Brave New World

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Brave New World Chapter 1 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
In the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre, the Director of Hatcheries leads students on a tour of the facilities. They pass beneath the motto of the World State: Community, Identity, Stability and into the Fertilizing Room.
The opening immediately establishes that the novel's setting is in the future or some alternate reality. Note that "freedom" isn't in the World State motto.
Themes
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Here, surgically removed female ovaries produce ova for artificial insemination. Depending on whether the resulting embryo is destined to become a higher caste Alpha or Beta, or a lower caste Gamma, Delta, or Epsilon, it receives different treatment. Alphas and Betas are allowed to develop naturally. Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons, are put through the Bokanovsky Process, which causes an egg to divide into as many as ninety-six identical twins.
The purpose of the Hatchery part of the Hatchery and Conditioning Center is made clear: it manufactures human beings! And it doesn't just manufacture them, it predetermines what they'll be like according to pre-selected criteria, destroying the entire idea of personal freedom or self-determination.
Themes
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Technology and Control Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon
The Bokanovsky Process is mass production applied to biology, and a major instrument of World State stability. Combined with Podsnap's Technique, which hastens the maturation of eggs in an ovary, the Bokanovsky Process allows the average ovary to produce around 11,000 brothers and sisters.
The mass production of humans, creating over 10,000 "twins" from the same ovary, destroys the possibility of any sense of individuality.
Themes
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Technology and Control Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon
The Director calls over Henry Foster, who happily tells the students the record for offspring produced by a single ovary in this factory is 16,012. Foster leads the group into the Bottling Room, where the embryos are put into bottles with blood-surrogate—an artificial womb.
Foster's pride at the creation of so many clones indicates he either doesn't know or doesn't care about the principles of humanity that the mass production of humans destroys.
Themes
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Technology and Control Theme Icon
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon
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In this "womb," Gamma, Deltas, and Epsilons are given alcohol treatment and limited oxygen to stunt physical and mental development. Fetuses of all castes are conditioned to prefer certain climates or environments so that they will like their pre-determined jobs, and 70% of female fetuses are sterilized.
Virtually everything that a future man or woman is predetermined to do by the World State government they have been likewise pre-conditioned to enjoy.
Themes
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Technology and Control Theme Icon
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon
The group comes upon a nurse named Lenina Crowne as she inoculates future tropical workers against disease. Foster tells Lenina to meet him on the roof at ten after five on the roof. The Director finds this charming. Foster wants to show the students more, but the Director says they must be quick and head to the Nurseries.
Apparently, sexual promiscuity is an open and approved feature of World State society (this would have been much more shocking in 1930s America than it is today).
Themes
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon