Brave New World

Brave New World Chapter 5 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
On their date, after Obstacle Golf, Lenina and Henry fly past the Crematorium and discuss how nice it is that the elements in dead human bodies are recycled. At Henry's building, they eat in the dining hall and have soma with their coffee. Then they go dancing at a cabaret, where they’re bombarded with an intensive multi-sensory experience of well-being and take more soma. They go up to Henry's room. Lenina goes through her Malthusian Drill (contraception precautions) before they "have" one another.
Lenina and Henry's date is a vivid illustration of conditioning at work. Every aspect of their date is in compliance with the State: they consume goods, converse matter-of-factly about death, take soma to keeps themselves happy, and engage in public entertainment to be force-fed euphoria. They also make sure not to conceive children, thereby avoiding any emotional entanglements or responsibilities that would disrupt their productivity to the State.
Themes
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Technology and Control Theme Icon
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
Industrialism and Consumption Theme Icon
Bernard goes to his biweekly Solidarity Service. He's late and sits in the first empty chair he sees. Only later does he realize he's sat next to Morgana Rothschild, who has a unibrow. Bernard wishes he were sitting next to the more attractive Fifi and Joanna. Altogether, 12 men and women sit in alternating places around a table, waiting for the Service to begin.
Like most individuals, Bernard is frequently preoccupied with his thoughts. In contrast, the others at the Solidarity Service barely appear to think of themselves at all, accepting life at face value. In other words, they're happy—at least on the State’s terms.
Themes
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon
The group’s leader starts the Service by making the sign of the T. Everyone takes soma and begins to chant solidarity chants—like “I drink to my annihilation”—designed to melt 12 distinct identities into a single being. The chants do their work. The people call out in ecstasy to the coming "Great Being,” Ford. Only Bernard hears nothing, faking his excitement. Loudspeakers start to chant "orgy-porgy," and the Service climaxes with an orgy, with people collapsing onto the surrounding ring of couches.
The Solidarity Service is designed to further eliminate individuality. It turns a group of individuals into a kind of mob, and at the same time ensures that no one goes without sexual satisfaction for too long. The deification of Henry Ford (symbolized by the religious gesture of the “T”) also underscores society’s consumerist foundation, and the erotic nature of the ritual shows how sexual release is used to channel people’s energies into serving the State instead of satisfying individual desire.
Themes
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Technology and Control Theme Icon
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
Industrialism and Consumption Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon
Related Quotes
As they part ways after the Service, the other participants are rapturous and satisfied. Bernard lies and says that he, too, found the gathering wonderful, but meanwhile, he’s acutely conscious of his separateness from the rest. He is miserable and feels that he is to blame for his inability to conform.
For Bernard, already an individual, the experience of watching others lose their meager individuality only makes him feel more painfully alone. There isn’t a place for him in this society.
Themes
Individuality Theme Icon
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