Brave New World

Themes and Colors
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Technology and Control Theme Icon
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
Industrialism and Consumption Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Brave New World, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon

If you gave someone the choice between getting what they wanted and not getting what they wanted, they'd choose getting what they wanted every time. This satisfaction of desire, the person would believe, would make them happy. In order to maintain its stability, the World State in Brave New World ensures that all its citizens get exactly what they want all the time. In other words, the World State is designed to make people happy. This universal "happiness" is achieved in three ways: 1) The state uses biological science and psychological conditioning to make sure that each citizen is not only suited to its job and role but actually prefers that role to anything else, and therefore doesn't want anything he or she can't have; 2) Through the promotion of promiscuous sex as virtuous and the elimination of families or any long-term relationship of any sort, the government ensures that no one will ever face intense and unreciprocated emotional or sexual desire; 3) Whatever sadness slips through the cracks can be brushed away by using soma, a drug with no side-effects that gives the user a pleasant high and makes all worries dissolve away. All three methods are successful: in the World State, almost everybody really does seem to be happy all of the time.

But through Bernard, Helmholtz, the Savage, and even Mustapha Mond, Brave New World poses the question: at what cost does this happiness come? What gets lost when every one of an individual's desires is immediately met? The novel's answer is that the satisfaction of every desire creates a superficial and infantile happiness that creates stability by eliminating deep thought, new ideas, and strong passions. Without ideas or passions, mankind loses the possibility of the more significant fulfillments provided by the pursuit of truth in art and science, or the pursuit of love and understanding with another person. Brave New World argues that happiness and stability are fool's gold, making adults into infants who do not care about truth or progress.

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The Cost of Happiness ThemeTracker

The ThemeTracker below shows where, and to what degree, the theme of The Cost of Happiness appears in each chapter of Brave New World. Click or tap on any chapter to read its Summary & Analysis.
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The Cost of Happiness Quotes in Brave New World

Below you will find the important quotes in Brave New World related to the theme of The Cost of Happiness.
Chapter 1 Quotes
And that ... is the secret of happiness and virtue—liking what you've got to do. All conditioning aims at that: making people like their unescapable social destiny.
Related Characters: The Director (Thomas) (speaker)
Page Number: 16
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 5 Quotes
Ford, we are twelve; oh make us one,
Like drops within the Social River;
Oh, make us now together run
As swiftly as thy shining Flivver.
Come, Greater Being, Social Friend,
Annihilating Twelve-in-One!
We long to die, for when we end,
Our larger life has but begun.
Feel how the Greater Being comes!
Rejoice and, in rejoicings, die!
Melt in the music of the drums!
For I am you and you are I.
Orgy-porgy, Ford and fun,
Kiss the girls and make them One.
Boys at One with girls at peace;
Orgy-porgy gives release."
Related Symbols: Ford
Page Number: 81-84
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 6 Quotes
A gramme in time saves nine.
Related Characters: Lenina Crowne (speaker)
Page Number: 89
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 12 Quotes
Why was [Shakespeare] such a marvellous propaganda technician? Because he had so many insane, excruciating things to get excited about. You've got to be hurt and upset; otherwise you can't think of the really good, penetrating X-rayish phrases.
Related Characters: Helmholtz Watson (speaker)
Related Symbols: Shakespeare
Page Number: 185
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)
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
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)
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)
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)
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)
Page Number: 238
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

"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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