Brave New World

by: Aldous Huxley

Lenina Crowne

Charming boys! Still, she did wish that George Edzel’s ears weren’t quite so big (perhaps he’d been given just a spot too much parathyroid at meter 328?). And looking at Benito Hoover, she couldn’t help remembering that he was really too hairy when he look his clothes off.
Turning, with eyes a little saddened by the recollection of Benito’s curly blackness, she saw in a corner the small thin body, the melancholy face of Bernard Marx.

Lenina is introduced as a normal, untroubled citizen of the World State. Her point of view shows us how the World State’s philosophy and indoctrination work in an ordinary citizen. This passage demonstrates that she is at ease with the social requirement to be happily promiscuous. However, in Lenina’s point of view we can also see the emotions the World State seeks to control. She is “saddened” by the recollection that Benito is hairy, and she is drawn to the “melancholy” of Bernard Marx. The many ways in which the World State controls strong feeling are fragile, even in a citizen as apparently content as Lenina.

“I thought we’d be more… more together here—with nothing but the sea and the moon. More together than in that crowd, or even in my rooms. Don’t you understand that?”
“I don’t understand anything,” she said with decision, determined to preserve her incomprehension intact.

At the end of their date, Bernard takes Lenina out to sea. He hopes that if they can be alone (which is discouraged by the World State’s authorities) they might be able to forge a strong emotional connection. When he asks Lenina “Don’t you understand that?” her response is conflicted. It’s not that she doesn’t understand, but rather that she is “determined to preserve her incomprehension.” This moment is our first definite clue that Lenina feels the appeal of strong romantic emotion. She has to make a “decision” not to acknowledge it.

A V.P.S. treatment indeed! She would have laughed, if she hadn’t been on the point of crying. As though she hadn’t got enough V.P. of her own! She sighed profoundly as she refilled her syringe. “John,” she murmured to herself. “John…” Then “My Ford,” she wondered, “have I given this one its sleeping-sickness injection, or haven’t I?”

When John refuses Lenina’s advances, she begins to experience violent romantic and sexual longing. While John, Bernard and Helmholtz all embrace the idea that their strong emotions make them social renegades, Lenina tries to process her passion in a socially-acceptable way, using the language and ideas of the World State, as “V.P.” (“Violent Passion”.) Her behavior confirms Mustapha Mond’s argument that even non-renegade emotion is dangerous and troublesome to the World State. Her passion for John causes her to make a mistake at work which will result in a death.