“Brave new world” is a book about a New World. In this New World there is no love, there are no strong emotions and everything is about the community and not about the individual. In the New World only Community and Stability really matter. This New World is situated in the future (the year 623 After Ford). Mothers and Fathers or other relatives do no longer exist in the New World (only in reservations). Children are made in factories, where they grow in bottles and they are conditioned to be whatever society needs them to be. The people consist of five different classes. These classes range from Alpha to Epsilon. Alpha’s are the most intelligent and Epsilons are the least intelligent. Epsilons have to do very simple work; that is why they are conditioned to like that kind of work. . Bernard and Lenina both work in a factory, where children are made. Bernard is an Alpha plus, who looks like a Gamma and therefor he’s a bit of an outcast. Lenina is a very populair girl among the Alpha’s. Bernard likes Lenina and he askes her to go to an Indian reservation with him. In the Indian reservation they meet John, whose mother Linda once came from the civilized world and got lost in the reservation. Lenina finds Linda horrible and disgusting, because she has a son, is old and doesn’t look pretty any more. However Lenina falls in love with John. Bernard and Lenina take John and Linda back with them to study them. John doesn’t like the New World, he thinks the New World is madness. Linda is very glad she’s back, but because of the way she looks people avoid her and she no longer feels welcome. Linda takes 'soma' (some sort of drug) and is high all the time. John misses her. Linda dies of taking very much 'soma' and of old age. John is furious. He takes the 'soma', which was ment to be given to the Delta’s who had just finished their work and he tells them how bad 'soma' actually is. Bernard and Helmholtz (friend of John) come to rescue him from the angry crowd and they start a big fight. John, Bernard and Helmholtz are arrested and they are brought to the controller. Bernard and Helmholtz are sent to Iceland and John wants to go with them, but he’s not allowed to. John finds himself a home in an abandonned lighthouse, but the media, who consider him an interesting item, won’t leave him alone. After a very emotional meeting with Lenina, who came to visit him, he hangs himself. He wasn’t able to live in a world without love, the Brave New World. .
The title “Brave New World” is a quotation from Shakespeare. John reads a big book of Shakespeare and when he no longer has faith in the New World he quotes: “O brave new world, that has such people in it”. However, the context in which he uses this quotation is the opposite of the context in which Miranda (in The Tempest) uses this phrase. She lived on an island and she saw the world outside that island for the first time. She admired the New World she saw. In the beginning John is full of admiration for the New World he discovers, but later he finds the New World horrible and he uses the phrase “O brave new world, that has such people in it” sarcastically. (Shakespeare, by the way, is forbidden in the New World.)
Aldous Huxley criticizes society in this book. He also tries to show us the danger of genetic engineering and other technologies. The book is science fiction, because the story takes place in the future and future scientific developments play an important role in making the story possible.
Bernard: Bernard is the main character in the beginning of the book. In this book it is considered to be a virtue to be be like everyone else, and since Bernard is (physically) very different from his class, he’s a bit of an outcast. People say he looks different because alcohol came into the bottle in which he was produced. He feels unhappy because of the way he looks (too small) and this makes him more of an individual than the others. Because he feels so miserable he starts acting differently from the others and this only makes things worse. For example Bernard falls in love with Lenina and this is very strange, because no one falls in love in the New World. Bernard feels very lonely. Still, Bernard is conditioned to know nothing else and to think in terms of his society. When he is sent to Iceland he cries and almost loses his mind. Bernard feels sorry for himself and he’s a coward. He doesn’t dare to stand up for his friend when he’s in trouble. Lenina Crowne: Lenina works in the Conditioning Centre with Bernard. She’s very popular among the Alpha’s. Lenina is a bit odd, because she doesn’t have many men. She goes out with Henry Foster for a long while without having anyone else. This is very strange, because in the New World people go out with lots of different persons. Lenina likes Bernard en goes with him to the reservation. She falls in love with John (the savage) and wants to make love with him. John isn’t used to just making love with someone and although he’s in love with her too, he doesn’t want to have sex with her just for fun. John (the savage): John is the main character in the rest of the book. He feels the New World is madness. He fights against this “world, that has such people in it”. He thinks the New World denies the things that make life worthwhile. He compares the New World with life in the Indian reservation and with what he reads in the works of Shakespeare. John is the son of Linda who was once left behind in an Indian reservation in New Mexico. John feels like he doesn’t belong anywhere. The Indians don’t like him because his mother is strange and because he has blond hair and he’s white. He doesn’t feel at home in the New World either because there aren’t any strong emotions like pain and love, and he needs those emotions. Because the media won’t leave him alone and because he can’t handle this New World he commits suicide. Helmholtz: is an artist. He wants to write about strong feelings, but he doesn’t have any feelings to write about and this makes him feel like something is missing. He likes John a lot because he’s so very different. Helmholtz is glad when he’s sent to Iceland, because, maybe over there, he’ll have things to write about.
Linda: is the mother of John. She had a relationship with the director of the conditioning centre Lenina and Bernard work in. The Director is John’s father. He went to the Indian reservation with Linda and Linda got lost. He searched for her but he couldn’t find her. Linda is very glad when she’s back in the “civilised” world, but the New World doesn’t want her back because she’s old and ugly. She dies, because she takes too much 'soma'. The last days of her life she’s on holiday (high) all the time.
Time and setting:
The book takes place in the year 623 after Ford (first person to reveal the appalling dangers of family life) which is somewhere in our future. The Indian reservation where John grew up, is in New Mexico and the Conditioning Centre, where Lenina and Bernard work is in London.