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Brave New World

Aldous Huxley
Summary Chapters 11–12
Summary Chapters 11–12

The scene in which John reads Romeo and Juliet demonstrates the power of conditioning. Even though Helmholtz is fairly unorthodox, he is still a product of World State conditioning. He appreciates the artistic value of Shakespeare’s language, but he does not appreciate the drama of Juliet’s parents trying to convince her to marry Paris. Because John identifies his desire for Lenina with the love between Romeo and Juliet, Helmholtz’s laughter insults both his cultural values and his own innermost feelings. But Helmholtz cannot help it; the situations and emotions expressed in the play mean something very different to him than they do to John.