Brave New World


Chapter 5


Lenina and Henry wrap up their game at the Obstacle Golf course and take off in the helicopter. They fly over the Slough Crematorium, where the phosphorous from burning bodies is collected and recycled as fertilizer. Henry admires the fact that human bodies continue to serve society even after death, and Lenina expresses the conditioned prejudice of her caste by saying that it seems strange that Alpha and Beta bodies don’t make any more plants grow than Gamma, Delta and Epsilon bodies. At Henry’s apartment building, they enjoy a meal in the dining hall, where soma is served with their coffee. Then they join 400 other couples for an evening of dancing at the Westminster Abbey Cabaret before heading back to Henry’s apartment to have sex. Even though all the soma they’ve consumed throughout the evening has them in a state of opiate-induced removal from reality, Lenina still remembers to take contraceptive precautions.

The second half of the chapter describes Bernard at his Solidarity Service, which he is required to attend every other Thursday. He is relieved to find that he is not the last to arrive, but in his embarrassment at being late, he hastily chooses to sit between two women whom he does not find attractive. There are a total of 12 people at the meeting, six men and six women seated alternately around a table. The President begins the meeting with the “sign of the T” and plays a recording of the Solidarity Hymn as the participants pass around “the loving cup” of ice cream soma and take more soma tablets along with it. Even as the other members of the service become more and more affected by the drug and aroused by the energy of the music, Bernard fears that this experience will be another failure for him, meaning that he will fail to feel merged in solidarity with his companions. The ceremony, as dictated, culminates in a sex orgy which makes everyone but Bernard feel ecstatically united with their fellows. Although Bernard goes through the required motions, the...

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