Brave New World

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Mustapha Mond Character Analysis

One of the ten World Controllers of the World State. Mond was once a physicist who loved truth and science so much that he carried out some secret experiments. He was then given the choice of becoming either a World Controller or going to an Island where he could continue his experiments. Mond chose to become a World Controller, and while he has read Shakespeare and loves truth, throughout the novel he holds up happiness and stability as more important than, and mutually exclusive of, love or truth.

Mustapha Mond Quotes in Brave New World

The Brave New World quotes below are all either spoken by Mustapha Mond or refer to Mustapha Mond. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Harper Perennial edition of Brave New World published in 2006.
Chapter 3 Quotes
You all remember, I suppose, that beautiful and inspired saying of Our Ford's: History is bunk.
Related Characters: Mustapha Mond (speaker)
Related Symbols: Ford
Page Number: 34
Explanation and Analysis:

The Director has taken the tour group to the Hatcheries garden, where naked children are playing sex games. The group is shocked by the sudden appearance of Mustapha Mond, the Resident Controller of Western Europe.

Here, Mond has commented on the fact that, historically, children did not engage in sexual behavior until they were twenty, calling this state of affairs "terrible." He then invokes a well-known saying of Henry Ford: "History is bunk." Mond's disdainful attitude toward history reflects a widespread dismissiveness to all fields of knowledge, including science and literature. Whereas we might think of these fields as important and useful ways of determining how to live, in the world of the novel, the ideology of the World State is the only valued system of knowledge, because any other system of knowledge might cause people to think individually and, in so doing, impact the stability of the state. 

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Chapter 16 Quotes
The world's stable now. People are happy; they get what they want, and they never want what they can't get... And if anything should go wrong, there's soma.
Related Characters: Mustapha Mond (speaker)
Page Number: 220
Explanation and Analysis:

Following the riot at the hospital, Helmholtz, Bernard, and John the Savage have been arrested and brought to Mustapha Mond's study. Mond has asked John if he likes civilization; John says he doesn't, and this sparks a lengthy discussion between the two men about the nature of the world.

In this passage, Mond speaks approvingly of the instant-gratification, contentment, and stability of the society created by the World State. Note that everything Mond says in this passage is objectively true; preconditioned to love their lives, the citizens of the World State are indeed happy, and the world is stable. However, the events of the novel call into question the cost of this happiness and stability. Does happiness still retain the same value if it is artificially produced, not freely chosen, and never contrasted with negative emotions? 

You've got to choose between happiness and what people used to call high art.
Related Characters: Mustapha Mond (speaker)
Related Symbols: Shakespeare
Page Number: 220
Explanation and Analysis:

During his conversation with John the Savage, Mustapha Mond has revealed that he is one of the few people in the World State who has read Shakespeare. Mond has laughed at John for expecting the Deltas to "understand" Shakespeare's play Othello; when John insists that Shakespeare is better than the "feelies," Mond concedes that this is true, but that sacrificing high art is the price that must be paid for general happiness.

This exchange makes explicit one of the major themes of the novel: that there is a direct connection between freedom, suffering, and "high art." While Mond does not deny this connection, he believes that high art is less important than happiness and stability, and thus reasons that it is preferable to live in a world without it. 

Actual happiness always looks pretty squalid in comparison with the over-compensations for misery. And, of course, stability isn't nearly so spectacular as instability. And being contented has none of the glamour of a good fight against misfortune, none of the picturesqueness of a struggle with temptation, or a fatal overthrow by passion or doubt. Happiness is never grand.
Related Characters: Mustapha Mond (speaker)
Page Number: 221
Explanation and Analysis:

Having listened to Mustapha Mond explain that the World State has sacrificed high art for the sake of happiness and stability, John concludes that this seems "horrible" to him. Mond responds that this makes sense, as "actual happiness" and stability are less superficially appealing than suffering, temptation, and passion. He characterizes these strong emotions––and the individual freedom and agency that creates them––as glamorous, with the implication that this glamor is misleading. Mond's logic in this passage is surprising, as in many ways it is the World State that appears to have the greater glamor, "picturesqueness," and superficial appeal. After all, the World State is filled with beautiful people, spectacular technology, and infinite entertainment. 

This apparent paradox could be interpreted in multiple ways. Perhaps Mond is simply reversing criticism of the World State as a rhetorical strategy––by arguing that the World State creates "actual happiness" as opposed to superficial charm, he defeats the objection that the World State is a false utopia. On the other hand, there might actually be some truth in Mond's words. As he points out, it is easy to romanticize the struggle created by "a good fight against misfortune"; however, many would argue that the actual experience of misfortune cannot ever be seen as a good thing. And the World State, while having sacrificed individuals, has also eliminated such things as war, poverty, illness, and the untold misery those things create.

Chapter 17 Quotes
There's always soma to calm your anger, to reconcile you to your enemies, to make you patient and long-suffering. In the past you could only accomplish these things by making a great effort and after years of hard moral training. Now, you swallow two or three half-gramme tablets, and there you are. Anybody can be virtuous now. You can carry at least half your morality about in a bottle. Christianity without tears-that's what soma is.
Related Characters: Mustapha Mond (speaker)
Page Number: 238
Explanation and Analysis:

John has asked Mustapha Mond if anything else in addition to science and "high art" has been sacrificed in order to create stability and happiness. Mond has responded that religion has also been sacrificed, as there is no place for religion in "civilization." Under Mond's interpretation, religion used to be important because it helped people find solace, forgiveness, and connection to others; however, citizens of the World State feel all of these things anyway due to their conditioning and through the use of soma. Indeed, in this passage Mond draws a direct parallel between religion and soma, arguing that they have the same function. This reflects the famous statement by Karl Marx that "religion is the opiate of the masses." 

Mond's nonchalant dismissal of religion suggests that his understanding of the role of religion is rather narrow. While it is true that practices such as group sex and taking soma encourage feelings of peace and solidarity, many would argue that these emotions lose meaning when they are produced artificially. Indeed, throughout the novel the interpersonal connections between citizens of the World State are shown to be superficial and hollow. Although the World State creates mass happiness and stability, these do not seem to be a legitimate replacement for religious or moral virtue. Interestingly, this tension echoes a longstanding debate within religious communities themselves over whether faith and morality are only meaningful if they are freely chosen. 

"In fact', said Mustapha Mond, 'you're claiming the right to be unhappy.'
'All right then,' said the Savage defiantly, 'I'm claiming the right to be unhappy.'
Related Characters: John (the Savage) (speaker), Mustapha Mond (speaker)
Related Symbols: Shakespeare
Page Number: 240
Explanation and Analysis:

Mustapha Mond has conceded that it is necessary for people to occasionally experience negative emotions, and explained that this is why the World State forces citizens to undergo Violent Passion Surrogate, or V.P.S., once per month. He argues that this is a way to reap the benefits of "fear and rage... without any of the inconveniences." John responds that he wants the inconveniences, and Mond concludes that John is "claiming the right to be unhappy." This exchange contains the key philosophical question raised by the novel. For John, the "right to be unhappy" gives life meaning; while the citizens of the World State are happy, to John it is far better to be unhappy, as long as one retains one's individual identity and freedom.

Although Mustapha Mond's contrasting view is shown to be somewhat appealing and persuasive, this is undermined by Mond's powerful and unique position within society. As a former scientist who has had access to "high art" such as Shakespeare, Mond is able to retain his individual identity and exercise rational thought and choice, all while maintaining power and authority over the masses. While Mond is confident that life under the World State is preferable for everyone, the agitation and dissatisfaction shown by characters such as Bernard and Helmholtz suggests that Mond is perhaps mistaken. The example of John indicates that, given the choice, it seems that most (unconditioned) people would choose "the right to be unhappy" over being controlled and conditioned into happiness. 

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Mustapha Mond Character Timeline in Brave New World

The timeline below shows where the character Mustapha Mond appears in Brave New World. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Technology and Control Theme Icon
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
...terrible. The director exclaims in shock and awe that this man is his fordship, Mustapha Mond, one of the ten World Controllers. (full context)
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Technology and Control Theme Icon
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
Meanwhile, Mond explains how the World State eliminates strong emotions by eliminating families and promoting promiscuous sex.... (full context)
Chapter 9
Individuality Theme Icon
Bernard flies to Santa Fe and contacts Mustapha Mond, who agrees that there would be "scientific interest" in bringing John and Linda back to... (full context)
Chapter 11
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Technology and Control Theme Icon
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon
...to dislike him. Bernard even goes so far as to write a report to Mustapha Mond about the Savage in which he says that he agrees with the Savage's belief that... (full context)
Chapter 12
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Technology and Control Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon
Meanwhile, elsewhere, Mustapha Mond decides an ingenious paper on biology is too ingenious and won't let it be published. (full context)
Chapter 16
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Technology and Control Theme Icon
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon
Helmholtz, John, and Bernard are brought to Mustapha Mond's study. Helmholtz is cheerful. Bernard is nervous and despairing. When Mustapha Mond enters, he shakes... (full context)
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Technology and Control Theme Icon
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
When John objects to the Bokanovsky Twins and caste system, Mond tells of an experiment in which the World State filled the island of Cyprus only... (full context)
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon
Mond admits that both art and science have been sacrificed to the cause of stability. He... (full context)
Individuality Theme Icon
Bernard falls to his knees and begs not to be sent to an island. Mond summons men to take Bernard to a different room and calm him with soma. (full context)
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon
Mond reveals that islands are actually places where all the people who are too individual to... (full context)
Individuality Theme Icon
Mond asks Helmholtz what sort of island he'd like to live on. Helmholtz decides on an... (full context)
Chapter 17
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Technology and Control Theme Icon
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
The Savage, alone with Mond, asks if anything else beyond art and science has to be sacrificed to happiness. Religion,... (full context)
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... (full context)
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Industrialism and Consumption Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon
...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. (full context)
Dystopia and Totalitarianism 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... (full context)
Chapter 18
Individuality Theme Icon
Helmholtz and Bernard return. Mond is gone. They hear the Savage retching in the bathroom. He tells them that civilization... (full context)