Brave New World describes us the society of a very remote future, in the year A.F. 632, which dates six centuries more or less after our century. The World is now ruled by some World Controllers, who have a determined part of the world assigned in order to look after the people’s stability. In the first chapter, Huxley presents us the Hatchery pavilion, which has the motto of the New World on the entrance. This motto reads Community, Identity and Stability; the situation and ruling of the world is based on these aspects; the Controllers try to build up the perfect society for this social and political system. This perfect society has been achieved after long years of applying some methods. For example, there is the caste system: the whole society is divided into levels according to the artificial intelligence of the people; there are Alphas and Betas, who are the most intelligent ones, and then there are the Gammas, Deltas and Epsilons. The lower castes are the ones predetermined to do the most stressful work, the physical work, whereas the Alphas and Betas don’t have strong obligations. The state offers every citizen the possibility of taking a drug called soma; with soma, you forget about everything, and it doesn’t cause you any pain.

In the first chapter the Director of the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning centre talks to a group of students about the way the centre works; this way the author enables us to get to know how everyone is conditioned. The students are led to the Fertilizing room firstly; here they observe the way babies are produced (yes, they are produced; women don’t give birth anymore), and how they are separated into different castes. The ovas are kept at blood heat, the sperms at 35șC. The ovas are immersed in free-swimming spermatozoa until they get fertilized. Alphas and Betas remain bottled, whereas the rest of the castes undergo the Bokanovsky process, which consists in the following steps: one egg is able to divide until 96 different eggs; alcohol is added into their blood surrogate and so the result is a lot of identical twins that can work in a determined job. The alcohol makes their intelligence decrease, so the result is stability. This process is like the principal of mass production applied to biology. When the embryos grow up into babies, they get conditioned in the next place the students visit, the Neo-Pavlovian conditioning and hypnopaedia centre. For conditioning methods, babied are placed on the floor with books and flowers, and when they try to touch these items, they suffer electric shocks, and alarm bells sound; this way, the children get so frightened that, by associative reasons, they get to dislike books and flowers. Moral attitudes are taught with hypnopaedia, which is a system that consists on repeating a lot of times the same phrase when children are asleep; so it get into the child’s subconsciousness.

After that, the students go outside to the garden where they observe how little children join into sexual games. There Mustapha Mond, the World Controller of Western Europe, appears and talks to the students about the past, and how things used to be: children were born from their mothers womb, people lived with constant emotions, and therefore, they sometimes suffered; this led to unhappiness and instability. There was a Nine Year’s War, which caused a world wide economic crisis. The people were desperate, all they wanted was peace and an assured stability, so finally they let themselves get dominated by these Controllers.

Then, the main characters, with the exception of John, are introduced. Bernard Marx, an Alpha Plus, doesn’t behave as he supposed to be, he isn’t happy. He’s hell in love with Lenina Crowne, but is afraid to ask her to go with him to a Savage Reservation, unlikely as it was supposed to be. Sex in the Utopian World is very common, everyone can have everybody else. Lenina finally decides to go with Bernard to the Reservation, although she thought of her decision a lot because a friend of heirs, Fanny.

Bernard, before flying to the Reservation, needs a permission, so he goes to the Director, Tomakin, to get the signature that allows him to enter the Reservation. The director tells him that he went there, when he was more young, with a woman, who got lost and, presumably is still there.

After this, Bernard visits his friend Hemholtz Watson, who is also an Alpha Plus, that isn’t so artificially happy as the rest of the people. Hemholtz writes slogans that rime and catchy phrases, that are later used as hypnopaedia statements. He thinks, that he is able to do, to write something much better, but he still doesn’t know what. The two friend are not happy in this society.

Bernard and Lenina fly to the Savage Reservation, which is a place where people used like in the former times, when civilization wasn’t a reality. When they arrive, Bernard is informed, through Hemholtz, that the Director wants to transfer him to Iceland due to his antisocial behaviour; he could mean a danger for the rest of the perfect society.

When Bernard and Lenina arrive, they watch a dance performed by the Indians in order to welcome a good harvest. The John appears and tells them his life; he was born from a woman named Linda, who came from the Utopian world: Then Bernard realises that this woman was the one the Director had told him about; since she was pregnant from John, and this is forbidden in the Utopian society she stayed in the Reservation and gave birth.

Bernard thinks that if he takes John and Linda to the civilized work he might not get transferred to Iceland, so finally the mother and the son return to London. When Bernard arrives, the Director makes fun of Bernard in public, so Marx, as a revenge, introduces Linda and John in front of everybody; this shames the Director publicly. Thanks to having brought the Savage, Bernard becomes famous and his life changes radically; he turns out to be like the rest of society, playing their games and doing what he disliked not much ago. Bernard introduces John to Hemholtz and they become very good friends. John reads to Hemholtz and Bernard the Complete Works of William Shakespeare, and Hemholtz realises that it is what he has been trying to express.

Lenina falls in love with John the Savage, she treats him like other boys and doesn’t realise that she has got a completely different concept of love; John feels it an extraordinary emotion, but Lenina doesn’t understand it that way, he has been able to go out with every man that she has chosen. After the date of John and Lenina, the Savage is told that Linda is dying. She has been taking lots of soma since she arrived, and now she is dying. Meanwhile, a group of twins arrive to the hospital for their death conditioning; they keep talking bad things about Linda, and John gets furious. Linda passes away and John leaves the hospital. He accidentally meets hundreds of twins who are waiting in queues for their soma ration. John, absolutely disagreeing with the premises of the Utopian World, thinks that he can make the twins understand that they aren’t free, that they are what the state wants them to be. He grabs the soma rations and throws them through the window. Then Bernard and Hemholtz arrive; the first one joins the Savage, but Bernard remain still, even though in the end, the security service gets the three of them. They are taken to Mustapha Mond, who tells them that Bernard and Hemholtz are to be sent to an island where the people who can’t get adapted to the organised system of the society are taken.

John and Mustapha Mond have a long discussion about the moral values of the present society. (I will deal with this discussion in 8., because I find it so interesting).

Hemholtz and Bernard are sent to the island, not John, who is obliged to be left in the Utopian World so that they can experiment with his reactions towards the civilized world. John moves away from London into a lonely island to live as an individual, away from the society. But the people don’t leave him alone; some Deltas watch him as he hits himself with a whip, and reporters start to come, to ask him questions, to watch him. John, and the way he hits himself with the whip become famous, and one day, hundreds of people come to watch him hit himself. John is caught by the crowd, he wakes up the next day having taken soma and danced a sensual hymn; he feels guilty, and in the evening he is found dead, hanged up.

Bibliography for this page:

The book itself, available online in

© Mireia Ferrandis Pradas