Brave New World

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Brave New World Chapter 17 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The Savage, alone with Mond, asks if anything else beyond art and science has to be sacrificed to happiness. Religion, Mond answers, and shows the Savage old forbidden books about God, including the Bible. Mond reads from a passage written by Cardinal Newman, which argues that men move toward religion as they age, because the distractions of youth fall away.
Cardinal Newman was an important catholic cardinal in the 19th century. But his ideas about men turning to God in old age have been made obsolete by the World State, which eliminates old age by ensuring that the "distractions of youth" don't ever fall away.
Themes
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Technology and Control Theme Icon
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
Mond says that God is not compatible with machines, medicine, and universal happiness, to which the Savage responds that it's natural to believe in God. Mond disagrees. He says people were once conditioned to believe in God.
Mond describes all religion as "conditioning," no different from the World State's conditioning of its citizens.
Themes
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Technology and Control Theme Icon
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
The Savage argues that the infantile citizens of the World State have been degraded from a more noble human state, and that belief in God gives a reason for self-denial, chastity, and courage. Mond counters that none of these attributes are necessary or beneficial in an industrialized civilization.
Mond believes the community and economy as more important than any human traits, even nobility and virtue. This outlook is his justification for totalitarianism.
Themes
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Industrialism and Consumption Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon
The Savage asks isn't there a value to living dangerously? Mond says yes, it's biologically important. That's why they've made V.P.S. mandatory for all citizens every month. V.P.S gives all the value of real rage and sorrow, without the inconvenience. When the Savage says that he likes the inconvenience, Mond replies that the citizens of the World State don't. Finally, Mond asks if the Savage is claiming the right to be unhappy, to grow old and ugly. The Savage says yes.
Mond and John disagree about the relationship between individual and society. Mond believes society is preeminent, and that the individual can be molded and shaped to best serve society. It is the concept of mass production applied to all human society. John believes the individual is preeminent and has inalienable rights that society must not try to dominate.
Themes
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon
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