Brave New World

Brave New World Chapter 15 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
In the vestibule of the Park Lane Hospital for the Dying, 160 Delta staff are assembled for their soma ration. His mind on Linda’s death, John shoulders his way among the crowd. When he notices the twins, John feels disgusted. He repeats “O brave new world!” as if it is a command. Suddenly, thinking of Linda’s death in slavery, he wants others to live in freedom. He pushes his way to the distribution table and shouts that the Deltas shouldn’t take soma—it’s poison.
John is threatening the very bedrock of World State society. Soma is what ensures happiness and thereby gives the State its power over its people. Fresh from witnessing the logical end of State control in his mother’s pitiful death, John wants to save the Deltas from a slavery they’ve been conditioned to love.
Themes
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Technology and Control Theme Icon
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon
Bernard and Helmholtz receive a phone call telling them what the Savage is doing. They rush to the hospital. In the vestibule, John is shouting at the uncomprehending crowd, asking them if they enjoy being slaves. As Bernard and Helmholtz arrive, the Savage begins throwing handfuls of soma bottles out the window. As the Deltas begin to riot, Helmholtz is suddenly exultant, shouting "Men at last!" and joining the fray in John’s defense. Bernard, however, is frozen in indecision, not sure if he should help his friends or save his own skin.
Helmholtz's cry, "Men at last!" shows his realization that by conditioning emotions and guaranteeing happiness, his culture has made infants of him and his fellow citizens. Now he stands up for what he believes, takes responsibility for himself, and acts like an adult. Tellingly, Bernard acts far more hesitantly, showing that his individualism is based more on his sense of difference and ostracism than on positive convictions like Helmholtz’s.
Themes
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The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon
Related Quotes
To Bernard’s relief, police in gasmasks soon arrive and begin pumping soma vapor into the air and shooting water pistols. Meanwhile, the Voice of Reason and Good Feeling begins speaking from a Synthetic Music Box. Tenderly, the recorded Voice implores the crowd, “Why aren’t you all being happy and good together?” Even the police get tears in their eyes. Within two minutes, the Deltas are hugging, and soma tablets are once more being distributed. Helmholtz, the Savage, and Bernard are taken into custody by the police.
That soma is sprayed into the air to quiet mobs further illustrates the drug's primary purpose of sedating masses and stabilizing society. And the recorded Voice, reminiscent of the hypnopaedic voice on which State citizens are raised, takes an ostensibly persuasive approach, while really triggering the conditioned desire to act communally instead of as individuals.
Themes
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Technology and Control Theme Icon
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon