Although Bernard Marx is the primary character in Brave New World up until his visit with Lenina to the Reservation, after that point he fades into the background and John becomes the central protagonist. John first enters the story as he expresses an interest in participating in the Indian religious ritual from which Bernard and Lenina recoil. John’s desire first marks him as an outsider among the Indians, since he is not allowed to participate in their ritual. It also demonstrates the huge cultural divide between him and World State society, since Bernard and Lenina see the tribal ritual as disgusting. John becomes the central character of the novel because, rejected both by the “savage” Indian culture and the “civilized” World State culture, he is the ultimate outsider.
As an outsider, John takes his values from a more than
John’s naïve optimism about the World State, expressed in the words from The Tempest that constitute the novel’s title, is crushed when he comes into direct contact with the State. The phrase “brave new world” takes on an increasingly bitter, ironic, and pessimistic tone as he becomes more knowledgeable about the State. John’s participation in the final orgy and his suicide at the end of the novel can be seen as the result of an insanity created by the fundamental conflict between his values and the reality of the world around him.