Brave New World

John (the Savage) Character Analysis

John is born to a woman from the World State, Linda, who gets stranded in a Savage Reservation in New Mexico. His father is the Director. He spends the first 20 years of his life on the Reservation, and though the Reservation natives treat him as an outsider, he still picks up their religious and moral values (like the importance of self-denial and a belief in monogamous marriage), and develops a love of Shakespeare, whom he quotes frequently. John is eager to see the World State, since his mother describes it as a paradise, but once there, he thinks that World State culture is immoral, infantilizing, and degrading to humanity. He is attracted to Lenina, but he is repulsed by the promiscuous sexuality she’s been conditioned to practice, and he turns on her when she tries to seduce him, repeatedly hurling the Shakespearean insult “strumpet.” After Linda dies from soma abuse, John stages a brief rebellion in the hospital vestibule. When he’s arrested, he debates Mustapha Mond at length about the importance of truth versus happiness and stability, arguing that he’d rather be unhappy and free than living under World State slavery. Accordingly, he soon moves into a remote lighthouse, where he can be alone and self-sufficient, practicing austerities like whipping himself if he becomes too cheerful or daydreams of Lenina. When the World State media and curious spectators start flocking to the lighthouse, including Lenina, he ends up sparking a massive orgy. The next day, he hangs himself in shame.

John (the Savage) Quotes in Brave New World

The Brave New World quotes below are all either spoken by John (the Savage) or refer to John (the Savage). 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 numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Harper Perennial edition of Brave New World published in 2006.
Chapter 8 Quotes

"O brave new world," he repeated. "O brave new world that has such people in it. Let's start at once."

Related Characters: John (the Savage) (speaker), Bernard Marx, Lenina Crowne
Related Symbols: Shakespeare
Page Number: 139
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 13 Quotes

“Put your arms around me...Hug me till you drug me, honey...Kiss me till I'm in a coma. Hug me honey, snuggly...”

Related Characters: Lenina Crowne (speaker), John (the Savage)
Page Number: 193
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 15 Quotes

"Free, free!" the Savage shouted, and with one hand continued to throw the soma into the area while, with the other, he punched the indistinguishable faces of his assailants. "Free!" And suddenly there was Helmholtz at his side–"Good old Helmholtz!"—also punching—"Men at last!"—and in the interval also throwing the poison out by handfuls through the open window. "Yes, men! men!" and there was no more poison left. He picked up the cash-box and showed them its black emptiness. "You're free!"

Howling, the Deltas charged with a redoubled fury.

Related Characters: John (the Savage) (speaker), Helmholtz Watson (speaker)
Page Number: 213
Explanation and Analysis:
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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), John (the Savage)
Page Number: 220
Explanation and Analysis:
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You've got to choose between happiness and what people used to call high art.

Related Characters: Mustapha Mond (speaker), John (the Savage)
Related Symbols: Shakespeare
Page Number: 220
Explanation and Analysis:
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“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), John (the Savage)
Page Number: 221
Explanation and Analysis:
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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), John (the Savage)
Page Number: 238
Explanation and Analysis:
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"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:
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John (the Savage) Character Timeline in Brave New World

The timeline below shows where the character John (the Savage) appears in Brave New World. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 7
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Technology and Control Theme Icon
...Indians’ “revolting” practices of getting monogamously married and having lots of children. Nevertheless, her son John has been a comfort to her, though she fears the Indians’ “mad” practices have rubbed... (full context)
Chapter 8
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon
Outside Linda's house, Bernard and John talk. Bernard is struggling to make sense of John’s life on the Reservation. John recalls... (full context)
Individuality Theme Icon
John concludes his series of flashbacks by telling Bernard that he has been “Alone, always alone.”... (full context)
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon
Bernard asks John if he would like to return to London with him, while secretly strategizing to embarrass... (full context)
Chapter 9
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon
Back at Malpais, John briefly weeps when he thinks that Bernard and Lenina have left without him. Eventually, though,... (full context)
Chapter 10
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Technology and Control Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon
...turns to embarrassed silence as Linda tells him that he’s the father of her son. John enters and falls to his knees in front of the Director, saying, “My father!” The... (full context)
Chapter 11
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
Industrialism and Consumption Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
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... (full context)
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Industrialism and Consumption Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon
The Savage is given a tour of civilized World State society, but he’s largely unimpressed, persisting in... (full context)
Dystopia and Totalitarianism 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... (full context)
Technology and Control Theme Icon
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
...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. (full context)
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
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... (full context)
Chapter 12
Individuality Theme Icon
At a party Bernard throws so that people can meet the Savage, John refuses to leave his room, preferring to shout insults through the door in Zuni.... (full context)
Individuality Theme Icon
The next day, Bernard is back to his old self: nervous, alone, and melancholy. The Savage likes this version of Bernard better, because it’s more similar to his disposition when visiting... (full context)
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon
...trouble, Helmholtz seems genuinely happy that he’s found something to write about. He and the Savage soon become good friends, sparking Bernard’s jealousy. When Helmholtz recites his rhymes to the Savage,... (full context)
Chapter 13
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Technology and Control Theme Icon
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
Industrialism and Consumption Theme Icon
...invites Lenina to a feely, but she refuses him, feeling irritable, sad, and preoccupied with John. She’s so distracted she even fails to properly inoculate an embryo at work, leading to... (full context)
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
The Savage, having expected Helmholtz, is stunned when Lenina shows up at his apartment. He finally falls... (full context)
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
The Savage finally declares his love for Lenina, explaining to her that in Malpais, people get married.... (full context)
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Technology and Control Theme Icon
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon
The Savage suddenly shouts at Lenina, calling her “Whore!” and “Impudent strumpet!” He pushes her away forcefully,... (full context)
Chapter 14
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Technology and Control Theme Icon
John rushes into the Park Lane Hospital for the Dying, where Linda is staying. The nurse... (full context)
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon
Linda is so drugged on soma she barely notices John. As John weeps at his mother’s bedside, the nurse leads a large group of chattering,... (full context)
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Technology and Control Theme Icon
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
Industrialism and Consumption Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon
John returns his attention to Linda, who, in her stupor, believes he's Popé. This is too... (full context)
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Technology and Control Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon
Sobbing, John repeats, "God, God, God..." Chocolate-smeared twins stare at him in wonderment, then nonchalantly ask if... (full context)
Chapter 15
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Technology and Control Theme Icon
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Dystopia and Totalitarianism 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... (full context)
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Technology and Control Theme Icon
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon
...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. (full context)
Chapter 16
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Technology and Control Theme Icon
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon
Bernard, the Savage, and Helmholtz are brought into Mustapha Mond’s study. Helmholtz is in good spirits, while the... (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... (full context)
Chapter 17
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Technology and Control Theme Icon
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
Industrialism and Consumption Theme Icon
The Savage, alone with Mond, asks if anything else, besides art and science, has to be sacrificed... (full context)
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon
The Savage insists that the “tears” are necessary, and that there is value in living dangerously. Mond... (full context)
Chapter 18
Individuality Theme Icon
Helmholtz and Bernard, on the way to their island exile, stop by the Savage’s apartment to say goodbye to him. Bernard apologizes for his behavior yesterday and says that... (full context)
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon
Later, the Savage establishes a hermitage in an old lighthouse in a rural part of England. Here he... (full context)
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
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Tipped off by the Delta witnesses, reporters soon descend on the Savage’s hermitage. When a radio reporter tries to interview the Savage about his ascetic practices, the... (full context)
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Technology and Control Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon
At one point, resting, John has a vivid, arousing daydream of Lenina. He rushes from the lighthouse and flings himself... (full context)
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
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One day, as the Savage is digging in his garden, a stream of hundreds of helicopters roars overhead. When the... (full context)
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The next morning, the Savage awakes and remembers everything. That evening, more helicopters arrive in search of the Savage. When... (full context)