Brave New World

Aldous Huxley
Main Ideas

Allusions

Main Ideas Allusions

Chapter 1

Historical/Political

A squat grey building of only thirty-four stories. Over the main entrance the words, CENTRAL LONDON HATCHERY AND CONDITIONING CENTRE, and, in a shield, the World State’s motto, COMMUNITY, IDENTITY, STABILITY.

This is an allusion to the French Revolution’s slogan: Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.

Historical

And anyhow the question didn’t arise; in this year of stability, A.F. 632, it didn’t occur to you to ask it.

The initials “A.F.” are an allusion to A.D., or anno Domini (the year of our Lord), which, until recently, was used to mark time in our current era.

Historical/Political

“Bokanovsky’s Process,” repeated the Director, and the students underlined the words in their little notebooks.

This is an allusion to Maurice Bokanowski (1879–1928), an advocate for strong government.

Literary

But Podsnap’s Technique had immensely accelerated the process of ripening.

This is an allusion to John Podsnap, an obnoxiously pompous character in Charles Dickens’s novel Our Mutual Friend.

Religious

No longer anonymous, but named, identified, the procession marched slowly on; on through an opening in the wall, slowly on into the Social Predestination Room.

The room title is an allusion to the Calvinist doctrine of predestination, the idea that God has already determined those who will be saved and condemned.

Historical/Political

“Well, Lenina,” said Mr. Foster, when at last she withdrew the syringe and straightened herself up.

Lenina’s name is an allusion to Vladimir Lenin (1870–1924), a Russian revolutionary and one of the founders of the Soviet Union.

Chapter 2

Historical

INFANT NURSERIES. NEO-PAVLOVIAN CONDITIONING ROOMS, announced the notice board.

This is an allusion to Ivan Pavlov (1849–1936), a Russian physiologist who formulated conditioning theory.

Religious

What man has joined, nature is powerless to put asunder.

This is an allusion to a common phrase used in marriage ceremonies.

Historical

There was a silence; then, clearing his throat, “Once upon a time,” the Director began, “while our Ford was still on earth, there was a little boy called Reuben Rabinovitch.

This is an allusion to Henry Ford (1863–1947), an American industrialist and pioneer of mass production.

Chapter 3

Historical/Political

“Polly Trotsky.”

This is an allusion to Leon Trotsky (1879–1940), a leader of the Russian Revolution.

Historical/Political

[“]This is the Controller; this is his fordship, Mustapha Mond.”

The name Mustapha Mond is an allusion to a traditional Islamic name shared by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881–1938) and several Ottoman sultans, as well as to British industrialist Alfred Mond (1868–1930).

Historical/Political

In the lift, on their way up to the changing rooms, Henry Foster and the Assistant Director of Predestination rather pointedly turned their backs on Bernard Marx from the Psychology Bureau: averted themselves from that unsavoury reputation.

The name Bernard Marx is an allusion to the German economist and philosopher Karl Marx (1818–1883), an early proponent of communism.

Pop Culture

“Going to the Feelies, Henry?” enquired the Assistant Predestinator.

The term “feelies” alludes to “talkies,” a slang term for the first motion pictures with sound.

Literary

“Dr. Wells advised me to have a Pregnancy Substitute.”

This is an allusion to the English science fiction writer H. G. Wells (1866–1946).

Historical

Our Ford—or Our Freud, as, for some inscrutable reason, he chose to call himself whenever he spoke of psychological matters—Our Freud had been the first to reveal the appalling dangers of family life.

This quote contains allusions to the American industrialist Henry Ford (1863–1947) and to the Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud (1856–1939), who founded the field of psychoanalysis.

Literary

“Ford’s in his flivver,” murmured the D.H.C. “All’s well with the world.”

This is an allusion to two lines from “Pippa Passes,” a poem by Robert Browning (1812–1889)—“God’s in His heaven— / All’s right with the world!”

Historical

“Take Ectogenesis. Pfitzner and Kawaguchi had got the whole technique worked out. But would the Governments look at it? No.[”]

This quote contains allusions to Hanz Pfitzner (1869–1949), a composer of classical music, and Ekai Kawaguchi (1866–1945), a Japanese Buddhist monk who explored Tibet.

Historical

“Ending is better than mending. The more stitches, the less riches[.”]

This is an allusion to an old English proverb, “A stitch in time saves nine.”

Historical

“And what a perfectly sweet Malthusian belt!”

This is an allusion to Thomas Robert Malthus (1766–1834), who wrote about the relationship between population growth and societal wealth.

Historical

“The introduction of Our Ford’s first T-Model . . .”

This is an allusion to the Model T, the first car made for ordinary people, manufactured by Ford Motor Company from 1908 to 1927.

Religious

“What you need is a gramme of soma.”

The name of the drug is an allusion to a fermented drink used in ancient Hindu rituals.

Religious

“Suffer little children,” said the Controller.

This is an allusion to Jesus Christ calling for “the little children” to come to him, recorded in the Bible in Matthew 19:14.

Chapter 4, Part 1

Historical

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 Metre 328?).

The name George Edzel is an allusion to Edsel Ford (1893–1943), Henry Ford’s son.

Historical/Political

And looking at Benito Hoover, she couldn’t help remembering that he was really too hairy when he took his clothes off.

This is an allusion to Benito Mussolini (1883–1945), the fascist dictator of Italy, and to Herbert Hoover (1874–1964), the 31st president of the United States.

Historical

“I suppose we take the Blue Pacific Rocket? Does it start from the Charing-T Tower? Or is it from Hampstead?”

The Charing-T Tower is an allusion to Charing Cross, a major intersection in London where a large Christian cross stood during medieval times.

Historical

Near Shepherd’s Bush two thousand Beta-Minus mixed doubles were playing Reimann-surface tennis.

This is an allusion to the German mathematician Bernhard Riemann (1826–1866).

Chapter 4, Part 2

Historical

Helmholtz Watson was writing when the message came down.

This is an allusion to Hermann von Helmholtz (1821–1894), who studied visual and tactile perception, and to John Broadus Watson (1878–1958), a pioneer of behaviorist psychology.

Chapter 5, Part 1

Literary

By eight o’clock the light was failing. The loud speakers in the tower of the Stoke Poges Club House began, in a more than human tenor, to announce the closing of the courses. Lenina and Henry abandoned their game and walked back towards the Club. From the grounds of the Internal and External Secretion Trust came the lowing of those thousands of cattle which provided, with their hormones and their milk, the raw materials for the great factory at Farnham Royal.

This passage and the scene that follows it contain many allusions to and echoes of lines from “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard,” a poem composed in 1750 by Thomas Gray (1716–1771) after he visited the church at Stoke Poges.

Historical/Religious

“CALVIN STOPES AND HIS SIXTEEN SEXOPHONISTS”

This an allusion to John Calvin (1509–1564), a Protestant reformer.

Pop Culture

There ain’t no Bottle in all the world Like that dear little Bottle of mine.

This is an allusion to the 1917 popular song “Little Mother of Mine.”

Chapter 5, Part 2

Historical

Alternate Thursdays were Bernard’s Solidarity Service days. After an early dinner at the Aphroditæum (to which Helmholtz had recently been elected under Rule Two) he took leave of his friend and, hailing a taxi on the roof, told the man to fly to the Fordson Community Singery.

The name of Bernard’s club is an allusion to the Athenaeum Club of London, a noted gathering place for intellectuals.

Historical/Political

“Damn, I’m late,” Bernard said to himself as he first caught sight of Big Henry, the Singery clock.

This is an allusion to Big Ben, the famous clock on one of the towers of Westminster Palace, where the British Parliament meets.

Historical/Literary

Bernard looked at her (Ford! It was Morgana Rothschild) and blushingly had to admit that he had been playing neither.

The woman’s name alludes both to Morgana, a character from the Arthurian legends, and to the Rothschilds, a family of extremely wealthy bankers.

Historical/Political

He could have sat between Fifi Bradlaugh and Joanna Diesel.

The women’s names are allusions to Charles Bradlaugh (1833–1891), a radical and atheist Member of Parliament, and to Rudolf Diesel (1858–1913), inventor of the diesel engine.

Historical

And on his right was Clara Deterding.

This is an allusion to Clara Ford (1866–1950), wife of Henry Ford, and to Henri Deterding (1866–1939), a Dutch industrialist and oil executive.

Historical/Political

The last arrival was Sarojini Engels.

This is an allusion to Sarojini Naidu (1879–1949), a pioneer of Indian independence, and to Friedrich Engels (1820–1895), an early proponent of communism.

Historical/Political

Sarojini apologized and slid into her place between Jim Bokanovsky and Herbert Bakunin.

This is an allusion to the French lawyer and politician Maurice Bokanowski (1879–1928) and to Mikhail Bakunin (1814–1876), a proponent of anarchism.

Religious

The President made another sign of the T and sat down. The service had begun.

The “sign of the T” is an allusion to the sign of the cross, a gesture that is part of Christian worship.

Religious

Annihilating Twelve-in-One!

This is an allusion to the Christian practice of referring to God as the “Three-in-One.”

Religious

“I drink to the imminence of His Coming!” said Morgana Rothschild, whose turn it happened to be to initiate the circular rite.

This is an allusion to the Christian doctrine of the imminent return of Jesus Christ.

Literary

“Orgy-porgy, Ford and fun, Kiss the girls and make them One. Boys at one with girls at peace; Orgy-porgy gives release.”

This song is an allusion to a traditional English nursery rhyme “Georgie Porgie.”

Literary

She was full, she was made perfect, she was still more than merely herself.

This line is an allusion to a Bible verse, John 17:23.

Chapter 6, Part 1

Historical/Political

A cheap week-end in New York—had it been with Jean-Jacques Habibullah or Bokanovsky Jones?

The names are allusions to philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778), the French lawyer and politician Maurice Bokanowski (1879–1928), and the Emir of Afghanistan, Habibullah Khan (1872–1919).

Literary

Apparently, for going on walks in the Lake District; for that was what he now proposed.

This is an allusion to the Lake District in England, a region associated with Romanticism in literature.

Chapter 7

Literary

“But cleanliness is next to fordliness,” she insisted.

This is an allusion to a common English proverb, “Cleanliness is next to godliness.”

Religious

And slowly, raised by invisible hands from below, there emerged from the one a painted image of an eagle, from the other that of a man, naked and nailed to a cross.

The painted images are allusions to Native American and Christian religions.

Literary

The young man sighed and shook his head. “A most unhappy gentleman.” And, pointing to the bloodstains in the centre of the square, “Do you see that damned spot?” he asked in a voice that trembled with emotion.

This quote contains allusions to two of Shakespeare’s plays: Two Gentlemen of Verona and Macbeth.

Literary

[“]The multitudinous seas incarnadine.”

This is an allusion to Macbeth by William Shakespeare.

Literary

They disliked me for my complexion. It’s always been like that.

This is an allusion to The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare.

Religious

And to please Pookong and Jesus.

This quote contains allusions to Puukon, a Native American war god, and to Jesus Christ, the central figure of Christianity.

Religious

“I suppose John told you.[”]

This is an allusion to John the Baptist, the precursor of Christ, and to St. John, Christ’s favorite disciple.

Historical

Popé is a boy I used to know.

This is an allusion to Popé (1630–1688), a Native American who led a revolt against Spanish rule.

Literary

And ‘Streptocock-Gee to Banbury-T, to see a fine bathroom and W.C.’

This is an allusion to “Banbury Cross,” a traditional English nursery rhyme.

Historical

Once (but that was when he was bigger) he tried to kill poor Waihusiwa—or was it Popé?—just because I used to have them sometimes.

This is an allusion to a Zuni priest who was photographed by Edward Curtis in 1903.

Chapter 8

Literary

Sang “Streptocock-Gee to Banbury T” and “Bye Baby Banting, soon you’ll need decanting.”

The names of the songs are allusions to traditional English nursery rhymes.

Literary

Nay, but to live In the rank sweat of an enseamed bed, Stew'd in corruption, honeying and making love Over the nasty sty . . .

This is an allusion to Shakespeare’s play Hamlet.

Literary

Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villain!

This is an allusion to Hamlet by William Shakespeare.

Literary

When he is drunk asleep, or in his rage Or in the incestuous pleasure of his bed . . .

This is an allusion to Shakespeare’s play Hamlet.

Literary

To-morrow and to-morrow and to-morrow . . .

This is an allusion to Shakespeare’s play Macbeth.

Religious

[“]Do you see the mark where I cut myself?”

This is an allusion to the biblical story told in John 20:20–28 describing when Jesus shows his wounds to his disciples to prove he has risen from the dead.

Literary

“O, wonder!” he was saying; and his eyes shone, his face was brightly flushed. “How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is!”

This is an allusion to Shakespeare’s play The Tempest.

Literary

“O brave new world,” he repeated. “O brave new world that has such people in it. Let’s start at once.”

This is an allusion to Shakespeare’s play The Tempest.

Chapter 9

Literary

“Her eyes, her hair, her cheek, her gait, her voice; Handlest in thy discourse O! that her hand, In whose comparison all whites are ink Writing their own reproach; to whose soft seizure The cygnet's down is harsh . . .”

This is an allusion to Troilus and Cressida by William Shakespeare.

Literary

“On the white wonder of dear Juliet's hand, may seize And steal immortal blessing from her lips, Who, even in pure and vestal modesty, Still blush, as thinking their own kisses sin.”

This is an allusion to Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare.

Literary

Did he dare? Dare to profane with his unworthiest hand that . . . No, he didn’t.

This is an allusion to Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare.

Chapter 11

Literary

John began to understand. “Eternity was in our lips and eyes,” he murmured.

This is an allusion to Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare.

Literary

John thought it very nice. “Still,” he said, “Ariel could put a girdle round the earth in forty minutes.”

This quote is an allusion to A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare, and Ariel is an allusion to a character in Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

Historical

Dr. Gaffney, the Provost, and Miss Keate, the Head Mistress, received them as they stepped out of the plane.

Miss Keate’s name is an allusion to John Keate (1773–1852), an Eton headmaster noted for his severe discipline.

Historical/Political/Religious

She had spent one week-end with the Ford Chief-Justice, and another with the Arch-Community Songster of Canterbury.

The titles are allusions to the Lord Chief Justice and the Archbishop of Canterbury, two political and religious leaders of Great Britain.

Chapter 12

Literary

“Oh! she doth teach the torches to burn bright. It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night, Like a rich jewel in an Ethiop's ear; Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear . . .”

This is an allusion to Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare.

Chapter 13

Historical/Pop Culture

Fanny’s voice was a trumpet; she might have been a Y.W.F.A. lecturer giving an evening talk to adolescent Beta-Minuses.

This is an allusion to the YWCA, or Young Women’s Christian Association, a Christian social service agency.

Literary

“Admired Lenina,” he went on, “indeed the top of admiration, worth what’s dearest in the world.”

This is an allusion to The Tempest by William Shakespeare.

Literary

“Oh, you so perfect” (she was leaning towards him with parted lips), “so perfect and so peerless are created” (nearer and nearer) “of every creature’s best.”

This is an allusion to The Tempest by William Shakespeare.

Literary

[“]There be some sports are painful—you know. But their labour delight in them sets off.[”]

This is an allusion to The Tempest by William Shakespeare.

Literary

“Outliving beauty's outward with a mind that doth renew swifter than blood decays.”

This is an allusion to Troilus and Cressida by William Shakespeare.

Literary

“The murkiest den, the most opportune place” (the voice of conscience thundered poetically), “the strongest suggestion our worser genius can, shall never melt mine honour into lust.[”]

This is an allusion to The Tempest by William Shakespeare.

Literary

“For those milk paps that through the window bars bore at men's eyes . . .”

This is an allusion to Timon of Athens by William Shakespeare.

Literary

“The strongest oaths are straw to the fire i' the blood. Be more abstemious, or else . . .”

This is an allusion to The Tempest by William Shakespeare.

Literary

“Whore! Impudent strumpet!”

This is an allusion to Othello by William Shakespeare.

Literary

“The wren goes to’t and the small gilded fly does lecher in my sight.” Maddeningly they rumbled in his ears. “The fitchew nor the soiled horse goes to’t with a more riotous appetite. Down from the waist they are Centaurs, though women all above. But to the girdle do the gods inherit. Beneath is all the fiends’. There's hell, there’s darkness, there is the sulphurous pit, burning, scalding, stench, consumption; fie, fie, fie pah, pah! Give me an ounce of civet, good apothecary, to sweeten my imagination.”

This is an allusion to King Lear by William Shakespeare.

Literary

“O thou weed, who are so lovely fair and smell’st so sweet that the sense aches at thee. Was this most goodly book made to write ‘whore’ upon? Heaven stops the nose at it . . .”

This is an allusion to Othello by William Shakespeare.

Literary

[“]The devil Luxury with his fat rump and potato finger . . .”

This is an allusion to Troilus and Cressida by William Shakespeare.

Literary

“If I do not usurp myself, I am.”

This is an allusion to Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare.

Chapter 14

Historical

Then with a little start she would wake up again—wake up to the aquarium antics of the Tennis Champions, to the Super-Vox-Wurlitzeriana rendition of “Hug me till you drug me, honey, . . .”

The name of the musical instrument is an allusion to the Wurlitzer theatre organ, which was introduced in 1910.

Literary

The fat’s in the liver, the cod’s in the sea.

This is an allusion to “Little Boy Blue,” a traditional English nursery rhyme.

Chapter 15

Literary

“How many goodly creatures are there here!” The singing words mocked him derisively. “How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world . . .”

This is an allusion to The Tempest by William Shakespeare.

Literary

“Lend me your ears . . .”

This is an allusion to Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare.

Literary

“Do you like being babies? Yes, babies. Mewling and puking,” he added, exasperated by their bestial stupidity into throwing insults at those he had come to save.

This is an allusion to As You Like It by William Shakespeare.

Chapter 16

Literary

“Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments will hum about my ears and sometimes voices.”

This is an allusion to The Tempest by William Shakespeare.

Literary

“Goats and monkeys!”

This is an allusion to Othello by William Shakespeare.

Literary

“But they’re . . . they’re told by an idiot.”

This is an allusion to Macbeth by William Shakespeare.

Chapter 17

Religious/Literary

“The Imitation of Christ.”

This is an allusion to a classic work of Christian piety by Thomas à Kempis (1380–1471).

Literary

“One of the numerous things in heaven and earth that these philosophers didn’t dream about was this” (he waved his hand), “us, the modern world.[”]

This is an allusion to Hamlet by William Shakespeare.

Literary

“But value dwells not in particular will,” said the Savage. “It holds his estimate and dignity as well wherein ʼtis precious of itself as in the prizer.”

This is an allusion to Troilus and Cressida by William Shakespeare.

Literary

Whether ʼtis better in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them . . . But you don’t do either.

This is an allusion to Hamlet by William Shakespeare.

Literary

“Exposing what is mortal and unsure to all that fortune, death and danger dare, even for an eggshell.[”]

This is an allusion to Hamlet by William Shakespeare.

Chapter 18

Historical/Political

Primo Mellon speaking.

This is an allusion to American businessman and philanthropist Andrew William Mellon (1855–1937).

Literary

Eternity was in our lips and eyes.

This is an allusion to Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare.

Historical/Political

From his carefully constructed hide in the woods three hundred metres away, Darwin Bonaparte, the Feely Corporation’s most expert big game photographer had watched the whole proceedings.

This quote contains allusions to the English naturalist Charles Darwin (1809–1882) and to the French military leader Napoleon Bonaparte (1769–1821).

Literary

And all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death.

This is an allusion to Macbeth by William Shakespeare.

Literary

A good kissing carrion.

This is an allusion to Hamlet by William Shakespeare.

Literary

As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods; they kill us for their sport.

This is an allusion to King Lear by William Shakespeare.

Literary

Besides, thy best of rest is sleep and that thou oft provok’st; yet grossly fear’st thy which is no more.

This is an allusion to Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare.

Literary

Sleep. Perchance to dream.

This is an allusion to Hamlet by William Shakespeare.

Literary

“Fry, lechery, fry!”

This is an allusion to Troilus and Cressida by William Shakespeare.