Brave new world summary

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'Brave New World' Overview

Brave New World is Aldous Huxley’s dystopian novel set in a technocratic World State, a society that rests on the core of community, identity, and stability. The reader follows two main characters, first the disgruntled Bernard Marx, then the outsider John, or “The Savage,” as they question the tenets of the World State, a place where people live on a baseline-state of superficial happiness in order to avoid dealing with the truth.

Fast Facts: Brave New World

  • Title:Brave New World
  • Author: Aldous Huxley
  • Publisher: Chatto & Windous
  • Year Published:
  • Genre: Dystopian
  • Type of Work: Novel
  • Original Language: English
  • Themes: Utopia/dystopia; technocracy; individual vs. community; truth and deception
  • Main Characters: Bernard Marx, Lenina Crowne, John, Linda, DHC, Mustapha Mond
  • Notable Adaptations: Steven Spielberg's adaptation of Brave New World for SyFy
  • Fun Fact: Kurt Vonnegut admitted to ripping off the plot of Brave New World for Player Piano (), claiming that Brave New World’s plot “had been cheerfully ripped off from Yevgeny Zamyatin's 'We.'" 

Plot Summary

Brave New World follows a few characters as they live their lives in the seemingly utopian World State metropolis of London. It is a society that rests on consumerism and collectivism and has a rigid caste system. Bernard Marx, a petty and depressive psychiatrist who works for the Hatchery, is sent on a mission to the New Mexico Reservation, where “savages” live. He is accompanied by Lenina Crowne, an attractive foetus technician. On the Reservation, they meet Linda, a former citizen of the World State who had stayed behind, and her son John, born through a “viviparous” procreation, a scandal in the World State. When Bernard and Lenina bring the two back to London, John serves as the mouthpiece for the conflicts between the Reservation, which still abides by traditional values, and the technocracy of the World State. 

Main Characters

Bernard Marx. The protagonist of the first part of the novel, Marx is a member of the “Alpha” caste with an inferiority complex, which prompts him to question the core values of the regime of the World State. He has an overall bad personality.

John. Known also as “The Savage,” John is the protagonist of the second half of the novel. He grew up in the Reservation and was birthed naturally by Linda, a former citizen of the World State. He bases his world view on Shakespeare’s work and antagonizes the values of the World State. He loves Lenina in a way that is more than lust.

Lenina Crowne. Lenina is an attractive foetus technician who is promiscuous according to the social requirements of the World State, and seems perfectly content with her life. She is sexually attracted to Marx’s melancholy and to John.

Linda. John’s mother, she got accidentally impregnated by the DHC and was left behind following a storm during a mission in New Mexico. In her new environment, she was both desired, since she was promiscuous, and reviled for the very same reason. She likes mescaline, peyotl, and craves the World State drug soma.

Director of Hatchery and Conditioning (DHC). A man devoted to the regime, he at first intends to exile Marx for his less than ideal disposition, but then Marx outs him as the natural father of John, causing him to resign in shame.

Main Themes

Community vs. Individuals. The World State rests on three pillars, which are community, identity, and Stability. Individuals are seen as part of a greater whole, and superficial happiness is encouraged, and difficult emotions are artificially suppressed, for the sake of stability

Truth vs. Self Delusion. Delusion for the sake of stability prevents citizens from accessing the truth. Mustapha Mond claims that people are better off living with a superficial sense of happiness than with facing the truth.

Technocracy. The World State is ruled by technology and is particularly controlling of reproduction and emotions. Emotions are mitigated through shallow entertainment and drugs, while reproduction happens in assembly-line fashion. Sex, by contrast, becomes a very mechanized commodity. 

Literary Style

Brave New World is written in a highly detailed, yet clinical style that reflects the predominance of technology at the expense of emotions. Huxley has a tendency to juxtapose and jump between scenes, such as when he interposes Lenina and Fanny’s locker-room talk with the history of the World State, which contrasts the regime with the individuals that dwell in it. Through the character of John, Huxley introduces literary references and Shakespeare quotes. 

About the Author

Aldous Huxley authored nearly 50 books between novels and non-fiction works. He was part of the Bloomsbury group, studied the Vedanta, and pursued mystical experiences through the use of psychedelics, which are recurring themes in his novels Brave New World () and Island (), and in his memoiristic work The Doors of Perception ().


The novel opens in the Central London Hatching and Conditioning Centre, where the Director of the Hatchery and one of his assistants, Henry Foster, are giving a tour to a group of boys. The boys learn about the Bokanovsky and Podsnap Processes that allow the Hatchery to produce thousands of nearly identical human embryos. During the gestation period the embryos travel in bottles along a conveyor belt through a factorylike building, and are conditioned to belong to one of five castes: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, or Epsilon. The Alpha embryos are destined to become the leaders and thinkers of the World State. Each of the succeeding castes is conditioned to be slightly less physically and intellectually impressive. The Epsilons, stunted and stupefied by oxygen deprivation and chemical treatments, are destined to perform menial labor. Lenina Crowne, an employee at the factory, describes to the boys how she vaccinates embryos destined for tropical climates.

The Director then leads the boys to the Nursery, where they observe a group of Delta infants being reprogrammed to dislike books and flowers. The Director explains that this conditioning helps to make Deltas docile and eager consumers. He then tells the boys about the “hypnopaedic” (sleep-teaching) methods used to teach children the morals of the World State. In a room where older children are napping, a whispering voice is heard repeating a lesson in “Elementary Class Consciousness.”

Outside, the Director shows the boys hundreds of naked children engaged in sexual play and games like “Centrifugal Bumble-puppy.” Mustapha Mond, one of the ten World Controllers, introduces himself to the boys and begins to explain the history of the World State, focusing on the State’s successful efforts to remove strong emotions, desires, and human relationships from society. Meanwhile, inside the Hatchery, Lenina chats in the bathroom with Fanny Crowne about her relationship with Henry Foster. Fanny chides Lenina for going out with Henry almost exclusively for four months, and Lenina admits she is attracted to the strange, somewhat funny-looking Bernard Marx. In another part of the Hatchery, Bernard is enraged when he overhears a conversation between Henry and the Assistant Predestinator about “having” Lenina.

After work, Lenina tells Bernard that she would be happy to accompany him on the trip to the Savage Reservation in New Mexico to which he had invited her. Bernard, overjoyed but embarrassed, flies a helicopter to meet a friend of his, Helmholtz Watson. He and Helmholtz discuss their dissatisfaction with the World State. Bernard is primarily disgruntled because he is too small and weak for his caste; Helmholtz is unhappy because he is too intelligent for his job writing hypnopaedic phrases. In the next few days, Bernard asks his superior, the Director, for permission to visit the Reservation. The Director launches into a story about a visit to the Reservation he had made with a woman twenty years earlier. During a storm, he tells Bernard, the woman was lost and never recovered. Finally, he gives Bernard the permit, and Bernard and Lenina depart for the Reservation, where they get another permit from the Warden. Before heading into the Reservation, Bernard calls Helmholtz and learns that the Director has grown weary of what he sees as Bernard’s difficult and unsocial behavior and is planning to exile Bernard to Iceland when he returns. Bernard is angry and distraught, but decides to head into the Reservation anyway.

On the Reservation, Lenina and Bernard are shocked to see its aged and ill residents; no one in the World State has visible signs of aging. They witness a religious ritual in which a young man is whipped, and find it abhorrent. After the ritual they meet John, a fair-skinned young man who is isolated from the rest of the village. John tells Bernard about his childhood as the son of a woman named Linda who was rescued by the villagers some twenty years ago. Bernard realizes that Linda is almost certainly the woman mentioned by the Director. Talking to John, he learns that Linda was ostracized because of her willingness to sleep with all the men in the village, and that as a result John was raised in isolation from the rest of the village. John explains that he learned to read using a book called The Chemical and Bacteriological Conditioning of the Embryo and The Complete Works of Shakespeare, the latter given to Linda by one of her lovers, Popé. John tells Bernard that he is eager to see the “Other Place”—the “brave new world” that his mother has told him so much about. Bernard invites him to return to the World State with him. John agrees but insists that Linda be allowed to come as well.

While Lenina, disgusted with the Reservation, takes enough soma to knock her out for eighteen hours, Bernard flies to Santa Fe where he calls Mustapha Mond and receives permission to bring John and Linda back to the World State. Meanwhile, John breaks into the house where Lenina is lying intoxicated and unconscious, and barely suppresses his desire to touch her. Bernard, Lenina, John, and Linda fly to the World State, where the Director is waiting to exile Bernard in front of his Alpha coworkers. But Bernard turns the tables by introducing John and Linda. The shame of being a “father”—the very word makes the onlookers laugh nervously—causes the Director to resign, leaving Bernard free to remain in London.

John becomes a hit with London society because of his strange life led on the Reservation. But while touring the factories and schools of the World State, John becomes increasingly disturbed by the society that he sees. His sexual attraction to Lenina remains, but he desires more than simple lust, and he finds himself terribly confused. In the process, he also confuses Lenina, who wonders why John does not wish to have sex with her. As the discoverer and guardian of the “Savage,” Bernard also becomes popular. He quickly takes advantage of his new status, sleeping with many women and hosting dinner parties with important guests, most of whom dislike Bernard but are willing to placate him if it means they get to meet John. One night John refuses to meet the guests, including the Arch-Community Songster, and Bernard’s social standing plummets.

After Bernard introduces them, John and Helmholtz quickly take to each other. John reads Helmholtz parts of Romeo and Juliet, but Helmholtz cannot keep himself from laughing at a serious passage about love, marriage, and parents—ideas that are ridiculous, almost scatological in World State culture.

Fueled by his strange behavior, Lenina becomes obsessed with John, refusing Henry’s invitation to see a feely. She takes soma and visits John at Bernard’s apartment, where she hopes to seduce him. But John responds to her advances with curses, blows, and lines from Shakespeare. She retreats to the bathroom while he fields a phone call in which he learns that Linda, who has been on permanent soma-holiday since her return, is about to die. At the Hospital for the Dying he watches her die while a group of lower-caste boys receiving their “death conditioning” wonder why she is so unattractive. The boys are simply curious, but John becomes enraged. After Linda dies, John meets a group of Delta clones who are receiving their soma ration. He tries to convince them to revolt, throwing the soma out the window, and a riot results. Bernard and Helmholtz, hearing of the riot, rush to the scene and come to John’s aid. After the riot is calmed by police with soma vapor, John, Helmholtz, and Bernard are arrested and brought to the office of Mustapha Mond.

John and Mond debate the value of the World State’s policies, John arguing that they dehumanize the residents of the World State and Mond arguing that stability and happiness are more important than humanity. Mond explains that social stability has required the sacrifice of art, science, and religion. John protests that, without these things, human life is not worth living. Bernard reacts wildly when Mond says that he and Helmholtz will be exiled to distant islands, and he is carried from the room. Helmholtz accepts the exile readily, thinking it will give him a chance to write, and soon follows Bernard out of the room. John and Mond continue their conversation. They discuss religion and the use of soma to control negative emotions and social harmony.

John bids Helmholtz and Bernard good-bye. Refused the option of following them to the islands by Mond, he retreats to a lighthouse in the countryside where he gardens and attempts to purify himself by self-flagellation. Curious World State citizens soon catch him in the act, and reporters descend on the lighthouse to film news reports and a feely. After the feely, hordes of people descend on the lighthouse and demand that John whip himself. Lenina comes and approaches John with her arms open. John reacts by brandishing his whip and screaming “Kill it! Kill it!” The intensity of the scene causes an orgy in which John takes part. The next morning he wakes up and, overcome with anger and sadness at his submission to World State society, hangs himself.

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Brave New World Summary

Brave New World Summary

Brave New World begins in an uncomfortably sterile and controlled futuristic society, commonly referred to as “the World State.” We join the story as a group of young students are receiving a factory tour of the “London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre” from the center’s director, whose name is… The Director. It's all a little creepy.

The Director explains to the students the process by which humans are grown inside bottles and then conditioned (read: brainwashed) to believe certain moral “truths.” This conditioning, also known as “hypnopaedia” or “sleep-teaching,” instructs the citizens to believe in the value of society over the individual. Each person exists to serve the community. It’s their job to be consumers and workers, which in turn keeps the economy stable and strong. Buy lots of clothes. Use lots of transportation. Do your job.

To make the system run more smoothly, humans are divided into various castes: Alphas, Betas, Gammas, Deltas, and… drum roll…Epsilons. Alphas are smart, tall, and muscular; Epsilons short, dumb, and ugly. These people figured out that the best way to keep non-Alphas stupid is to give them dangerous substances while they’re still in the test tube. In this case, they use alcohol and oxygen deprivation. Also, the lower castes are grown in batches, so that Epsilons are all exact copies of one another. And you thought having an older brother was tough. Imagine having 99 clones!

Moving right along, we meet two more of the novel’s characters, Lenina Crowne and Henry Foster, both workers in the hatchery. Lenina is gorgeous. Henry has been sleeping with her. So has everyone else. However, this arrangement is the status quo. In the World State, sex is casual, regular (as in, once-a-day), and explicit. “Every one belongs to every one else,” which means when a man wants to sleep with a woman, he publicly says, “Hey, you, let’s have sex tonight,” and she says, “OK.” (Basically.) Even little kids play games with each other like hunt-the-zipper (just use your imagination). Also, orgies are a required bi-weekly event.

The other big activity in this world is taking a narcotic called soma—a drug that sends its users off into “lunar eternity,” a trippy escape from reality. We receive much of this information from the Director during his tour, but the rest is delivered via Mustapha Mond, a big-deal guy who happens to be one of ten World Controllers.

Mustapha explains to the same “group of students” (read: “plot device”) how this society came about. The short version is that the world got gradually more and more screwed up until the world population collectively said, “Oh we can’t take this anymore! Please take away all of our liberties and individuality in the name of universal stability!” And the Powers That Be said, “OK.” And now there’s no war, no sadness, no individuality, no history, no literature (!), no families, no emotional ties to others, no solitude allowed, no scientific freedom, and no religion (God has been replaced by “Ford,” as in Henry Ford, as in the man who perfected the assembly line and mass production). But still, there’s sex. A lot of it.

So that’s your basic set-up. While we’re getting dealt this info, we meet another character, Bernard Marx, an Alpha-Plus psychologist who, for some reason or another, doesn’t have the great physical characteristic of most Alphas. He’s short. Bernard feels isolated because he’s “different,” and all his time alone lets him ponder big thoughts such as: “I wish everyone wasn’t so promiscuous and could take love seriously,” “I totally want Lenina, but I’d rather have a nice long talk than have sex with her.” When he finally does get around to asking Lenina out, he’s embarrassed that she publicly discusses their plans for sex.

Next we meet Helmholtz Watson, another Alpha-Plus male who shares Bernard’s dissatisfaction with their controlled, structured lives but fortunately doesn’t share Bernard’s physical deficiencies: Helmholtz is really attractive. So good looking, in fact, that the first time we meet him he’s being offered a foursome—with three women. But he actually passes on the offer and instead shoots the beans with Bernard about how dissatisfied they are with their lives. Since he writes meaningless hypnopaedia sayings all day, Helmholtz expresses a desire to create something more intense and more passionate—he just doesn’t know what that might be.

Up next is Bernard’s date with Lenina. He wants to spend some time talking, or maybe holding hands during a long walk on the beach. This confuses Lenina, who wants to take drugs and have sex. Ultimately, Bernard gives in to her seductive ways, but he has to take a few grams of soma before he can bring himself to get into bed with her. The next morning, he expresses regret—they should have waited, he tells her, before having sex. He wants to be an adult, not an infant. He wants to see what happens when there’s some amount of time in between desire and fulfillment. Lenina doesn’t get it.

So it’s on these rocky, somewhat uncomfortable terms that Bernard and Lenina plan a vacation together to a Savage Reservation in New Mexico. What’s a Savage Reservation, you ask? Basically, a part of the world that hasn’t been brought up to speed with the whole technology/mind control/dystopia thing. Before he goes, Bernard has to get a permission slip from the Director—his boss, whom we met in the very beginning of the novel.


The Director reveals, sort of by accident, that he visited the Reservation himself when he was younger, also with a woman. Then he lost the woman. She went missing on the Reservation, they couldn’t find her, and he had to come back alone. Embarrassed at this personal disclosure, the Director recovers by chewing out Bernard for acting like an adult instead of an infant. Apparently, everyone does know what goes on behind closed doors. Bernard acts the rebel, exulting in the fact that he’s established himself as an individual by breaking the rules.

Bernard then goes on his trip with Lenina. Unfortunately, once he arrives, he finds out from Helmholtz via a phone call that the Director is planning on deporting him (Bernard) to an island. Talk about a buzzkill. Looks like "islands" are a place for misfits and miscreants, so getting sent to one is like getting voted off the island, except backwards. Bernard, far from taking pride in his individuality, freaks out, whimpers for a bit, and finally just runs away from reality by taking soma. Remember kids, drugs; aren't the answer.

Meanwhile, the vacation continues, which means a tour through the Reservation. Lenina is horrified by what she sees there. Everyone is dirty, their clothes are tattered, and everything smells bad. On the other hand, Bernard is all about examining “the savages” with scientific zeal. During their tour, the couple watches a ritualistic dance in which a young man is willingly beaten as a means to honor the gods.

Afterwards, they are approached by John, a white man (in contrast to the Native Americans) who has apparently been raised on the Reservation. The story quickly comes out: John’s mother came to the Reservation from the “Other Place,” got stranded there, and then gave birth to John. Bernard puts two and two together and realizes that John is the son of the Director. Little bulbs labeled “Blackmail opportunity!” start to light up in Bernard's mind.

Meanwhile, John and Lenina are falling deeper and deeper in love with each other. John brings Lenina and Bernard back to his home, and there we meet his mother, Linda, who is like Lenina plus twenty years. Living in squalor for the last twenty years has been absolute torture for her. Bernard and John bond because both have been isolated from their communities—Bernard because he’s physically deficient; John because he’s the only white guy around and because his mother sleeps around. A lot. In fact, the only thing John ever had to be happy about as a kid was this book his mother found for him, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. So John just quotes Shakespeare all the time—he feels it is the best way to express himself.

Bernard, whose blackmail wheels are still turning, puts Lenina to bed (she’s in a voluntary soma-coma) and makes a phone call to Mustapha Mond, the World Controller we met earlier. They all agree that it would be of “scientific interest” to bring John and Linda back to the civilized world, just to see what happens.

Bernard proceeds to do so. He shows up at the factory, where the Director makes a big fuss by publicly firing him and declaring his deportation to an island. Bernard counters by bringing out John, who’s all “Dad!,” and Linda, who’s all “Remember me?” Keep in mind that, in this world, children are grown in bottles, not born. All concepts of “mother” and “father” are considered dirty and primitive—so outing the Director as a father totally ruins him. He runs from the room covering his ears, which pretty much means Bernard isn’t getting deported after all.

Thus begins a grand and tragically misguided social experiment. Linda feels she’s suffered enough for one lifetime, so she becomes a full-on soma addict and basically absents herself from reality. Everyone realizes this will kill her in a very short amount of time, but no one cares except John, and no one listens to him. Bernard starts parading John around as his own personal discovery, so he becomes a big celebrity, which helps to compensate for the fact that he’s short. Now that he’s wildly popular, Bernard forgets all about his earlier desires to be an individual.

Helmholtz, on the other hand, bonds with John, and the two share touching moments over the Shakespeare book that John brought with him. Helmholtz finally realizes that it is possible to write intense, passionate stuff.

Meanwhile, John isn’t too impressed with the civilized world. He likes all the technology and comforts, but is disgusted by the process of growing humans and the fact that the lower castes exist in batches of dozens of identical clones.

He has the hots for Lenina, but where he comes from, chastity is super-important until marriage. This confuses Lenina, who really wants some sex with John and for the first time in her life is being turned down. When she confronts John (confronts = “Have sex with me! Now!”), he flips out, calls her a whore, and quotes some Shakespeare about how no one should go breaking any virginity knots before the marriage knot has been tied. Goodness knows where things would have gone from there, except John gets a phone call that his mother Linda is dying, so he rushes out.

Linda, still high on soma, dies shortly after John arrives at the hospital. He is grief-stricken, but in this new world, everyone has been conditioned to think of death as no big deal. So no one understands his emotion. Angered by this and by the circumstances of his mother’s death, and by the fact that Lenina just tried to take his virginity, John freaks out. He finds a group of Deltas waiting to receive their daily soma ration and spiritedly chucks the dozens of boxes of drugs out of the window, trying to explain to these drones that they can only be free without it.

This causes a riot. Bernard and Helmholtz Watson arrive on the scene shortly before the police, who pacify the Deltas with soma and take the three men (Bernard, Helmholtz, and John) into custody. “Into custody” ends up being “Mustapha Mond’s office,” where Bernard acts like a complete wuss, rats on his two friends (“It’s not my fault! It’s their fault!”), and is taken away.

Mustapha reveals that he used to be a chemist but gave up science to serve universal happiness instead. He tells Helmholtz that, actually, being sent to an island is the greatest thing ever, because you get to meet all the people who weren’t OK with being brainwashed for most of their lives. Helmholtz agrees with this assessment and leaves, cheerily looking forward to his new life on an island.

This leaves John and Mustapha, who engage in lengthy, didactic arguments about literature, passion, emotion, suffering, and God. John concludes that he doesn’t want a life where people are always happy—he wants the freedom to be unhappy, the freedom to suffer.

Despite this great chat, Mustapha won’t let John live on an island with Helmholtz—he wants to continue the social experiment. Furious, John runs away to an abandoned lighthouse and sets to flogging and starving himself. Oh, and ritually throwing up to cleanse himself of the horrors of civilization and his desire to have sex with Lenina. This is all going according to plan until word gets out, and John’s lighthouse is descended upon by reporters. His spiritual self-denial is video-recorded and made into a popular movie. Everyone’s been so desensitized to human suffering that they think it’s thrilling to watch a guy beating himself.

Eventually Lenina herself shows up. John hates himself for wanting her in such a sexual way, so he flogs himself and finally her. Of course, there’s a big crowd standing around watching because they want to see the movie reenacted. They’re so into the scene that they all take part, flogging themselves and each other. It’s not too long after that the whole thing turns into an orgy, which makes sense, as violence and sex are closely associated through much of the novel.

The next day, after everyone’s left, John wakes up and “remember[s]—everything,” which suggests (but doesn’t explicitly say) that in the midst of the frenzied mass orgy he had sex with Lenina. Wracked with guilt, John hangs himself from the lighthouse rafters, and we end the novel with the image of John's dead body slowly rotating in the air. We think it's safe to say nobody lives happily-ever-after in this story.

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Brave New World in Bangla - part 1 - Aldous Huxley - Md. Mirazul Islam - University English BD

The Director of the Central London Hatcheries leads a group of students on a tour of the facilities, where babies are produced and grown in bottles (birth is non-existent in the World State). The Director shows how the five castes of World State society are created, from Alphas and Betas, who lead the society, down to the physically and intellectually inferior Deltas, Gammas, and Epsilons, who do menial labor. The Director also shows how each individual is conditioned both before and after "birth" to conform to the moral rules of the World State and to enjoy his or her predetermined job. Each caste is conditioned differently, but all castes are conditioned to seek instant gratification, to be sexually promiscuous, to engage in economic consumption, and to use the drug soma to escape from all unpleasant experiences. The Director calls such conditioning “the secret to all happiness and virtue.”

The students and the Director get a special treat when Mustapha Mond, one of the 10 World Controllers, joins the tour. He lectures the students on the World State's creation and its success in creating happiness and stability by eliminating from society all intense emotions, desires, and relationships. In the Hatchery changing rooms, Lenina Crowne, a nurse, is criticized by her friend Fanny for only dating one man, Henry Foster. Acknowledging the need to become more promiscuous, Lenina decides to also date Bernard Marx, even though he is a bit small and strange for an alpha.

Bernard, meanwhile, is outraged as he listens to Henry Foster and another man have a perfectly “normal” discussion about "having" Lenina. Later, in the elevator, Lenina accepts Bernard's invitation to accompany him to the Savage Reservation in New Mexico. Bernard then visits his friend Helmholtz Watson. The two criticize the World State. Bernard is dissatisfied because he is self-conscious about being small, while Helmholtz is so exceptional at everything he does that he’s begun to feel stifled.

While Lenina goes on her date with Henry, Bernard attends his biweekly Solidarity Service. After taking soma, the 12 attendees engage in solidarity chants, working themselves into an ecstatic frenzy as they call out to “our Ford” and then collapse in an orgy. Bernard is miserably aware that he is the only person who didn’t find the Service fulfilling.

The Director signs a permit to allow Bernard to visit the Savage Reservation with Lenina, and as he does so, he reminisces about his own trip to the Reservation 20 years earlier: there was a storm, and his female companion disappeared. Embarrassed to have let slip such information, the Director threatens to reassign Bernard to Iceland. Bernard thinks the Director is bluffing, but just before entering the Reservation, he finds out from Helmholtz that the Director is serious.

In the Reservation, after watching some unnerving Indian rituals, Bernard and Lenina meet a young, Shakespeare-quoting “savage” named John, and his mother, Linda. Bernard realizes that Linda is the woman who got separated from the Director, and that John is their son. John is overwhelmed by Lenina's beauty and, when Bernard offers to take him and Linda back to London, exultant at the prospect of seeing the “brave new world” for himself. Bernard, though, plots to publicly humiliate the Director in revenge for his threat of exile. Indeed, the public scandal of having fathered a child forces the Director to resign.

John, "the Savage," is a hit in London society. But he is troubled by the World State, especially because Linda has drugged herself into a happy stupor with soma. As John's friend and guide, Bernard becomes popular—but when John refuses to appear at one of Bernard's parties, the guests turn on Bernard, whom they were indulging only in order to meet the Savage. John befriends Helmholtz, reading him Shakespeare while Helmholtz reads him verses that he’s composed himself. Bernard is jealous of their bond.

Lenina, meanwhile, is increasingly preoccupied with thoughts of John, but she can't figure out if John likes her or not. When John finally tells her he loves her, she offers herself to him. He finds the promiscuity of World State society disgusting, however, and curses at her. While she hides in the bathroom, John gets a phone call that his mother is dying.

At the hospital, a drugged Linda thinks her son is her former Indian lover, Popé. This makes John angry, as does the presence of a bunch of Gamma children being conditioned not to fear death. Soon, Linda dies. John, devastated, blames soma for Linda's death, and he interferes with the distribution of soma rations to some Deltas in the hospital lobby. The Deltas start rioting. Helmholtz and Bernard arrive, having been warned what John was doing. Helmholtz joyfully joins the fray in John’s defense, while Bernard remains frozen in indecision. After the riot is quelled, John, Helmholtz, and Bernard are taken to see Mustapha Mond.

In Mond’s office, Mond and John debate World State society. John says it makes life worthless by destroying truth. Mond says that stability and happiness are more important than truth, which is dangerous. Furthermore, happiness sustains mass production, which truth and beauty cannot. The World State has also eliminated the need for God, by smoothing over suffering and abolishing the need for moral effort or virtues. John retorts that he wants the opportunity to suffer, and even to be unhappy.

Mond tells Helmholtz and Bernard that they'll be sent to an island—islands are where all the interesting people who don't like conforming to World State society live—but refuses to let John accompany them. John then establishes a hermitage in a rural, abandoned lighthouse, where he purifies himself through sleeplessness, self-flagellation, and other ascetic behaviors. One of his sessions is captured by a photographer, and a sensational film about him released. Soon, hundreds of sightseers show up to see the spectacle for themselves. The crowds beg him to do the “whipping stunt” again. Lenina gets out of one of the helicopters, trying to speak to him, and John rushes at her, calling her “strumpet!” and whipping both her and himself. The intensity of emotion inspires the crowd, including John, to have an orgy, in keeping with World State conditioning. The next day, horrified at what he's done, John hangs himself.


New summary brave world

Brave New World

dystopian science fiction novel by Aldous Huxley

This article is about the novel. For other uses, see Brave New World (disambiguation).

Brave New World is a dystopiansocial science fictionnovel by English author Aldous Huxley, written in and published in Largely set in a futuristic World State, whose citizens are environmentally engineered into an intelligence-based social hierarchy, the novel anticipates huge scientific advancements in reproductive technology, sleep-learning, psychological manipulation and classical conditioning that are combined to make a dystopian society which is challenged by only a single individual: the story's protagonist. Huxley followed this book with a reassessment in essay form, Brave New World Revisited (), and with his final novel, Island (), the utopian counterpart. The novel is often compared to George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four (published ).

In , the Modern Library ranked Brave New World at number 5 on its list of the best English-language novels of the 20th century.[2] In , Robert McCrum, writing for The Observer, included Brave New World chronologically at number 53 in "the top greatest novels of all time",[3] and the novel was listed at number 87 on The Big Read survey by the BBC.[4]

Despite the above, Brave New World has frequently been banned and challenged since its original publication. It has landed on the American Library Association list of top banned and challenged books of the decade since the association began the list in [5][6][7]


The title Brave New World derives from Miranda's speech in William Shakespeare'sThe Tempest, Act V, Scene I:[8]

O wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in't.

—&#;William Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act V, Scene I, ll. –[9]

Shakespeare's use of the phrase is intended ironically, as the speaker is failing to recognise the evil nature of the island's visitors because of her innocence.[10] Indeed, the next speaker replies to Miranda's innocent observation with the statement "They are new to thee"

Translations of the title often allude to similar expressions used in domestic works of literature: the French edition of the work is entitled Le Meilleur des mondes (The Best of All Worlds), an allusion to an expression used by the philosopher Gottfried Leibniz[11] and satirised in Candide, Ou l'Optimisme by Voltaire ().


Huxley wrote Brave New World while living in Sanary-sur-Mer, France, in the four months from May to August [12][13][14] By this time, Huxley had already established himself as a writer and social satirist. He was a contributor to Vanity Fair and Vogue magazines, and had published a collection of his poetry (The Burning Wheel, ) and four successful satirical novels: Crome Yellow (), Antic Hay (), Those Barren Leaves (), and Point Counter Point (). Brave New World was Huxley's fifth novel and first dystopian work.

A passage in Crome Yellow contains a brief pre-figuring of Brave New World, showing that Huxley had such a future in mind already in Mr. Scogan, one of the earlier books' characters, describes an "impersonal generation" of the future that will "take the place of Nature's hideous system. In vast state incubators, rows upon rows of gravid bottles will supply the world with the population it requires. The family system will disappear; society, sapped at its very base, will have to find new foundations; and Eros, beautifully and irresponsibly free, will flit like a gay butterfly from flower to flower through a sunlit world."

Huxley said that Brave New World was inspired by the utopian novels of H. G. Wells, including A Modern Utopia (), and Men Like Gods ().[15] Wells's hopeful vision of the future's possibilities gave Huxley the idea to begin writing a parody of the novels, which became Brave New World. He wrote in a letter to Mrs. Arthur Goldsmith, an American acquaintance, that he had "been having a little fun pulling the leg of H. G. Wells", but then he "got caught up in the excitement of [his] own ideas."[16] Unlike the most popular optimistic utopian novels of the time, Huxley sought to provide a frightening vision of the future. Huxley referred to Brave New World as a "negative utopia", somewhat influenced by Wells's own The Sleeper Awakes (dealing with subjects like corporate tyranny and behavioural conditioning) and the works of D. H. Lawrence.[17]

The scientific futurism in Brave New World is believed to be appropriated from Daedalus[18] by J. B. S. Haldane.[19]

The events of the Depression in the UK in , with its mass unemployment and the abandonment of the gold currency standard, persuaded Huxley to assert that stability was the "primal and ultimate need" if civilisation was to survive the present crisis.[20] The Brave New World character Mustapha Mond, Resident World Controller of Western Europe, is named after Sir Alfred Mond. Shortly before writing the novel, Huxley visited Mond's technologically advanced plant near Billingham, north east England, and it made a great impression on him.[20]:&#;xxii&#;

Huxley used the setting and characters in his science fiction novel to express widely felt anxieties, particularly the fear of losing individual identity in the fast-paced world of the future. An early trip to the United States gave Brave New World much of its character. Huxley was outraged by the culture of youth, commercial cheeriness, and sexual promiscuity, and the inward-looking nature of many Americans;[21] he had also found the book My Life and Work by Henry Ford on the boat to America, and he saw the book's principles applied in everything he encountered after leaving San Francisco.[20]:&#;viii&#;


The novel opens in the World State city of London in AF (After Ford) (AD in the Gregorian calendar), where citizens are engineered through artificial wombs and childhood indoctrination programmes into predetermined classes (or castes) based on intelligence and labour. Lenina Crowne, a hatchery worker, is popular and sexually desirable, but Bernard Marx, a psychologist, is not. He is shorter in stature than the average member of his high caste, which gives him an inferiority complex. His work with sleep-learning allows him to understand, and disapprove of, his society's methods of keeping its citizens peaceful, which includes their constant consumption of a soothing, happiness-producing drug called Soma. Courting disaster, Bernard is vocal and arrogant about his criticisms, and his boss contemplates exiling him to Iceland because of his nonconformity. His only friend is Helmholtz Watson, a gifted writer who finds it difficult to use his talents creatively in their pain-free society.

Bernard takes a holiday with Lenina outside the World State to a Savage Reservation in New Mexico, in which the two observe natural-born people, disease, the ageing process, other languages, and religious lifestyles for the first time (the culture of the village folk resembles the contemporary Native American groups of the region, descendants of the Anasazi, including the Puebloan peoples of Acoma, Laguna and Zuni).[citation needed] Bernard and Lenina witness a violent public ritual and then encounter Linda, a woman originally from the World State who is living on the reservation with her son John, now a young man. She, too, visited the reservation on a holiday many years ago, but became separated from her group and was left behind. She had meanwhile become pregnant by a fellow-holidaymaker (who is revealed to be Bernard's boss, the Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning). She did not try to return to the World State, because of her shame at her pregnancy. Despite spending his whole life in the reservation, John has never been accepted by the villagers, and his and Linda's lives have been hard and unpleasant. Linda has taught John to read, although from the only two books in her possession—a scientific manual and the complete works of Shakespeare. Ostracised by the villagers, John is able to articulate his feelings only in terms of Shakespearean drama, quoting often from The Tempest, King Lear, Othello, Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet. Linda now wants to return to London, and John, too, wants to see this "brave new world". Bernard sees an opportunity to thwart plans to exile him, and gets permission to take Linda and John back. On their return to London, John meets the Director and calls him his "father", a vulgarity which causes a roar of laughter. The humiliated Director resigns in shame before he can follow through with exiling Bernard.

Bernard, as "custodian" of the "savage" John who is now treated as a celebrity, is fawned on by the highest members of society and revels in attention he once scorned. Bernard's popularity is fleeting, though, and he becomes envious that John only really bonds with the literary-minded Helmholtz. Considered hideous and friendless, Linda spends all her time using soma, while John refuses to attend social events organised by Bernard, appalled by what he perceives to be an empty society. Lenina and John are physically attracted to each other, but John's view of courtship and romance, based on Shakespeare's writings, is utterly incompatible with Lenina's freewheeling attitude to sex. She tries to seduce him, but he attacks her, before suddenly being informed that his mother is on her deathbed. He rushes to Linda's bedside, causing a scandal, as this is not the "correct" attitude to death. Some children who enter the ward for "death-conditioning" come across as disrespectful to John until he attacks one physically. He then tries to break up a distribution of soma to a lower-caste group, telling them that he is freeing them. Helmholtz and Bernard rush in to stop the ensuing riot, which the police quell by spraying soma vapor into the crowd.

Bernard, Helmholtz, and John are all brought before Mustapha Mond, the "Resident World Controller for Western Europe", who tells Bernard and Helmholtz that they are to be exiled to islands for antisocial activity. Bernard pleads for a second chance, but Helmholtz welcomes the opportunity to be a true individual, and chooses the Falkland Islands as his destination, believing that their bad weather will inspire his writing. Mond tells Helmholtz that exile is actually a reward. The islands are full of the most interesting people in the world, individuals who did not fit into the social model of the World State. Mond outlines for John the events that led to the present society and his arguments for a caste system and social control. John rejects Mond's arguments, and Mond sums up John's views by claiming that John demands "the right to be unhappy". John asks if he may go to the islands as well, but Mond refuses, saying he wishes to see what happens to John next.

Jaded with his new life, John moves to an abandoned hilltop lighthouse, near the village of Puttenham, where he intends to adopt a solitary ascetic lifestyle in order to purify himself of civilization, practising self-flagellation. This draws reporters and eventually hundreds of amazed sightseers, hoping to witness his bizarre behaviour.

For a while it seems that John might be left alone, after the public’s attention is drawn to other diversions, but a documentary maker has secretly filmed John’s self-flagellation from a distance, and when released the documentary causes an international sensation. Helicopters arrive with more journalists.&#; Crowds of people descend on John’s retreat, demanding that he perform his whipping ritual for them. From one helicopter a young woman emerges who is implied to be Lenina.&#; John, at the sight of a woman he both adores and loathes, whips at her in a fury and then turns the whip on himself, exciting the crowd, whose wild behaviour transforms into a soma-fuelled orgy.&#; The next morning John awakes on the ground and is consumed by remorse over his participation in the night’s events.

That evening, a huge swarm of helicopters appears on the horizon, the story of last night’s orgy having been in all the papers.&#; The first onlookers and reporters to arrive find that John is dead, having hanged himself.


Bernard Marx, a sleep-learning specialist at the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre. Although Bernard is an Alpha-Plus (the upper class of the society), he is a misfit. He is unusually short for an Alpha; an alleged accident with alcohol in Bernard's blood-surrogate before his decanting has left him slightly stunted. Bernard's independence of mind stems more from his inferiority complex and depressive nature than from any depth of philosophical conviction. Unlike his fellow utopians, Bernard is often angry, resentful, and jealous. At times, he is also cowardly and hypocritical. His conditioning is clearly incomplete. He doesn't enjoy communal sports, solidarity services, or promiscuous sex. He doesn't even get much joy out of soma. Bernard is in love with Lenina but he doesn't like her sleeping with other men, even though "everyone belongs to everyone else". Bernard's triumphant return to utopian civilisation with John the Savage from the Reservation precipitates the downfall of the Director, who had been planning to exile him. Bernard's triumph is short-lived; he is ultimately banished to an island for his non-conformist behaviour.

John, the illicit son of the Director and Linda, born and reared on the Savage Reservation ("Malpais") after Linda was unwittingly left behind by her errant lover. John ("the Savage" or "Mr. Savage", as he is often called) is an outsider both on the Reservation—where the natives still practice marriage, natural birth, family life and religion—and the ostensibly civilised World State, based on principles of stability and happiness. He has read nothing but the complete works of William Shakespeare, which he quotes extensively, and, for the most part, aptly, though his allusion to the "Brave New World" (Miranda's words in The Tempest) takes on a darker and bitterly ironic resonance as the novel unfolds. John is intensely moral according to a code that he has been taught by Shakespeare and life in Malpais but is also naïve: his views are as imported into his own consciousness as are the hypnopedic messages of World State citizens. The admonishments of the men of Malpais taught him to regard his mother as a whore; but he cannot grasp that these were the same men who continually sought her out despite their supposedly sacred pledges of monogamy. Because he is unwanted in Malpais, he accepts the invitation to travel back to London and is initially astonished by the comforts of the World State. However, he remains committed to values that exist only in his poetry. He first spurns Lenina for failing to live up to his Shakespearean ideal and then the entire utopian society: he asserts that its technological wonders and consumerism are poor substitutes for individual freedom, human dignity and personal integrity. After his mother's death, he becomes deeply distressed with grief, surprising onlookers in the hospital. He then ostracizes himself from society and attempts to purify himself of "sin" (desire), but is finally unable to do so and hangs himself in despair. As this happens, he finds himself gathering a lot of trouble for both his body and mind. He soon does not realize what is real or what is fake, what he does and what he does not do. Soon everything he thinks about or feels just becomes blurred and unrecognizable.

Helmholtz Watson, a handsome and successful Alpha-Plus lecturer at the College of Emotional Engineering and a friend of Bernard. He feels unfulfilled writing endless propaganda doggerel, and the stifling conformism and philistinism of the World State make him restive. Helmholtz is ultimately exiled to the Falkland Islands—a cold asylum for disaffected Alpha-Plus non-conformists—after reading a heretical poem to his students on the virtues of solitude and helping John destroy some Deltas' rations of soma following Linda's death. Unlike Bernard, he takes his exile in his stride and comes to view it as an opportunity for inspiration in his writing.

Lenina Crowne, a young, beautiful fetus technician at the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre. She is part of the 30% of the female population that are not freemartins (sterile women). Lenina is promiscuous and popular but somewhat quirky in her society: she had a four-month relation with Henry Foster, choosing not to have sex with anyone but him for a period of time. She is basically happy and well-conditioned, using soma to suppress unwelcome emotions, as is expected. Lenina has a date with Bernard, to whom she feels ambivalently attracted, and she goes to the Reservation with him. On returning to civilisation, she tries and fails to seduce John the Savage. John loves and desires Lenina but he is repelled by her forwardness and the prospect of pre-marital sex, rejecting her as an "impudent strumpet". Lenina visits John at the lighthouse but he attacks her with a whip, unwittingly inciting onlookers to do the same. Her exact fate is left unspecified.

Mustapha Mond, Resident World Controller of Western Europe, "His Fordship" Mustapha Mond presides over one of the ten zones of the World State, the global government set up after the cataclysmic Nine Years' War and great Economic Collapse. Sophisticated and good-natured, Mond is an urbane and hyperintelligent advocate of the World State and its ethos of "Community, Identity, Stability". Among the novel's characters, he is uniquely aware of the precise nature of the society he oversees and what it has given up to accomplish its gains. Mond argues that art, literature, and scientific freedom must be sacrificed to secure the ultimate utilitarian goal of maximising societal happiness. He defends the caste system, behavioural conditioning, and the lack of personal freedom in the World State: these, he says, are a price worth paying for achieving social stability, the highest social virtue because it leads to lasting happiness.

Fanny Crowne, Lenina Crowne's friend (they have the same last name because only ten thousand last names are in use in a World State comprising two billion people). Fanny voices the conventional values of her caste and society, particularly the importance of promiscuity: she advises Lenina that she should have more than one man in her life because it is unseemly to concentrate on just one. Fanny then, however, warns Lenina away from a new lover whom she considers undeserving, yet she is ultimately supportive of the young woman's attraction to the savage John.

Henry Foster, one of Lenina's many lovers, he is a perfectly conventional Alpha male, casually discussing Lenina's body with his coworkers. His success with Lenina, and his casual attitude about it, infuriate the jealous Bernard. Henry ultimately proves himself every bit the ideal World State citizen, finding no courage to defend Lenina from John's assaults despite having maintained an uncommonly longstanding sexual relationship with her.

Benito Hoover, another of Lenina's lovers. She remembers that he is particularly hairy when he takes his clothes off.

The Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning (DHC), also known as Thomas "Tomakin" Grahambell, he is the administrator of the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre, where he is a threatening figure who intends to exile Bernard to Iceland. His plans take an unexpected turn, however, when Bernard returns from the Reservation with Linda (see below) and John, a child they both realize is actually his. This fact, scandalous and obscene in the World State not because it was extramarital (which all sexual acts are) but because it was procreative, leads the Director to resign his post in shame.

Linda, John's mother, decanted as a Beta-Minus in the World State, originally worked in the DHC's Fertilizing Room, and subsequently lost during a storm while visiting the New Mexico Savage Reservation with the Director many years before the events of the novel. Despite following her usual precautions, Linda became pregnant with the Director's son during their time together and was therefore unable to return to the World State by the time that she found her way to Malpais. Having been conditioned to the promiscuous social norms of the World State, Linda finds herself at once popular with every man in the pueblo (because she is open to all sexual advances) and also reviled for the same reason, seen as a whore by the wives of the men who visit her and by the men themselves (who come to her nonetheless). Her only comforts there are mescal brought by Popé as well as peyotl. Linda is desperate to return to the World State and to soma, wanting nothing more from her remaining life than comfort until death.

The Arch-Community-Songster, the secular equivalent of the Archbishop of Canterbury in the World State society. He takes personal offense when John refuses to attend Bernard's party.

The Director of Crematoria and Phosphorus Reclamation, one of the many disappointed, important figures to attend Bernard's party.

The Warden, an Alpha-Minus, the talkative chief administrator for the New Mexico Savage Reservation. He is blond, short, broad-shouldered, and has a booming voice.[22]

Darwin Bonaparte, a "big game photographer" (i.e. filmmaker) who films John flogging himself. Darwin Bonaparte is known for two other works: "feely of the gorillas' wedding",[23] and "Sperm Whale's Love-life".[23] He has already made a name for himself[24] but still seeks more. He renews his fame by filming the savage, John, in his newest release "The Savage of Surrey".[25] His name alludes to Charles Darwin and Napoleon Bonaparte.

Dr. Shaw, Bernard Marx's physician who consequently becomes the physician of both Linda and John. He prescribes a lethal dose of soma to Linda, which will stop her respiratory system from functioning in a span of one to two months, at her own behest but not without protest from John. Ultimately, they all agree that it is for the best, since denying her this request would cause more trouble for Society and Linda herself.

Dr. Gaffney, Provost of Eton, an Upper School for high-caste individuals. He shows Bernard and John around the classrooms, and the Hypnopaedic Control Room (used for behavioural conditioning through sleep learning). John asks if the students read Shakespeare but the Provost says the library contains only reference books because solitary activities, such as reading, are discouraged.

Miss Keate, Head Mistress of Eton Upper School. Bernard fancies her, and arranges an assignation with her.[26]


  • Freemartins, women who have been deliberately made sterile by exposure to male hormones during fetal development but still physically normal except for "the slightest tendency to grow beards." In the book, government policy requires freemartins to form 70% of the female population.

Of Malpais[edit]

  • Popé, a native of Malpais. Although he reinforces the behaviour that causes hatred for Linda in Malpais by sleeping with her and bringing her mescal, he still holds the traditional beliefs of his tribe. In his early years John attempted to kill him, but Popé brushed off his attempt and sent him fleeing. He gave Linda a copy of the Complete Works of Shakespeare.
  • Mitsima, an elder tribal shaman who also teaches John survival skills such as rudimentary ceramics (specifically coil pots, which were traditional to Native American tribes) and bow-making.
  • Kiakimé, a native girl who John fell for, but is instead eventually wed to another boy from Malpais.
  • Kothlu, a native boy with whom Kiakimé is wed.

Background figures[edit]

These are non-fictional and factual characters who lived before the events in this book, but are of note in the novel:

  • Henry Ford, who has become a messianic figure to the World State. "Our Ford" is used in place of "Our Lord", as a credit to popularising the use of the assembly line. Huxley's description of Ford as a central figure in the emergence of the Brave New World might also be a reference to the utopian industrial city of Fordlândia commissioned by Ford in [speculation?]
  • Sigmund Freud, "Our Freud" is sometimes said in place of "Our Ford" because Freud's psychoanalytic method depends implicitly upon the rules of classical conditioning,[citation needed] and because Freud popularised the idea that sexual activity is essential to human happiness. (It is also strongly implied that citizens of the World State believe Freud and Ford to be the same person.)[27]
  • H. G. Wells, "Dr. Wells", British writer and utopian socialist, whose book Men Like Gods was an incentive for Brave New World. "All's well that ends Wells", wrote Huxley in his letters, criticising Wells for anthropological assumptions Huxley found unrealistic.
  • Ivan Petrovich Pavlov, whose conditioning techniques are used to train infants.
  • William Shakespeare, whose banned works are quoted throughout the novel by John, "the Savage". The plays quoted include Macbeth, The Tempest, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, King Lear, Troilus and Cressida, Measure for Measure and Othello. Mustapha Mond also knows them because as a World Controller he has access to a selection of books from throughout history, including the Bible.
  • Thomas Robert Malthus, 19th century British economist, believed the people of the Earth would eventually be threatened by their inability to raise enough food to feed the population. In the novel, the eponymous character devises the contraceptive techniques (Malthusian belt) that are practiced by women of the World State.
  • Reuben Rabinovitch, the Polish-Jew character on whom the effects of sleep-learning, hypnopædia, are first observed.
  • John Henry Newman, 19th century Catholic theologian and educator, believed university education the critical element in advancing post-industrial Western civilization. Mustapha Mond and The Savage discuss a passage from one of Newman's books.
  • Alfred Mond, British industrialist, financier and politician. He is the namesake of Mustapha Mond.[28]
  • Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder and first President of Republic of Turkey. Naming Mond after Atatürk links up with their characteristics, he reigned during the time Brave New World was written and revolutionised the 'old' Ottoman state into a new nation.[28]

Sources of names and references[edit]

The limited number of names that the World State assigned to its bottle-grown citizens can be traced to political and cultural figures who contributed to the bureaucratic, economic, and technological systems of Huxley's age, and presumably those systems in Brave New World.[29]

  • Soma: Huxley took the name for the drug used by the state to control the population after the Vedic ritual drink Soma, inspired by his interest in Indian mysticism.
  • Malthusian belt: A contraceptive device worn by women. When Huxley was writing Brave New World, organizations such as the Malthusian League had spread throughout Europe, advocating contraception. Although the controversial economic theory of Malthusianism was derived from an essay by Thomas Malthus about the economic effects of population growth, Malthus himself was an advocate of abstinence.

Critical reception[edit]

Upon publication, Rebecca West praised Brave New World as "The most accomplished novel Huxley has yet written",[30]Joseph Needham lauded it as "Mr. Huxley's remarkable book",[31] and Bertrand Russell also praised it, stating, "Mr. Aldous Huxley has shown his usual masterly skill in Brave New World."[32]

However, Brave New World also received negative responses from other contemporary critics, although his work was later embraced.[33]

In an article in the 4 May issue of the Illustrated London News, G. K. Chesterton explained that Huxley was revolting against the "Age of Utopias". Much of the discourse on man's future before was based on the thesis that humanity would solve all economic and social issues. In the decade following the war the discourse shifted to an examination of the causes of the catastrophe. The works of H. G. Wells and George Bernard Shaw on the promises of socialism and a World State were then viewed as the ideas of naive optimists. Chesterton wrote:

After the Age of Utopias came what we may call the American Age, lasting as long as the Boom. Men like Ford or Mond seemed to many to have solved the social riddle and made capitalism the common good. But it was not native to us; it went with a buoyant, not to say blatant optimism, which is not our negligent or negative optimism. Much more than Victorian righteousness, or even Victorian self-righteousness, that optimism has driven people into pessimism. For the Slump brought even more disillusionment than the War. A new bitterness, and a new bewilderment, ran through all social life, and was reflected in all literature and art. It was contemptuous, not only of the old Capitalism, but of the old Socialism. Brave New World is more of a revolution against Utopia than against Victoria.[34]

Similarly, in economist Ludwig von Mises described Brave New World as a satire of utopian predictions of socialism: "Aldous Huxley was even courageous enough to make socialism's dreamed paradise the target of his sardonic irony."[35]

Fordism and society[edit]

The World State is built upon the principles of Henry Ford's assembly line: mass production, homogeneity, predictability, and consumption of disposable consumer goods. While the World State lacks any supernatural-based religions, Ford himself is revered as the creator of their society but not as a deity, and characters celebrate Ford Day and swear oaths by his name (e.g., "By Ford!"). In this sense, some fragments of traditional religion are present, such as Christian crosses, which had their tops cut off to be changed to a "T", representing the Ford Model T. In England, there is an Arch-Community-Songster of Canterbury, obviously continuing the Archbishop of Canterbury, and in America The Christian Science Monitor continues publication as The Fordian Science Monitor. The World State calendar numbers years in the "AF" era—"Anno Ford"—with the calendar beginning in AD , the year in which Ford's first Model T rolled off his assembly line. The novel's Gregorian calendar year is AD , but it is referred to in the book as AF [citation needed]

From birth, members of every class are indoctrinated by recorded voices repeating slogans while they sleep (called "hypnopædia" in the book) to believe their own class is superior, but that the other classes perform needed functions. Any residual unhappiness is resolved by an antidepressant and hallucinogenic drug called soma.

The biological techniques used to control the populace in Brave New World do not include genetic engineering; Huxley wrote the book before the structure of DNA was known. However, Gregor Mendel's work with inheritance patterns in peas had been rediscovered in and the eugenics movement, based on artificial selection, was well established. Huxley's family included a number of prominent biologists including Thomas Huxley, half-brother and Nobel LaureateAndrew Huxley, and his brother Julian Huxley who was a biologist and involved in the eugenics movement. Nonetheless, Huxley emphasises conditioning over breeding (nurture versus nature); human embryos and fetuses are conditioned through a carefully designed regimen of chemical (such as exposure to hormones and toxins), thermal (exposure to intense heat or cold, as one's future career would dictate), and other environmental stimuli, although there is an element of selective breeding as well.

Comparisons with George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four[edit]

Further information: Nineteen Eighty-Four §&#;Brave New World comparisons

In a letter to George Orwell about Nineteen Eighty-Four, Huxley wrote "Whether in actual fact the policy of the boot-on-the-face can go on indefinitely seems doubtful. My own belief is that the ruling oligarchy will find less arduous and wasteful ways of governing and of satisfying its lust for power, and these ways will resemble those which I described in Brave New World."[36] He went on to write "Within the next generation I believe that the world's rulers will discover that infant conditioning and narco-hypnosis are more efficient, as instruments of government, than clubs and prisons, and that the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging and kicking them into obedience."[36]

Social critic Neil Postman contrasted the worlds of Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World in the foreword of his book Amusing Ourselves to Death. He writes:

What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny "failed to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distractions." In , Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.

Journalist Christopher Hitchens, who himself published several articles on Huxley and a book on Orwell, noted the difference between the two texts in the introduction to his article "Why Americans Are Not Taught History":

We dwell in a present-tense culture that somehow, significantly, decided to employ the telling expression "You're history" as a choice reprobation or insult, and thus elected to speak forgotten volumes about itself. By that standard, the forbidding dystopia of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four already belongs, both as a text and as a date, with Ur and Mycenae, while the hedonistnihilism of Huxley still beckons toward a painless, amusement-sodden, and stress-free consensus. Orwell's was a house of horrors. He seemed to strain credulity because he posited a regime that would go to any lengths to own and possess history, to rewrite and construct it, and to inculcate it by means of coercion. Whereas Huxley rightly foresaw that any such regime could break because it could not bend. In , four years after , the Soviet Union scrapped its official history curriculum and announced that a newly authorized version was somewhere in the works. This was the precise moment when the regime conceded its own extinction. For true blissed-out and vacant servitude, though, you need an otherwise sophisticated society where no serious history is taught.[37]

Brave New World Revisited[edit]

In , Huxley wrote in the foreword of the new edition of Brave New World:

If I were now to rewrite the book, I would offer the Savage a third alternative. Between the Utopian and primitive horns of his dilemma would lie the possibility of sanity In this community economics would be decentralist and Henry-Georgian, politics Kropotkinesque and co-operative. Science and technology would be used as though, like the Sabbath, they had been made for man, not (as at present and still more so in the Brave New World) as though man were to be adapted and enslaved to them. Religion would be the conscious and intelligent pursuit of man's Final End, the unitive knowledge of immanent Tao or Logos, the transcendent Godhead or Brahman. And the prevailing philosophy of life would be a kind of Higher Utilitarianism, in which the Greatest Happiness principle would be secondary to the Final End principle—the first question to be asked and answered in every contingency of life being: "How will this thought or action contribute to, or interfere with, the achievement, by me and the greatest possible number of other individuals, of man's Final End?"[38]

Brave New World Revisited (Harper & Brothers, US, ; Chatto & Windus, UK, ),[39] written by Huxley almost thirty years after Brave New World, is a non-fiction work in which Huxley considered whether the world had moved toward or away from his vision of the future from the s. He believed when he wrote the original novel that it was a reasonable guess as to where the world might go in the future. In Brave New World Revisited, he concluded that the world was becoming like Brave New World much faster than he originally thought.

Huxley analysed the causes of this, such as overpopulation, as well as all the means by which populations can be controlled. He was particularly interested in the effects of drugs and subliminal suggestion. Brave New World Revisited is different in tone because of Huxley's evolving thought, as well as his conversion to Hindu Vedanta in the interim between the two books.

The last chapter of the book aims to propose action which could be taken to prevent a democracy from turning into the totalitarian world described in Brave New World. In Huxley's last novel, Island, he again expounds similar ideas to describe a utopian nation, which is generally viewed as a counterpart to Brave New World.[citation needed]


According to American Library Association, Brave New World has frequently been banned and challenged in the United States due to insensitivity, offensive language, nudity, racism, conflict with a religious viewpoint, and being sexually explicit.[40] It landed on the list of the top ten most challenged books in (3) and (7).[40] The book also secured a spot on the association's list of the top one challenged books for (54),[5] (36),[6] and (26).[7]

The following include specific instances of when the book has been censored, banned, or challenged:

  • In , the book was banned in Ireland for its language, and for supposedly being anti-family and anti-religion.[41][42]
  • In , a Maryland English teacher alleged that he was fired for assigning Brave New World to students. The teacher sued for violation of First Amendment rights but lost both his case and the appeal.[43]
  • The book was banned in India in , with Huxley accused of being a "pornographer".[44]
  • In , it was removed from classrooms in Miller, Missouri among other challenges.[45]

Influences and allegations of plagiarism[edit]

The English writer Rose Macaulay published What Not: A Prophetic Comedy in What Not depicts a dystopian future where people are ranked by intelligence, the government mandates mind training for all citizens, and procreation is regulated by the state.[46] Macaulay and Huxley shared the same literary circles and he attended her weekly literary salons.

George Orwell believed that Brave New World must have been partly derived from the novel We by Russian author Yevgeny Zamyatin.[47] However, in a letter to Christopher Collins, Huxley says that he wrote Brave New World long before he had heard of We.[48] According to We translator Natasha Randall, Orwell believed that Huxley was lying.[49]Kurt Vonnegut said that in writing Player Piano (), he "cheerfully ripped off the plot of Brave New World, whose plot had been cheerfully ripped off from Yevgeny Zamyatin's We".[50]

In , Polish author Antoni Smuszkiewicz, in his analysis of Polish science-fiction Zaczarowana gra ("The Magic Game"), presented accusations of plagiarism against Huxley. Smuszkiewicz showed similarities between Brave New World and two science fiction novels written earlier by Polish author Mieczysław Smolarski, namely Miasto światłości ("The City of Light", ) and Podróż poślubna pana Hamiltona ("Mr Hamilton's Honeymoon Trip", ).[51] Smuszkiewicz wrote in his open letter to Huxley: "This work of a great author, both in the general depiction of the world as well as countless details, is so similar to two of my novels that in my opinion there is no possibility of accidental analogy."[52]

Kate Lohnes, writing for Encyclopædia Britannica, notes similarities between Brave New World and other novels of the era could be seen as expressing "common fears surrounding the rapid advancement of technology and of the shared feelings of many tech-skeptics during the early 20th century". Other dystopian novels followed Huxley's work, including Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four ().[53]


In , the Modern Library ranked Brave New World fifth on its list of the best English-language novels of the 20th century.[2] In , Robert McCrum writing for The Observer included Brave New World chronologically at number 53 in "the top greatest novels of all time",[3] and the novel was listed at number 87 on the BBC's survey The Big Read.[4]

On 5 November , the BBC News listed Brave New World on its list of the most influential novels.[54]



  • Brave New World (opened 4 September ) in co-production by Royal & Derngate, Northampton and Touring Consortium Theatre Company which toured the UK. The adaptation was by Dawn King, composed by These New Puritans and directed by James Dacre.


  • Brave New World (radio broadcast) CBS Radio Workshop (27 January and 3 February ): music composed and conducted by Bernard Herrmann. Adapted for radio by William Froug. Introduced by William Conrad and narrated by Aldous Huxley. Featuring the voices of Joseph Kearns, Bill Idelson, Gloria Henry, Charlotte Lawrence,[55] Byron Kane, Sam Edwards, Jack Kruschen, Vic Perrin, Lurene Tuttle, Herb Butterfield, Paul Hebert, Doris Singleton.[56]
  • Brave New World (radio broadcast) BBC Radio4 (May )
  • Brave New World (radio broadcast) BBC Radio4 (22, 29 May )



Main article: Brave New World ( TV series)

In May , The Hollywood Reporter reported that Steven Spielberg's Amblin Television would bring Brave New World to Syfy network as a scripted series, adapted by Les Bohem.[59] The adaptation was eventually written by David Wiener with Grant Morrison and Brian Taylor, with the series ordered to air on USA Network in February [60] The series eventually moved to the Peacock streaming service and premiered on 15 July [61] In October , the series was canceled after one season.[62]

See also[edit]



  1. ^"Brave New World Book Details". fAR BookFinder. Retrieved 28 November
  2. ^ ab" Best Novels". Random House. Retrieved 23 June This ranking was by the Modern Library Editorial Board of authors.
  3. ^ abMcCrum, Robert (12 October ). " greatest novels of all time". Guardian. London. Retrieved 10 October
  4. ^ ab"BBC – The Big Read". BBC. April , Retrieved 26 October
  5. ^ abOffice of Intellectual Freedom (26 March ). " most frequently challenged books: ". American Library Association. Retrieved 17 June
  6. ^ abOffice of Intellectual Freedom (26 March ). "Top Banned/Challenged Books: ". American Library Association. Retrieved 17 June
  7. ^ abOffice of Intellectual Freedom (9 September ). "Top Most Banned and Challenged Books: ". American Library Association. Retrieved 17 June
  8. ^Anon. "Brave New World". In Our Time. British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 9 April
  9. ^Bate, Jonathan; Rasmussen, Eric (). William Shakespeare: Complete Works. The Royal Shakespeare Company. Chief Associate Editor: Héloïse Sénéchal. Macmillan Publishers Ltd. p.&#; ISBN&#;.
  10. ^Ira Grushow (October ). "Brave New World and The Tempest". College English. 24 (1): 42– doi/ JSTOR&#;
  11. ^Martine de Gaudemar (). La Notion de nature chez Leibniz: colloque. Franz Steiner Verlag. p.&#; ISBN&#;.
  12. ^Meckier, Jerome (). "A Neglected Huxley "Preface": His Earliest Synopsis of Brave New World". Twentieth Century Literature. 25 (1): 1– doi/ ISSN&#;X. JSTOR&#;
  13. ^Murray, Nicholas (13 December ). "Nicholas Murray on his life of Huxley". The Guardian. ISSN&#; Retrieved 13 April
  14. ^"A. Huxley in Sanary 1 - Introduction". Archived from the original on 11 January Retrieved 27 September
  15. ^Huxley, Aldous (). "letter to Mrs. Kethevan Roberts, 18 May ". In Smith, Grover (ed.). Letters of Aldous Huxley. New York and Evanston: Harper & Row. p.&#;
  16. ^Heje, Johan (). "Aldous Huxley". In Harris-Fain, Darren (ed.). British Fantasy and Science-Fiction Writers, –. Detroit: Gale Group. p.&#; ISBN&#;.
  17. ^Lawrence biographer Frances Wilson writes that "the entire novel is saturated in Lawrence" and cites "Lawrence's New Mexico" in particular. Wilson, Frances (). Burning Man: The Trials of D.H. Lawrence, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, pp.
  18. ^Haldane, J.B.S. (). Daedalus; or, Science and the Future.
  19. ^Dyson, Freeman (). Disturbing the Universe. Basic Books. Chapter
  20. ^ abcBradshaw, David (). "Introduction". In Huxley, Aldous (ed.). Brave New World (Print&#;ed.). London, UK: Vintage.
  21. ^Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World (Vintage Classics&#;ed.).[page&#;needed]
  22. ^Huxley, Aldous (). Brave New World. New York: Harper & Brothers. p.&#; ISBN&#;.
  23. ^ abHuxley, Aldous (). Brave New World. New York: Harper & Brothers. p.&#; ISBN&#;.
  24. ^Huxley, Aldous (). Brave New World. New York: Harper & Brothers. p.&#; ISBN&#;.
  25. ^Huxley, Aldous (). Brave New World. New York: Harper & Brothers. p.&#; ISBN&#;.
  26. ^Her name is a in-joke reference to John Keate, the notorious 19th century flogging headmaster of Eton.
  27. ^chapter 3, "Our Ford-or Our Freud, as, for some inscrutable reason, he chose to call himself whenever he spoke of psychological matters–Our Freud had been the first to reveal the appalling dangers of family life"
  28. ^ abNaughton, John (22 November ). "Aldous Huxley: the prophet of our brave new digital dystopia | John Naughton". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 October
  29. ^Meckier, Jerome (). "Onomastic Satire: Names and Naming in Brave New World". In Firchow, Peter Edgerly; Nugel, Bernfried (eds.). Aldous Huxley: modern satirical novelist of ideas. Lit Verlag. pp.&#;ff. ISBN&#;. OCLC&#; Retrieved 28 January
  30. ^The Daily Telegraph, 5 February Reprinted in Donald Watt, "Aldous Huxley: The Critical Heritage. London; Routledge, ISBN&#; (pp. –).
  31. ^Scrutiny, May . Reprinted in Watt, (pp. –).
  32. ^The New Leader, 11 March Reprinted in Watt, (pp. –13).
  33. ^Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World. Harper Perennial Modern Classics; Reprint edition (17 October ), P.S. Edition, ISBN&#; &#;— "About the Book."&#;— "Too Far Ahead of Its Time? The Contemporary Response to Brave New World ()" p.
  34. ^G.K. Chesterton, review in The Illustrated London News, 4 May
  35. ^Ludwig von Mises (). Bureaucracy, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, p
  36. ^ ab"Letters of Note: v. Brave New World". 8 February Archived from the original on 8 February Retrieved 8 February
  37. ^Christopher Hitchens, "Goodbye to All That: Why Americans Are Not Taught History." Harper's Magazine. November , pp. 37–
  38. ^Huxley, Aldous (). Brave New World and Brave New World Revisited. Harper Perennial Modern Classics. p.&#;7. ISBN&#;.
  39. ^"Brave New World Revisited – HUXLEY, Aldous &#; Between the Covers Rare Books". Archived from the original on 9 June Retrieved 1 June
  40. ^ abOffice of Intellectual Freedom (26 March ). "Top 10 Most Challenged Books Lists". American Library Association. Retrieved 17 June
  41. ^"Banned Books". 2 November Retrieved 1 June
  42. ^"Banned Books". Archived from the original on 2 June Retrieved 11 June
  43. ^Karolides, Nicholas J.; Bald, Margaret; Sova, Dawn B. (). Banned Books: Censorship Histories of World Literature (Second&#;ed.). Checkmark Books. p.&#; ISBN&#;.
  44. ^Sharma, Partap (). Razdan, C. K. (ed.). Bare breasts and Bare Bottoms: Anatomy of Film Censorship in India. Bombay: Jaico Publishing House. pp.&#;21–
  45. ^Sakmann, Lindsay. "LION: Banned Books Week: Banned BOOKS in the Library". Retrieved 18 June
  46. ^Livni, Ephrat (19 December ). "A woman first wrote the prescient ideas Huxley and Orwell made famous". Quartz. Retrieved 28 October
  47. ^Orwell, George (4 January ). "Review". Orwell Today. Tribune.
  48. ^Russell, Robert (). Zamiatin's We. Bristol: Bristol Classical Press. p.&#; ISBN&#;.
  49. ^"Leonard Lopate Show". WNYC. 18 August Archived from the original on 5 April CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link) (radio interview with We translator Natasha Randall)
  50. ^Playboyinterview with Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.Archived 10 February at the Wayback Machine, July
  51. ^Smuszkiewicz, Antoni (). Zaczarowana gra: zarys dziejów polskiej fantastyki naukowej (in Polish). Poznań: Wydawn. Poznanskie. OCLC&#;[page&#;needed]
  52. ^"Nowiny Literackie" No. 4, p 7
  53. ^Kate Lohnes, Brave New World at the Encyclopædia Britannica
  54. ^" 'most inspiring' novels revealed by BBC Arts". BBC News. 5 November Retrieved 10 November
  55. ^"Forgotten Actors: Charlotte Lawrence". 4 December Retrieved 11 August
  56. ^Jones, Josh (20 November ). "Hear Aldous Huxley Read Brave New World. Plus 84 Classic Radio Dramas from CBS Radio Workshop ()". Open Culture. Retrieved 11 August
  57. ^"Leonardo DiCaprio And Ridley Scott Team for 'Brave New World' Adaptation". Filmofilia. 9 August
  58. ^Weintraub, Steve "Frosty". "Ridley Scott Talks PROMETHEUS, Viral Advertising, TRIPOLI, the BLADE RUNNER Sequel, PROMETHEUS Sequels, More, May 31, ". Collider.
  59. ^Goldberg, Lesley (5 May ). "Steven Spielberg's Amblin, Syfy Adapting Classic Novel 'Brave New World' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
  60. ^Andreeva, Nellie (13 February ). "'Brave New World' Drama Based on Aldous Huxley Novel Moves From Syfy To USA With Series Order". Deadline. Retrieved 13 February
  61. ^Andreeva, Nellie (17 September ). "NBCU Streamer Gets Name, Sets Slate of Reboots, 'Dr. Death', Ed Helms & Amber Ruffin Series, 'Parks & Rec'". Deadline. Retrieved 17 September
  62. ^Andreeva, Nellie (28 October ). "'Brave New World' Canceled By Peacock After One Season". Deadline. Retrieved 31 August

General bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]

Video SparkNotes: Aldous Huxley's Brave New World summary

Yes, I want him to come here. Here, where no one had finished before. Here, so that it was at least a little - a little less scary for what will happen next. Yet.

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And also, probably, in your Nezalupinsk one can easily find on some fence an inscription like Death to fagots. or someone there fagot. are there such cave inscriptions in your city Nezalupinsk. Nikita, looking at Andrey, laughed: - Yes. but how do you know.

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