Brave New World

Brave New World Chapter 11 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The Director, humiliated, quickly resigns his position. Meanwhile, all of upper-caste London is eager to see John, whom they begin calling the Savage. Because Linda is old, ugly, and a mother, no one is interested in seeing her. Linda doesn't care, though, and happily drugs herself into a stupor with soma—her major motivation for returning to civilization. A doctor warns Bernard and John that the constant soma use will lead to Linda’s death within a couple of months but says that since she’s of no value to the State, it doesn’t really matter.
World State culture is celebrity-obsessed and shallow, objectifying John as nothing more than a curiosity. Linda, after surviving so much sadness and unpleasantness on the Reservation, wants only to escape reality—showing how quickly and willingly she reverts to her World State conditioning. Because Linda is of no use to the World State’s focus on production and consumption, the State is happy to let her die.
Themes
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
Industrialism and Consumption Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon
Because of his association with the Savage, Bernard finds himself not just treated normally, but popular and sought-after for the first time in his life. Bernard takes full advantage of this situation, sleeping with as many women as he can. When he boasts of this to Helmholtz, however, Helmholtz is saddened. Bernard thinks his friend is jealous, but Helmholtz perceives that behind Bernard’s back, people still don’t really respect him.
When he ceases to feel inferior, Bernard begins to enjoy the World State for the first time, indulging in the culture of easy sex he recently despised. In other words, his sudden popularity gives him a big head, revealing the hypocrisy that easily corrupts even a nonconforming personality. World State culture is itself superficial, still uninterested in Bernard’s individuality.
Themes
Individuality Theme Icon
The Savage is given a tour of civilized World State society, but he’s largely unimpressed, persisting in talking about an entity called “the Soul.” When Bernard writes a report to Mustapha Mond about this, he mentions agreeing with the Savage that “civilized infantility” is too easy. This “lecture” angers Mond, but he decides it’s not yet time to teach Bernard a lesson.
John isn’t very keen on what he’s seeing of the “brave new world,” as he easily sees through its emptiness. Bernard agrees with John that infantilizing people by keeping them vacantly happy is not a sound basis for a society. Mond won’t forget that Bernard has let slip this note of nonconformity.
Themes
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Industrialism and Consumption Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon
One day, while touring a factory staffed by lower-caste workers, the Savage, repeating “O brave new world,” breaks away, retching. Bernard continues to report to Mond, expressing perplexity that John visits Linda in the midst of her permanent soma holiday, an impulse he sees as unnatural. Bernard and John visit Eton, where upper-class children are drilled in contraceptive use and laugh uproariously at a film about Indian religious rituals. He also learns that World State children never read Shakespeare and that they’re conditioned to accept death as something unremarkable and painless.
John's tour of the World State begins to convince him he's entered a nightmare, not a paradise. While he’s grown up experiencing suffering and strong emotions, children here are conditioned and trained to avoid or mock such things. Meanwhile, Bernard sees John’s instinctive attachment to his mother as distasteful and unnatural, since mothers have no place in the World State—they don’t even exist in civilization.
Themes
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
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In the Hatchery changing room, Lenina tells Fanny that she’s enjoying the benefits of association with Bernard’s fame. However, everyone keeps asking her what it’s like to make love to the Savage, and she doesn’t know. She likes John, but she’s confused about his feelings for her.
John's confusion about how to deal with women—his simultaneous desire and guilt—means that Lenina also must deal with unfulfilled desire and sexual confusion. This is novel for her, since strong personal feelings haven’t played much of a role in her promiscuous sex life.
Themes
Technology and Control Theme Icon
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
Lenina and the Savage go on a date to watch a popular “feely,” accompanied by a synchronized scent-organ. The feely is about a woman being kidnapped by an accidentally de-conditioned man; it’s filled with gratuitous sex scenes, but it ends “decorously,” with the woman becoming the lover of all three of her rescuers. Lenina is titillated by the film, but John is appalled by it, and she doesn’t understand why. To her shock, instead of returning to her apartment with her, John bids Lenina a restrained goodnight and goes home. John reads Shakespeare’s Othello to calm himself, and Lenina takes soma to console herself.
The feelies are immersive movies that stimulate all the viewer’s senses and also provide a sexual outlet in order to keep people satisfied and content. In keeping with World State morality, this feely concludes with promiscuity, to make up for the plot’s “shocking” monogamous passion. In this case, however, the feely stirs up unresolved feelings for both Lenina—who increasingly desires John—and John, who desires Lenina but finds gratuitous sex immoral. They both cope with the unsettling evening by resorting to their preferred modes of comfort.
Themes
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Technology and Control Theme Icon
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon