Brave New World opens in London, nearly six hundred years in the future (“After Ford”). Human life has been almost entirely industrialized—controlled by a few people at the top of a World State. The first scene, offering a tour of a lab where human beings are created and conditioned according to the society’s strict caste system, establishes the tone and the theme of dehumanized life. The natural processes of birth, aging, and death represent horrors in this world.
Bernard Marx, an Alpha-Plus psychologist, emerges as the single discontented person in a world where material comfort and physical pleasure—provided by the drug soma and recreational sex—are the only concerns. Scorned by women, Bernard nevertheless manages to engage the attention of Lenina Crowne, a “pneumatic” beauty who agrees to spend a week with him at the remote Savage Reservation in New Mexico, a place far from the controlled, technological world of London.
Before Bernard leaves, his superior, the D.H.C., spontaneously reveals that long ago he, too, visited the Savage Reservation, and he confesses in that he lost the woman who accompanied him there. Feeling embarrassed by the disclosure of his socially unacceptable emotion, the D.H.C. turns on Bernard, threatening him with banishment for his own social sins—not engaging enthusiastically enough in sex and soma.
In the Savage... [continues]
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