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Brave New World

Aldous Huxley
Summary Chapters 9–10
Summary Chapters 9–10

Stylistically, John’s Shakespearean quotations contrast vividly with the utterances of the World State citizens. But there is one notable similarity between them. Both the World State citizens and John habitually speak in quotes and soundbites. Hypnopaedic messages like “A gramme in time saves nine,” are on everybody’s lips in the World State. At times the conversations between John and Lenina degenerate into a war of propaganda, each person spewing memorized phrases without even stopping to think about them. John’s propaganda sounds more palatable than Lenina’s, because Shakespeare’s poetic lines put the hypnopaedic messages to shame. Next to Shakespeare, “progress is lovely” sounds cheap and trashy. The juxtaposition of the two contributes to the satirical tone of the novel.

The confrontation between Bernard and the Director illustrates the power of social condemnation. The Director decides to denounce Bernard in front of the other workers in order to make an example out of him. In part, World State members are forced to conform merely by peer pressure and the threat of public shame. Bernard turns the Director’s ploy on its head by shaming him with the spectacle of John and Linda. Bernard’s willingness to use John and Linda for his own gain further helps to portray him as someone who will do anything to gain social standing. By presenting Linda and John to the Director in front of the workers, he not only manages to save his own position but also to spitefully attack the Director and reduce his social standing.

Lenina’s role throughout this chapter is a passive one, for the obvious reason that she is on soma-holiday for most of it. Going on soma-holiday is her only way of dealing with the negative emotions aroused by the Reservation. It is particularly ironic that she goes on soma-holiday in the middle of what should have been a real holiday (her vacation).