Celina's Blog

Brave New World: Chapters 15-18


In these last few chapters we see a lot more regarding the actual world of Brave New World, along with Mustapha Mond’s past and an alternate possibility to living in the civilized World.

Chapter 15 starts with John leaving the Park Lane Hospital for the Dying after Linda passed away, and encountering a group of Deltas waiting for their soma rations before he leaves. John was appalled, comparing the Bokanovsky groups to maggots swarming around pills of poison. As the Deltas pick up their rations, he pleads for them to stop, for them to throw away the horrible poison that had killed Linda. Meanwhile, Helmholtz gets a call from a friend of his at the hospital, alerting him and Bernard to the scene John is causing for himself. As the two reach the hospital, Bernard and Helmholtz witness John attempting to force freedom on the clueless Deltas, calling the group slaves and babies as they currently are. Bernard watches the scene scared for John’s life, aware of the fact that the Deltas might just kill him, while Helmholtz joins John in the middle of the fray, the two of them throwing the some rations out the hospital windows, yelling for the Deltas to be free, who went absolutely mad. Bernard watched the battle with a sort of hesitation, worried for his friends’ lives, yet also for his should he try to help them. He takes the cowardly way out and decides to yell at the police for help as he sees them running into the building. The police tame the mob with a gaseous form of soma, and it doesn’t take long for the group, including John and Helmholtz, to start hugging one another almost in tears. Bernard tries to sublty escape the building after his two friends were taken in by the police, but ends up getting caught anyway and joins them in the police car.

The three are taken to Mustapha Mond’s study, where he mainly confronts John and Helmholtz about their opinions on society. The pair of them are engrossed in the conversation, while Bernard manages to maintain his negative attitude, the reason why they have to meet with the Controller constantly present in his mind. Mond explains their society to the trio.

“The world’s stable now. People are happy; they get what they want, and they never want what they can’t get. They’re well off; they’re safe; they’re never ill; they’re not afraid of death; they’re blissfully ignorant of passion and old age; they’re plagued with no mothers or fathers; they’ve got no wives, or children, or lovers to feel strongly about; they’re so conditioned that they practically can’t help behaving as they ought to behave. And if anything should go wrong, there’s soma.”

John argues determinedly on behalf of Othello, and of the works he’s grown so fond of. While Mond agrees that they are beautiful, he states that you have to sacrifice that kind of high art for the stable happiness their society has. They have no need for the old beautiful things, it would ruin their happiness. John also asks about why they don’t just make everyone Alpha double-pluses which brings up an experiment that had taken place in the past.

“It began in A.F. 473. The Controllers had the island of Cyprus cleared of all its existing inhabitants and re-colonized with a specially prepared batch of twenty-two thousand Alphas. All agricultural and industrial equipment was handed over to them and they were left to manage their own affairs. The result exactly fulfilled all the theoretical predictions. The land wasn’t properly worked; there were strikes in all the factories; the laws were set at naught, orders disobeyed; all the people detailed for a spell of low-grade work were perpetually intriguing for high-grade jobs, and all the people with high-grade jobs were counter-intriguing at all costs to stay where they were. Within six years they were having a first-class civil war. When nineteen out of the twenty-two thousand had been killed, the survivors unanimously petitioned the World Controllers to resume the government of the island. Which they did. And that was the end of the only society of Alphas that the world has ever seen.”

The Controller also brings up his past, explaining that before becoming a World Controller he was a great scientist who was to curious for his own good. Because of this, he very nearly got sent to an Island, which is exactly what was going to happen to Bernard and Helmholtz. Bernard freaks out, panicking at the thought of being sent to Iceland, promising to be a normal Alpha and pushing the blame for their actions onto the other two men. After Bernard is properly subdued and sent to a bedroom, Mond explains that the Islands are actually a reward for uniquely-minded Alphas such as themselves. The Islands are (from what I’ve gathered) any Islands throughout the world that aren’t currently in use, the climates of which can vary greatly depending on the area. Helmholtz decides that he would prefer a stormier, windier climate and Mond agrees to send him and Bernard to the Falkland islands. Once Helmholtz leaves, John and Mond discuss various things: Shakespeare, Religion, Happiness, and just the society in general. By the end of the conversation, John comes to the conclusion that he is claiming the right to be unhappy.

The final chapter starts with Bernard and Helmholtz saying goodbye to John, as they have to leave the next morning. John mentions how he would love to go to an Island with them, however Mustapha Mond refuses to let him go, hoping to prolong the running experiment of exposing him to the civilized world. John decides that even if he can’t go to an Island, there is no way he’ll continue to live in the city, and the next morning he finds residence in an abandoned lighthouse. He feels the need, while living there, to support himself with as little help as possible from the civilized world, determinedly making a bow and arrow and planning on making a garden when the chance presents itself. John manages to live in relative solitude until a group of Delta-minuses see him outside the lighthouse whipping himself. That started the waves of reporters, constantly invading the Savage’s privacy. He managed to fend most of them off, shooting arrows towards approaching helicopters, but he didn’t do a good enough job. A reporter, hidden in the bushes surrounding the building, had filmed John with plans of turning the footage into a feely. The feely was a huge success, drawing in more and more sightseers to catch a glimpse of the star of the film. By the time Lenina had come to visit, John was at his breaking point. Between the chants of ‘We want the whip’ and ‘Orgy-Porgy’ he had attacked Lenina, and himself, before hanging himself the next day.

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