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Brave New World

Aldous Huxley
Main Ideas

Key Facts

Main Ideas Key Facts

full title  Brave New World

author  Aldous Huxley

type of work  Novel

genre  utopian novel, dystopian novel, science fiction

language  English

time and place written  1931, England

date of first publication  1932

publisher  Chatto and Windus, London

narrator  Third-person omniscient; the narrator frequently makes passages of “objective” description sound like the speech or thought patterns of a particular character, using a technique usually called “free indirect quotation.”

climax  John incites a riot in the hospital in Chapter 15.

protagonists  Bernard Marx, Helmholtz Watson, and John

antagonist  Mustapha Mond

settings (time)  2540 a.d.; referred to in the novel as 632 years “After Ford,” meaning 632 years after the production of the first Model T car.

settings (place)  England, Savage Reservation in New Mexico

point of view  Narrated in the third person, primarily from the point of view of Bernard or John but also from the point of view of Lenina, Helmholtz Watson, and Mustapha Mond.

falling action  Chapter 18, in which John isolates himself in a lighthouse and punishes himself; it ends with an orgy and his suicide.

tense  Past

foreshadowing  The director’s memories of his trip to the Reservation foreshadow his relationship to John and Linda; Bernard’s insecurities and dissatisfactions foreshadow his exile; John’s longing to sacrifice himself foreshadow his suicide.

tone initially sardonic and detached; later, despairing and sympathetic.

themes The use of technology to control society, the incompatibility of happiness and truth, the dangers of an all-powerful state

motifs  Alienation, sex, Shakespeare

symbols The drug soma is a symbol of the use of instant gratification to control the World State’s populace. It is also a symbol of the powerful influence of science and technology on society.