Brave New World

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Brave New World Chapter 8 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Outside Linda's house, Bernard and John talk. John recalls events in his life in a series of flashbacks: An Indian named Popé gives his mother a drug called mescal and then they sleep together... Indian women whip Linda for sleeping with their men. Linda can't understand what they mean when they say the men are their men... His mother tells him stories of the glorious Other Place outside the reservation... Men continue to visit Linda. Indian boys call John names and throw rocks at him... Linda teaches him to read, using a manual from her work in the Hatcheries... Popé brings him a book: the Complete Works of Shakespeare. Inspired by Hamlet, he tries to stab Pope. Popé laughs off what is just a scratch... A girl John loved from afar marries an Indian brave... John is forced to stay out of a ceremony to induct boys into adulthood.
The series of flashbacks that John remembers (it's unclear if he recounts all of them to Bernard) shows John in various states of isolation, yearning, sadness, or other extreme emotions. This personal history is what formed John as an individual. The entire World State is designed to ensure its citizens never have such a personal history: instead of loss or sadness that they might remember, World State citizens always get exactly what they want. So their life is always the same, always pleasant, and no strong memory will interfere with their conditioning.
Themes
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon
John tells Bernard he has always been terribly alone. Bernard says he has, too. John tells Bernard about putting himself through trials such as fasting or standing with arms outstretched for hours on end.
As a fellow misfit in his own society, Bernard can sympathize with John's experience...
Themes
Individuality Theme Icon
Bernard promises to take John back to the World State if he can get permission. Realizing that Linda will discredit the Director, Bernard agrees to take her too.
...though Bernard is also selfishly using John for his own ends. Another of those bad traits of individuals.
Themes
Individuality Theme Icon
John asks if Bernard is married to Lenina. Bernard bursts out laughing. John is overjoyed, and quotes a line from Shakespeare's The Tempest: "O brave new world, that has such people in it."
The contrast of Bernard's view that marriage is ridiculous with John's obvious desire to marry Lenina shows that Bernard, too, is affected by conditioning.
Themes
Technology and Control Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon
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