think that soma is good and that they are happy being “slaves”. “Throw it all away, that horrible poison” (Huxley, 211) at this point John was simply preventing the Gamas to give the soma dosage to the Epsilons and Deltas causing in a riot, where Bernard and Helmholtz showed that they have some humanity in them and joined to help the “savage”. For the fact that John has an outsider view of what life really is and what love really means he understands that this “New World” isn’t actually as good as he thought it was. This is not a perfect society; it’s simply a society that manipulated all its members to think it is perfect. Didn’t John became a symbol or even a hero to you guys? As Victor said in his past blog, perfect isn’t human!
Lights, Camera, ACTION
This section of the book is when the outsiders and misfits finally decide to act and start to be the change they expect to see. Bernard starts by presenting John and Linda to the Director and humiliating him because he has a son. Because of this, Bernard is safe from moving to Iceland. By discovering the Director's dark past, Bernard feels powerful and capable. As John arrives in the World State he realizes it may be worse than the Reservation and feels disgusted by the New World he is introduced to. Interestingly, he becomes the center of attention and helps increase Bernard's popularity. John calls attention of one person in particular, Lenina. In chapter 11, she says: "Sometimes I think he does and sometimes I think he doesn't. He always does his best to avoid me; goes out of the room when I come in; won't touch me; won't even look at me. But sometimes if I turn round suddenly, I catch him staring, and then- well, you know how men look when they like you" (Huxley 166). Lenina feels something for John and is intrigued by the way he acts around her. Between both of them we can see the main difference between their views of relationships. While Lenina is crazy to make love with him, John wants to takes things slow and declares his love for her. Lenina is frightened, since the only thing she wants is sex, this is what she was taught to be interested for.
John is the other misfit who suddenly takes action. When his mother dies because of a soma overdose, John's hatred for the World State is heightened. This is when he starts to shout for the Delta twins to stop taking soma and throws them out the window, causing a huge commotion in the hospital. John suddenly has an attack of rage because he dislikes this new society.
The truth starts to come out
Reading chapters 10-15 showed me how my predictions might have been completely mistaken. Bernard's ability to expose Linda and John just to mantain his job and achieve social status presented me a side of him I did not expect. In my eyes he simply is accepting the system and uses the same strategy of setting a “public example” (Huxley 147), that the Director tried to use on him. I also could have never guessed that John would become known by the upper London society as the new “delicious creature”(Huxley 153), I taught he would be despised. John’s sanity and beliefs impress me, since he is able to resist to the society around him and stays strong by denying soma and sexual freedom with Lenina. In these chapters Bernard’s change due to his success is shown through his interaction with Helmontz and behavior with John, though in the letter to Mustapha Mond he demonstrates to still find “civilized infantility too easy” (Huxley 158) and as his attention diminishes he seems to go back to his usual self. My predictions about Lenina also seem to have been inaccurate since despite liking John, she still holds the same views as before, praising appearances and going after sex as the ultimate form of a relationship, not marriage as John seeks. The death of his mother causes John to take the initiative against the World State by pleeding the groups in the hospital not to take soma, since he says he is there to bring them freedom, taking the role I thought would have been Bernard’s. The fact that Bernard cowards out from the fight disappointed me. Did that also happen to anyone else? Did anyone else also had their predictions proved wrong?
Sense and Insensitivity
These few chapters caught me by surprise. First of all I did not expect Bernard to have such a quick change of personality once he was no longer a misfit. His new popularity and pride blinded him. I thought he would be strong and idealistic, truly standing for pure principles together with John, but he proved me wrong. He is just as corrupt as the others; even though once he lost his popularity he started to return to his old ways I do not think he will be able to regain my respect. The revolution now lies in the hands of Helmholtz and John who have maintained their ideals throughout the novel.
The other occurrence that disconcerted me was the insensitivity demonstrated by the nurses and society towards John’s mother’s death. Even though they do not understand their relationship as they do not have parents or anything similar, yet death is a sensitive subject and you would expect that they would sympathize for they could loose friends and siblings and mourn them like John mourned his mother’s death. The lack of compassion perplexed me just as much as Linda’s death itself.
With John at the edge of his temper I wonder what will happen. He has already directly confronted the society by starting a fight in which the police had to intervene. Will he be able to change this insensitive society or will he loose himself in this new world?
Individuality is indeed an issue in a community where totalitarianism takes place and in the novel causes The Director to believe that Bernard need punishment. What is worst than the notion of individuality that Bernard has is the feeling that the word “father” awakens in the Director. Shame. Embarrassment. Feelings that are the opposite than it is regularly felt in our society. Feelings are the source and rise of this confrontation between Bernard and the Director. The Director is responsible for the entire process creating life, the setting is where life is created, but when his real son that came from the natural process of reproducing calls him father he is ashamed. This feeling is so great that he resigns his position. I actually fine sort of noble is action, since he is not contradicting himself since he always stated and defended his fake process of creating life, imagine if all of the politicians that say that will not steal resigned if when in power they did so…
The desire and necessity of fitting in induced Linda to take soma. Acceptance brings happiness? Is it worth taking soma if it will cost your life? On the other hand, due to the success of the Savage, Bernard is able to fit in. The power and confidence that fitting in gave him also gives him confidence to criticize the perfect and ideal society to Mond. Is confidence obtain before or after fitting in? In this context, what is the difference of pride and confidence? Is it necessary to experience another community before criticizing? Is this change in personality revealing something of the society itself? No one enjoys to receive critique of what is considered ideal, Mond was not different and a punishment would indeed be implemented. Even with the advance of time and technology, critique and negative feedback flourish negative feelings. John feels the sense of displacement when the kids are laughing at the culture he was raised in. the same way Brazilians feel offended when asked if we speak Spanish or live as an Indian.
Rejection causes humiliation and the rejection proves that he change in personality by characters reflects the change in this society.
"Unfordly example" (Huxley 149)
My guess was correct: Bernard brought a bouleversement to the Hatchery in London by introducing the “ex-savages” to the New World. And my question was answered: it IS possible to live in the New World deconditioned, such would be the case with John. The encounters between Lenina and John demonstrate that Huxley wished to illustrate the importance of propaganda in society. John blindly repeats phrases from Shakespeare's plays and poems while Lenina recites the hypnopaedic lessons. All the same, Huxley could have been intending to portray how society in the future might become shallow, immoral, and inhumane like Lenina and the New World rather than stay literate and talented like John. His longing for normality and respect is the trigger of his revolt at the end of chapter 13.
Another discrepancy between Lenina and John – between the Old World and the New World – is the preservation of morals and ethics and the power of resistance. For example, when John and Lenina are in the taxi going back to her house, he “hardly even looked at her. Bound by strong vows that had never been pronounced, obedient to laws that had long since ceased to run” (Huxley 170). He resists Lenina's magnificent looks and respects her by not eating her with stares. Once arrived in her apartment, Lenina proves more animal-like than John by taking it for granted that they were going to have sex. He is able to resist temptations, while Lenina dives into soma-happiness.
The quote “Buzz, buzz! The hive was humming, busily, joyfully” (Huxley 147) instantly made me connect to the book “One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest”. The inaudible “buzz, buzz” that the D.H.C mentions reminded me of Bromden's imaginary Combine sounds. Both machines deal with humans, and both of them dehumanize us. They create a world of subjection, and deprivation of individual liberty.
John's revolt against the New World in chapters 13-15 may symbolize the climax of the novel so far. John realizes the amount of freedom he has compared to the other conditioned beings in the New World. He is free to interpret whether or not he likes the feelies, and he is capable of dealing with hardships on his own (like his mother's death). When the Nurse saw John bending over his mother's corpse, she thought he was “undoing all [the children's] wholesome death-conditioning with this disgusting outcry – as though death were something terrible, as though any one mattered as much as all that” (Huxley 206). Instead of sympathizing for him, she worries about the Deltas watching the scene. How worse can this artificialness get? Even if a batch of Deltas were to be deconditioned, would it be enough to free the entire population of conditioned beings?
Chapters 10-15 build up the climax of the book, the moment where John, in frenzy after his mother’s death, starts rebelling against the system. It showcases John’s psychological despair for having been placed in a society that does not regard his values and individuality the slightest.
Ever since setting foot in the new world, he realizes he dislikes it. The constant attention and pampering do not signify real interest but a mix of brainless curiosity and sensationalism. John’s worth is not given by his ideals, but rather by his curious manner and different upbringing. That is why he poignantly states, “Oh brave new world, oh brave new world that has such people in it” (Huxley 139), repeating the words of Miranda from Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
His act of rebellion at the “dying” center is the outcome of all the accumulated tension ever since moving to civilized society. It is interesting to note that most people thought him to be insane following his mother’s death, while in fact frustration and desperation are expected sentiments in our society following such an event.
Throwing away the soma and kicking the addicts is a cathartic moment for John in the story, when he is able to unleash what he really feels. He expresses the desire for freedom when he asks the deltas, “But do you like being slaves? Do you like being babies? Don’t you want to be free and men? Don’t you even understand what manhood and freedom are?” (Huxley 186-187). He feels that the tools of modern society constrain the individual rights to liberty and self-determination.
Reading, I was reminded of the movie Fight Club. The message of breaking out of a pre-determined system that exploits you is explored in both contexts. Tyler Durden expresses the same concern as John the Savage: how to make men free and independent.
Therefore, these chapters bring up pertinent questions: Are we the victims of a system that tries to numb the people in order to maintain its control over them? Can we ever escape it? Or by being part of a society makes us bound to it even if, like it happened with John, it drives us to madness?